Knights make school history in tourney

Published 10:13 pm Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Suffolk Christian Academy boys’ basketball team registered a 64-39 conference win on Tuesday at Veritas Christian Academy, a fitting follow-up to the Knights’ first tournament win in program history on Saturday.

Junior forward/guard Steven Effler led the charge against the Spartans on Tuesday with 21 points, while junior guard Michael Cornette had 16 and senior guard/forward Nathan Leiter contributed 14. Senior forward/guard Alex Griffith and sophomore forward/guard Chaz Stone chipped in five points apiece.

Knights coach Terry Leiter praised his team’s ball movement and strong shooting in the game.

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“Our free throw shooting wasn’t that great, but from the floor, I think we were shooting the ball pretty well,” he said.

He also hailed the defensive effort that held Veritas Christian to 39 points.

“We had quite a few steals that turned into fast break layups,” he said.

The coach said Effler, Cornette, Leiter and Griffith were among those with steals in the game.

On Saturday, Suffolk Christian was competing in the championship of the Eagles Classic, a New Year’s Invitational Tournament in Elizabeth City, N.C. The Knights had advanced to the title game against TEACH of North Carolina after defeating Bethel Christian School 68-53 on Friday.

Suffolk Christian claimed the tourney championship via a 67-52 win over TEACH.

Leiter noted the Knights have taken second place in several other tournaments but were thrilled to be No. 1 this time.

“That was exciting for everybody,” he said.

And the coach was pleased with how the Knights played on their way to the milestone.

“I thought they played really well,” he said. “They did a good job of playing defense, and they also moved the ball around the perimeter well. It was another game that we got ahead early.”

The early lead enabled SCA to put pressure on TEACH’s defense by stretching the floor and forcing players to come out and defend the perimeter. This, in turn, allowed the Knights to attack the open lanes.

Effler led Suffolk Christian with 25 points, Cornette had 16, Leiter had 14 and sophomore center/forward Joel Blasiole added eight.

Nathan Leiter was voted tournament MVP. He recorded his first career triple-double on Friday, and though he scored fewer points on Saturday, he worked hard as a facilitator.

Coach Leiter said the goal is to develop more scorers on the roster so the Knights will be a better team later this season, and his son is playing a key role in this effort.

“When we need a bucket, he can still go get one for us,” the coach said.

Effler was selected to the all-tournament team.

Junior forward Barton Metzgar is still out with a sprained ankle, but Coach Leiter said he might be able to play in tonight’s conference game as the Knights (6-9, 2-3) visit Friends School.

In the wake of SCA’s 87-65 home loss to Friends in December, “we’re looking to give them a better game,” Coach Leiter said.