SVCA falls to Calvary Temple

Shenandoah Valley Christian Academy's Suzannah Green shoots over Calgary's Juliana Zarou during fourth quarter action Friday night in Stephens City. Rich Cooley/Daily

STEPHENS CITY – For the first period, Shenandoah Valley Christian Academy’s young girls basketball squad played even with Calvary Temple on Friday.

Then the experience of the Conquerors took over en route to a 55-29 victory.

“We’re pretty much a freshman-sophomore heavy team,” SVCA coach Tim West said. “So youth has shown and led to some of our inconsistency. … We’re really a junior varsity team competing in a varsity league.”

SVCA’s Mia Irvin hit a 3-pointer to give the Patriots a 3-0 lead. The Conquerors missed their first 11 shots of the game before Mackenzie Becker hit a 3-pointer with 5:01 left in the first period. Calvary’s Juliana Zarou made a basket for a 5-3 lead.

SVCA scored the next four points, on two free throws Nikki Taylor and a basket by Cat Eppard for a 7-5 lead with 2:38 left in the opening period.

The Conquerors then scored the next 10 points, including two more 3-pointers by Becker for a 15-7 edge with 6:42 left in the second period.

Another 3-pointer by Irvin and a basket by teammate Susannah Green sparked a 5-2 run by the Patriots to cut the lead to 17-12 with 4:46 left in the first half.

The Conquerors responded with a 6-0 run to extend the lead to 25-12 with 1:24 left in the first half.

“That team is better conditioned,” West said. “As soon as we get winded we have a struggle keeping up. I think that also comes with experience. Basically their whole starting five is seniors. They understand what it takes to play four whole quarters. Our girls are learning.”

Calvary Temple led 28-16 at the half. West said his team has struggled in the third period of games all season, and that trend continued on Friday.

The Patriots scored only five points in the third period, as the Conquerors pushed the lead to 20 points.

Becker led the Conquerors with 27 points. Zarou added 14 points.

One of the bright spots for the Patriots was Irvin. The sophomore finished with 11 points and eight rebounds.

“She’s just a great offensive player,” West said of Irvin. “She has a lot of upside. She’s only a sophomore. So we’re excited about this offseason and working with her.”

The Patriots finish the season at 2-17, but West said he’s excited about what the future holds for his team.

“We took a lot of lickings this year, but sometimes it can be for the better,” West said. “The one thing for this team I’m most proud of is, we are 2-17, and these kids have the best character. Their heads are up, nobody’s quit. They’ve had good attitudes. They’ve showed the character of Christ, which for me is most important.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com