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New Life Academy boys basketball: Eagles finish first in MCAA

The New Life Academy boys basketball won the Minnesota Christian Athletic Association South Division last week after going 2-1 in three conference games.

New Life (18-4; 9-2 MCAA) started its week with a hard-fought 52-47 victory over Bethany Academy on Tuesday, Feb. 11.

New Life opened a slim 25-19 halftime lead on Bethany (11-13; 2-11 MCAA) then hung on for the win.

“The team struggled with the slow pace of the game and shot the ball poorly against Bethany,” NLA head coach Doug Linton said.

Conrad Engstrom led the team with 22 points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals.

New Life then traveled to Southwest Christian (14-8; 8-5 MCAA) on Friday, Feb. 14, and saw the team take a 12-point lead in the second half, only to go cold from the field down the stretch and lose to the Stars 51-49.

With the game tied with 13 seconds to go, the Eagles turned the ball over which led to a lay-up by the Stars to steal the victory.

Sam Horner had a team-high 14 points in the loss, while Engstrom scored 12 points.

The Eagles then had to turn around the next night and play Maranatha (20-3; 12-0 MCAA) in the MCAA Conference Showcase Championship game.

In the game that pit the leaders of the MCAA North against the South-leading Eagles, NLA found a way to take down the Mustangs 70-66.

With 17 points, John Horner led a great team effort that saw three players reach double figures. Also, Sam Nelson added 12 points and Engstrom chipped in 11 points.

The Eagles finished in first place in the MCAA South Division and took home the Conference Showcase Championship for the first time in 10 years.

NLA played on the road at Nova Academy on Monday, Feb. 17, then returned home Tuesday night to take on Maranatha again on Tuesday, Feb. 18, after the Bulletin went to print.

Next, the Eagles take on West Lutheran (10-13; 6-6 MCAA) on Monday, Feb. 24, in the regular-season finale in Woodbury.

—Patrick Johnson

Patrick Johnson
Patrick Johnson has been the South Washington County Bulletin’s sports editor since 2008. He reports on and oversees coverage of high school and amateur sports in south Washington County and Woodbury. Prior to joining the Bulletin, Johnson worked for other Twin Cities suburban newspapers. He is a University of Minnesota graduate.
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