Vanguard wins NAIA title over Emmanuel
Former CHS star DeAngelo Jones shares in championship
The sixth-seeded Vanguard, Calif. Lions captured its first-ever NAIA Men's Basketball National Championship with a 70-65 win over No. 8-seeded Emmanuel, Ga.,Tuesday, March 25 in the championship game of the 2014 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men's Basketball Championship in Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo.
Championship Most Valuable Player Preston Wynne led the way for Vanguard with 20 points and six rebounds, while all-tournament honoree junior guard Chris Gorman added 18 points and five rebounds as the backcourt duo combined to hit all nine of their free throws.
Cheney High School grad, DeAngelo Jones, a force in three earlier wins for the school from Costa Mesa, Calif. was limited to just a single point, but hauled down six rebounds in 30 minutes.
Jones, a junior who played with Wynne last season at Spokane Community College, scored a team-leading 25 points in the tournament's opening game, an 81-70 victory over Benedictine, Kan. March 21. He had 15 points in Vanguard's 93-85 win over Georgetown, Ky, March 22 in a quarterfinal game and then 17 in his team's 108-88 victory over St. Gregory's out of Oklahoma in the semifinals.
Vanguard (32-6) becomes the third school from the Golden State (Concordia, San Diego State) to win a NAIA Division I crown and gives the school its second national championship in any sport, joining the women's basketball team's title from 2008. Emmanuel (33-4) also claimed its first spot in the championship game in its fourth all-time appearance in the tournament, falling to 4-4 in its history.
"It feels amazing. We just praise God," Vanguard head coach Rhett Soliday said."This game doesn't define our season and it doesn't define Emmanuel's season. We just happened to be on the winning end tonight."
The Lions led 29-25 at halftime in 20 minutes dominated by defense. The lead grew to as many as 10 points for Vanguard with 13 minutes, 20 seconds to play in the game.
Emmanuel closed to within two points with 3:51 remaining on a 3-point play by Adrian Justice, but Noel Larkins hit two free throws with 1:03 left to give Vanguard its final 10-point cushion. Vanguard hit six free throws in the final minute to close out the game.
Michael Stanley scored 19 points to lead Emmanuel.