Everyone — except maybe for Shalom Christian’s coaches, players and fans — expected that Heritage and Broadfording would tangle in Saturday’s championship game, but Shalom threw a monkey wrench into the proceedings with its shocker over the Lions on Friday night.
The Eagles began to dominate Saturday’s final early and won their fifth MDCC title in the last 11 years, rolling past Shalom 64-33 at Grace Academy.
“(Shalom) spent so much energy on Friday, I’m sure it took a lot out of them,” Heritage coach Mike Kidd said.
If the Flames (11-12) had any energy left in the tank, Heritage (19-2) sucked it out of their bodies right away.
Tied 4-4 in the infant stages, Heritage went on a 9-0 run and opened up a 15-6 lead after the first quarter.
Alex Cosner, part of the Heritage “Bruise Brothers” tandem with brother Ben, scored eight points in the opening quarter and went for 10 more in the second as the Eagles opened up a 31-16 lead at halftime.
“We definitely had the inside advantage on them and we just let Alex do his thing,” Kidd said.
Cosner hardly left the paint and hit 9 of 12 field goals in the first half alone.
Ben Cosner got going in the third quarter with seven points, one less than his brother. Chris Harrell — scoreless in the first half — hit a pair of 3-pointers in the frame.
Heritage worked hard defensively to keep Shalom’s Jeff McCracken at bay.
“We wanted to take away his left-handed shot,” Kidd said of McCracken, Shalom’s leading scorer on the season. “We wanted all their shots to be contested shots.”
Heritage dominated the glass with its size advantage, 39-22.
Alex Cosner, the tournament MVP, ended with 30 points and 14 rebounds. He was 12 for 16 from the floor and 6 for 7 at the line.
Ben Cosner had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Harrell added 11 points.
McCracken finished with 12 points and Matt Wenger added 11 for Shalom.
With Ben Cosner and Bryce Nigh their only returning seniors, a championship wasn’t necessarily on the Eagles’ radar at the beginning of the season.
“I would not have expected this at the beginning,” Kidd said. “We surpassed expectations this season. We just have a fight about us.”
* The boys consolation game was not the spot Broadfording expected to be in.