SAGU run ends in NAIA semifinals

Lions fall to Lewis-Clark State to wrap up landmark season

SAGU Athletics
Southwestern Assemblies of God University senior Joshua Kashila throws down a dunk during the NAIA National Tournament in Kansas City, Mo. The Lions reached the national semifinals for only the second time in school history.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Southwestern Assemblies of God University men’s basketball earned a spot in the semifinals of the NAIA National Tournament that included a field of Lewis-Clark State, Shawnee State, and Saint Francis. The Lions matched up against Lewis-Clark State on Monday in the second game of the night.

Tension was high leading up until tip-off. From the start both teams made their presence known from the 3 point-line; the first 6 made shots of the game were 3-point field goals. The pace picked up tremendously from there, as LSC took a 15-point lead midway through the first half. The Lions were able to battle back, but heading into halftime LSC was leading 50-35.

In the second half the Lions came out energized and ready to play, a couple big shots by Joshua Kashila brought the Lions within 10 points (55-45). That’s the closest the Lions would get as a big run by LSC pushed the lead and secured the game for them, with a final score of 83-56.

An amazing season by the Lions has come to an end with them boasting a 13-3 record, a regular season conference championship and a semifinal appearance in the NAIA National Tournament.

Noah Boling led the Lions in scoring with 11 points, and Kashila finished with 10 points and 7 rebounds. The Lions outscored Lewis-Clark State in points in the paint (24-22) and bench points (17-12).

It was the program's second semifinals appearance (first in 2013).

Earlier in the tournament, SAGU picked up two huge wins over the weekend against Morningside College and Carroll College. While both games had two completely different playing styles, the Lions were able to adapt and show their versatility.

In the Morningside College matchup, both teams were locked in on the offensive side of the ball with the Lions going into halftime with a 44-43 lead. The second half was similar, but the Lions were able to close out the game in part to a late run and defensive stops; the final score was 90-85.

Saturday night’s game featured Carroll College in a game of possessions. Both teams grinded it out in a low scoring game that had multiple lead changes, Carroll was able to take a two-point lead going into halftime 37-35. The Lions came out in the second half and outscored Carroll 38-28; winning the game 73-65.

In the final five minutes of the game, the Lions only allowed three points; finishing the game on a 14-3 run.

Joel Polius was excellent in the win against Carroll with 27 points and 10 rebounds, and Kashila added 13 points and 7 assists. Both Boling (14 points) and Nathan Bailey (11 points) were pivotal down the stretch for the Lions.