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PCT falls in NEAC playoffs

LANCASTER — Penn College played tough and tried to rally late in the game, but Lancaster Bible held on to defeat the Wildcats, 77-73, in the NEAC quarterfinals Tuesday night.

Penn College scored on a layup with 2 minutes, 35 seconds to play in the game from Loyalsock grad Ben Sosa to cut the deficit down to 69-66. That was the closest the Wildcats came to tying or taking the lead late in the game though.

Elijah Vazquez hit a 3-pointer for Penn College to cut the Wildcats’ deficit in the final five minutes to five points. He was then fouled with just under four to play to shoot two free throws and hit both to cut the deficit down to 67-64, the closest Penn College had gotten since early in the first half.

Sosa had an enormous game in his final appearance with the Wildcats. The senior led the team with 27 points and had a team-high seven rebounds. Vazquez chipped in 23 points.

While Sosa and Vazquez combined for 50 points, no other Penn College player scored more than five.

“Ben and a Elijah set the tone for the game with their offense and being aggressive to get us some early baskets,” Penn College coach Geoff Hensley said. “We rotated multiple defenders on their leading scorer, Jordan Shewbridge, who all did a good job tiring him out and making him earn every basket he got. We needed to do a better job rebounding but I thought we did a great job overall defensively limiting them to shoot under 42% from the floor.”

Penn College didn’t score in the final 2 1/2 minutes of the first half and had its final three possessions stolen away as the Chargers built up a 12-point lead, 41-29. That lead was highlighted by a huge 3-pointer in the corner at the buzzer.

Penn College chipped away at that first-half deficit thanks to a 12-0 run in the second half to cut the deficit to five.

The Chargers had a balanced scoring night from Jordan Shewbridge (16 points), Kaleb Murry (13), William Afoakwah (12) and Luke Beers (11). Afoakwah posted a double-double with a team-high 13 rebounds.

Penn College qualified for the first time this year for the NEAC postseason. In addition to the postseason berth, the Wildcats also saw a four-win improvement from last year and Penn College won more games this season (seven) than it had in the past two seasons combined (six).

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