Rock Church Lions finish second at regionals

Published 8:50 am Friday, May 4, 2018

by Megan Woodward

Rock Church basketball is back on the map as the Lions traveled to West Virginia last month to compete at the ACE Regional Basketball Tournament. Coach Danny Dillon has longed for the days to get a varsity program rolling again at Rock Church School.

Rock Church School is part of the Accelerated Christian Education organization that has thousands of schools all across the nation and the world. Every year they have Regional and National conventions to compete in various athletics, academics and arts.

The basketball tournament was held April 11-12 at the Appalachian Bible College in Mt. Hope, West Virginia. The basketball teams came from Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia.

The Rock Lions lost to South Ridge Academy, from Conneaut, Ohio, in the championship game by eight points. Tim Kaczoroksi was a handful for Rock with his 17 points and 14 rebounds in the championship game.

“They called him ‘Tiny Tim’ but there was nothing Tiny about the 6’7” kid from South Ridge,” said Coach Dillon. “We did all we could to stop him but again super stoked to finish second out of these four states! That’s a big deal!”

D.J. Dillon set the tournament high for most points in a game with 22 points. This dominant performance was in Rock’s first round game versus Bible Baptist Academy, from Berkley, Ohio. The Lions won that game by a score of 40 to 18. Ben Turner, who plays center for Rock, led the tournament in rebounds.

“The kids played amazingly this week,” said Coach Dillon. “What a joy it is to watch them compete on this level. Again, we are not only about winning the game but also showing good sportsmanship and the love of God. When you do that, good things always happen.”

The second place finish qualifies the Rock Lions for Nationals, which are held in June at the University of Indiana.

“It was always my goal to come back and build this program back up,” he said. “I loved coaching at Franklin High and now I get to coach my sons. I’m super proud of my son, D.J., playing at the point guard position at this level in the 7th grade. It’s been years since we had a varsity team. We are still mainly JV age, but the future is bright!”

Coach Dillon stepped down as head coach of Franklin High School four years ago because of the demands of the ministry at Rock Church. Coach Cutchins, current FHS Head Coach, was Dillon’s assistant and has been doing an outstanding job at FHS ever since. Coach Dillon is excited about the future and knows that the basketball program will only grow as they look to build the Ben S. Dillon Life Center. They are naming the new gymnasium after his older brother, who passed away past June at the age of 43. The team honored Ben’s jersey number by having the number 34 stitched into their uniforms.

“The passing of my brother was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to endure,” said Coach Dillion. “He was such a vital part of our family, church and school. I look forward to honoring him all the days of my life, as well as coaching his son, Stone, who is 8 years old. In the midst of this tragedy we continue to give God glory.”