Rock Lions finish as the state runner-up
Published 1:26 pm Friday, March 18, 2022
By Megan Shultz
Rock Church School
Rock Church (Franklin) School’s varsity boys basketball team proved it was among the best in the state in its first year competing in the Mid Atlantic Christian Athletic Association.
The Rock Lions completed the regular season undefeated, with a record of 18-0, and found themselves as the No. 1 seed from the north in the MACAA 1A State Tournament.
The state tournament quarterfinals had Rock Church competing against No. 6 seed Ahoskie Academy. The game was a close call at halftime, with Rock being up 34-30, but the Lions pulled away by the end of the game, winning 71-56.
D.J. Dillon set a Rock Church School record with 56 points, and Jordan Myrick added a double-double, with 11 points and 19 rebounds.
The semifinals had the Rock Lions matched up against New Life Academy. The Lions found themselves down by a score of 27-19 in the first quarter. They had a strong second quarter and brought up the lead to 38-33 by halftime. They battled in the third quarter and were up 51-48 at the end of three. New Life would not go away easily, as it hit an astounding 15 3-pointers. Rock changed up defenses and was able to escape with a winning final score of 71-63.
Dillon had another unbelievable night with 51 points. Rock needed every point.
In the state championship game, Rock faced off against Jacksonville Academy. Jacksonville had dominated the tournament to that point, winning its games by an average of 36 points. The Lions were the clear underdog. Their duo of Dillon and Myrick kept them in the game for three quarters.
Myrick fouled out with five minutes left in the game. The Lions fought in the fourth but ran out of gas and lost 66-63 in overtime.
Dillon shattered the three-game tournament scoring record with 145 total points.
Reacting to his team’s season as a whole, Rock Lions Head Coach Danny Dillon said, “I am at a loss for words. For us to have an undefeated regular season and then make it to the championship game, with a chance to win, this was such a miracle season. God has honored these boys with their dedication to Him. We pray before and after every game and practice. We have been practicing since Oct. 25. The run we made was unreal. I’m so proud of D.J., Jordan and all the guys. These men are going to make such an impact for Christ in this world. I just love the fact that God honored little ole Rock Church School.”
The Rock Lions have learned and grown tremendously up to this point. They learned not everything comes easy, and there may be some obstacles, but to persevere with patience and hard work to complete what they need to do. This means so much to Coach Dillon, Assistant Coach William Brown and Rock Church School.
The Rock Lions junior varsity boys basketball team also finished as runner-up in the MACAA 1A State Tournament. The squad took down Pamlico Christian and Victory Christian before losing in the championship game to Suffolk Christian Academy. The Rock Lions were led by eighth-grader Adin Brown, who averaged 29 points a game this season.
Rock Church School’s varsity and JV teams were selected unanimously by all the tournament teams to be given the Christian Character Award.
“This award means the most,” Coach Dillon said. “Trophies will fade, but our walk with Christ will carry into eternity. These boys display such good sportsmanship.”
He noted that the future is bright for Rock Church School sports.
“We are returning every player except for one senior in soccer and basketball,” he said. “We hope to make another state run in both (sports) next year as well.
“Thanks to The Tidewater News and everyone in our area for their support to Rock, our sports teams and sports camps. I get love everywhere I go. We have such a great community.”