YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Valley Christian boys basketball team held off a scrappy Heartland Christian team, 62-54 Saturday night at Valley Christian High School.

The Eagles were aggressive early and went into halftime with a 36-25 advantage. Valley Christian led by 14 heading to the 4th quarter, when the Lions went on a big run to make it a three-point game with under three minutes left. But Valley was able to hold off the rally with free throws down the stretch.

Sekou Stanley led the Eagles with 18 points, while Mark Revere and Joey Battista had 13 apiece. Zavion Howard added 10.

“It was a really great win against a team that’s well coached,” said Stanley. “This is only our second game off one week of practice, we’ve been off for about two weeks or so. This is a way different team from last year. We got a lot of chemistry, a lot of experience coming back on this team so I expect to have a great year and this is a great way to start it off.”

With the win, Valley Christian improves to 2-0 on the season, while Heartland drops to 4-2. Valley Christian head coach Dolph Carroll was out for Saturday’s game due to contact tracing involving COVID-19, so assistant John Pecchia took over for the Eagles.

“I’m very proud, we’ve dealt with the same issues that a lot of programs around the area have,” said Pecchia. “We’ve had one practice in three weeks, then back-to-back games this weekend. The kids battled and we did a great job executing tonight.”

Heartland Christian was led by Jon Bertovich with a game-high 23 points, while Steven Baker had 11.