Dock Mennonite Academy’s Misrahim “Miz” Nyagwegwe has a true appreciation for the opportunities he has in America.
That’s because the 17-year-old has twice visited extended family members in Tanzania. His parents, Kiango and Jane, were born in the East African country known for its vast wilderness areas.
“It’s nice, but it’s mostly an impoverished region,” he said. “It’s kind of tough to see so many people living in poverty.”
On Saturday afternoon, Nyagwegwe, usually upbeat and sporting a smile, sparked Dock to its first Bicentennial Athletic League boys’ basketball playoff championship.
The 6-foot, 175-pound senior guard netted a game-high 20 points as the No. 5-seeded Pioneers edged No. 3 Valley Forge Military Academy, 51-49, in overtime at Morrisville.
“It feels really good to accomplish this, especially since we were considered underdogs coming into the tournament” Nyagwegwe said.
Nyagwegwe, a third-year starter, shot 8 for 17 from the field (2 for 5 from beyond the arc) and 2 from 2 for the foul line. He added three rebounds, three assists, a steal, and a partially blocked shot.
“First and foremost, he’s a good a person,” Dock fourth-year coach Mike Fergus said. “On the court, he’s a solid all-around player.”
The Pioneers (22-4) put together a 15-0 run and were ahead, 17-6, at the end of the first quarter. Ahead by 22-9 in the second, they allowed the Trojans to muster a 17-0 spurt and move in front, 26-22.
“I knew that lead wasn’t going to hold up,” said Fergus, who is in his 41st year as a coach. “Valley Forge is too good of a team to beat easily.”
Jackson Scialanca nailed a three-pointer from up top with a minute remaining in regulation to give Dock a 45-44 edge. Valley Forge’s Arion Lewis made one of two free throws with 23 seconds left to force an extra session.
The Pioneers converted 4 of 6 free throws in overtime — Nyagwegwe went 2 for 2 to make it 47-47 — to beat Lewis, 6-10 center Abraham Deng (10 boards, six points, five blocks, two steals) and the Trojans (21-5).
Nyagwegwe, Scialanca and fellow guard Nolan Bolton held Lewis, a dynamic guard who went into the game averaging 21.6 points a game, to 15 markers. “We did a lot of trapping against him,” Nyagwegwe said.
Scialanca hit three treys on the way to 10 points. Forward Darius Ellis posted seven of his 11 points after intermission, and Bolton notched five points, five rebounds and five assists.
Dock Mennonite 17 10 4 14 6 – 51
Valley Forge Military Academy 6 20 8 11 4 – 49
DM: Jackson Scialanca 10, Miz Nyagwegwe 20, Caleb Pfleiger 3, Darius Ellis 11, Nolan Bolton 7.
VFMA: Quadir Miller 16, Arion Lewis 15, Abraham Deng 7, Rye Ahronson 6, Will Colleran 2, Kobie Reid 3.