North Love boys repeat as IACS state champions

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) Channing Curington scored a game-high 26 as North Love held off a late surge by Berean Baptist to win its second consecutive Illinois Association of Christian Schools state championship.

The Lancers went into halftime down two, but never let the game get out of hand. Despite being the defending state champs, North Love entered this year's tournament as the two-seed. Something the team used as motivation.

"It's hard. We came into the beginning of the year saying that. Back-to-back years is very difficult," said North Love head coach Anthony Cotelleso. "We've had an up and down year. Got a couple of injuries but came back and finished up the season really, really strong."

North Love could never shake Berean, no lead ever reached double digits in the second half. The Kingsmen were led by junior Dennis Barksdale who scored a team-high 18.

Players like sophomore Braeden Lahre knew the team had that championship pedigree to pull off the another state win.

"We thought that we could do good things this year," said Lahre. "But when we heard we got number two, that was just more motivation this season for winning it all."