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Rossini’s outside touch boosts Delco Christian

NEWTOWN SQUARE — Tyler Rossini doesn’t worry about scoring points in bunches. Delaware County Christian School’s senior shooting guard plays with a team-first mentality, and if he’s lucky enough to get a few open looks per game, so be it.

Rossini wants to do what’s best for all five players on the floor. It’s not about getting his shots and padding his stats.

“My teammates do a great job of setting me up,” he said. “I just want to look to get the ball inside as much as possible.”

The big man for DC is Obinna Nwobodo, who gets plenty of touches in the lane. The offense runs through junior wingman Jackson Piotrowski, who Valley Forge Military Academy zoned in on in Thursday night’s District 1 Class 2A semifinal contest without much success.

Jamal Hairston is the heady point guard who directs the offense, and power forward Jacob Bronkema is your typical grinder who fights for rebounds and plays tough defense. Rossini is the team’s marksman. He wasn’t aiming to drop in 20 points on this night, but the opportunities were too good to resist.

The red-haired sniper was 6-for-12 from long distance to lead the second-seeded Knights to a revenge win over the No. 3 Trojans, 67-48. Rossini and Piotrowski shared game-high scoring honors with 20 points.

DC eyes what would be its second straight District 1 title Saturday at Harriton High against No. 4 Church Farm. Tip off is slated for 3 p.m.

“We want to win it again,” Rossini said. “Last year we came in and played a very good team (Dock Mennonite), fought hard and pulled it out in the end. Coming into this year, our coaches talked about leaving a legacy behind as defending champions. That’s what we want to do.”

Delco Christian and VFMA are both Bicentennial League foes who previously clashed Feb. 5. The Knights fell, 61-53, and the aftertaste lingered for several days. To redeem themselves, the Knights had to tie up some loose ends and play a fundamentally sound defensive game, which was absent the first time around.

“We lost to them a couple of weeks ago, and over the last four days, we’ve had heavy practices on defense. It was all about defense, defense and more defense,” Rossini said. “We executed the game plan that (coach Reggie Parks) set for us and we won the game.”

Valley Forge didn’t hurt itself with sloppy offensive performance, but it couldn’t match DC’s energy and aggressiveness. When Rossini wasn’t popping treys, the Knights were attacking the rim and getting to the free-throw line. While the Knights were juiced to play their final home game, there was no real sense of urgency on VFMA’s side. The visitors shot 8-for-24 in the first half and trailed by 10 at halftime.

Rossini drilled back-to-back 3s early in the second quarter to provide some distance between. A 9-8 first-quarter lead for DC became 20-9 within minutes.

If there was a turning point in an otherwise one-sided game, you can reference those two triples Rossini banked in the second period.

“You love to see it from him,” said Piotrowski, who scored 13 points in the second half and was 9-for-10 at the free-throw line. The junior is garnering interest from Ivy League programs. “We’ll be in a rough patch and you’ll see him hit two or three in a row. That ignites us as a team whenever he hits one. Anytime you can get back-to-back 3s, it’s always great.”

Rossini’s sixth and final trifecta gave Delco Christian its largest advantage of 24 points a minute into the fourth. Valley Forge didn’t bow quietly, though. Big man Matt Daulerio same three 3-pointers in the quarter as the Trojans used a 10-0 run to trim their deficit to 53-39. But Piotrowski’s slam dunk with 2:45 left was the icing, and the Knights finished their scoring from the charity stripe. DC went 20-for-26 at the line.

“This whole week was a grind preparing to play them again, but obviously worth it,” Piotrowski said. “For our seniors, you want to play hard because it’s their last game at home. It was a fun atmosphere, it was a last chance to play in front of our home fans and everyone brought all of their energy. No one needed to get hyped up for this one, it was already there.”

Nwobodo registered a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. He also notched a game-high three steals. Bronkema collected eight points and eight boards, while Hairston paired four points with seven assists. DC assisted on 15 of its 20 baskets. 

Kobe Reid paced VFMA with 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists.

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