CLINTONVILLE - Nick Gilbo's 17 points and 10 rebounds led Moriah to a win over the Patriots Feb. 18 and their first CVAC Division II title since 1992.
Both teams entered the contest tied for the best record among Division II teams, but it was the Vikings who wrapped up the title on senior night in Clintonville.
The Patriots got off to a healthy start with an 8-2 run, but Moriah knotted the score at 13 by the end of the quarter.
Led by the strong inside play of Hayden Whalen, Nick Gilbo and Nate Gilbo, the Vikings continued to hassle AuSable Valley and built an 11-point lead in the second quarter.
"We got rebounds, got out and ran, and got some easy looks," said Moriah head coach Brian Cross. "We did a good job distributing the basketball."
The Vikings extended their lead to as much as 14 before the Patriots got hot in the fourth quarter. T.J. Burl hit three straight 3-pointers to help AuSable Valley cut the deficit to five, but Moriah pulled away in the final minutes.
"I told my guys at half time, they're ahead, but it's far from over," Cross recalled. "AuSable's a tough team. They don't give up and they keep on fighting."
Burl would finish with 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Brody Douglass put up a team-high 17 points, but the Patriots struggled as a whole, shooting just 36 percent from the field and 5-of-13 from the line.
"We didn't box out like we should have," said AVCS head coach Jamie Douglass. "We just got murdered on the boards."
Whalen added 12 points to go with nine rebounds and four blocks, while Larry Wintle and Ralph Schofield each chipped in with eight points.
"Tommy Tesar played a very good game for them," said Douglas. "He only had two points, but he won that game for them. He's a hard kid to trap."
Moriah 56, AuSable Valley 47
1 2 3 4 - F
Moriah 13 15 14 14 - 56
AuSable Valley 13 4 11 19 - 47
Slattery 0-0-0, Wintle 2-4-8, Speshock 1-1-3, Na. Gilbo 3-0-6, Schofield 2-4-8, Ni. Gilbo 7-3-17, Whalen 4-4-12, Tesar 1-0-2. Totals: 20-16-56.
AuSable Valley (47)
Coolidge 2-0-4, Case 2-4-8, Lincoln 0-0-0, Burl 6-1-16, Douglass 7-0-17, Pulsifer 1-0-2, Lee 0-0-0, Hart 0-0-0. Totals: 18-5-47.
3-pointers: AuSable Valley (6): Burl 3; Douglass 3.