Nic Maccioni makes dazzling debut for Faith Lutheran

Nic Maccioni had to wait a bit longer than most to make his varsity basketball debut.

The Faith Lutheran senior made the most of his opportunity Tuesday night.

Maccioni had 28 points and 20 rebounds to lead the Crusaders to a 71-64 road win over Sierra Vista in the season opener for both teams.

“He had 20 rebounds, and that says everything about effort, right there,” Faith Lutheran coach Bret Walter said. “He’s our only senior. He’s our guy, and he played hard in his first game. It’s his first varsity basketball game, too.”

Maccioni was unable to play on the varsity last season after transferring from Bishop Gorman. He said the wait was a “struggle.”

“I just had to wait my turn,” Maccioni said. “Now I’m here as a senior, and we’ve got to do the best we can and try to make it as far as we can.”

Faith Lutheran opened the game on a 12-0 run, but Sierra Vista wouldn’t go away. The Mountain Lions never led, but tied the game before halftime and kept it close throughout.

Sierra Vista cut the lead to 59-56 after two free throws by Maka Ellis with 3:04 to play. But Elijah Kothe got an offensive rebound and completed a three-point play on the other end to push the lead back to six.

“Elijah plays hard, and he goes hard to the boards,” Walter said. “He’s a guy who makes intangible plays, and he just happened to come up with one right there at the right time.”

Kothe also helped seal the victory at the free-throw line, going 8-for-9 in the fourth quarter.

“We struggled at the line as a team tonight, and we’re not a bad shooting team,” Walter said. “But Elijah came through for us in the clutch at the free-throw line.”

Kothe had 17 points and eight rebounds, and Jaylen Fox added nine points and four assists for Faith Lutheran.

Ellis led Sierra Vista with 28 points and 10 rebounds. Maui SeraJosef scored 11 and Calvin Richards 10 for the Mountain Lions.

Contact prep sports editor Damon Seiters at or 702-380-458. Follow @DamonSeiters on Twitter.

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