Trinity Christian’s boys had a battle that lasted all 32 minutes of the Lions’ game against Northpoint on Saturday, but TCA outlasted the team from Mississippi, 60-58.
Kaleb Williams had the game winner, a lay-up to break the time with three seconds left.
“That wasn’t how the play was drawn up, but I got the ball at the 3-point line and had the open lane to the basket and took it,” said Williams, who finished with a team-leading 14 points. “Our coaches tell me I need to be a go-to guy in situations like this, so I try to be ready if we’re in a game that comes down close like this one.”
The basket was needed as Northpoint was able to play its way to the tie in the final minute after it appeared about 90 seconds earlier that TCA would pull away.
The Trojans put together some baskets and kept stopping the clock with fouls to keep the Lions from securing the win a minute early.
Northpoint did have time to get the ball down the floor and put up a long 3-pointer before the game ended, but it hit the front of the rim and fell short of a game-winning basket.
TCA advances to the region quarterfinals with the win and will play at First Assembly Christian School on Tuesday in Memphis.
Other double-digit scorers for TCA were Brayden Waller with 13 points and Will Wysor with 12.
Jackson Christian girls 62, ECS 29
The Lady Eagles’ defense kept ECS from hitting a field goal until about halfway through the second quarter, as they pulled out to a 26-6 halftime lead.
“Our offense wasn’t really flowing well early on, so it was good that our defense was working as well as it was,” said Jackson Christian head coach Tony Shutes. “And that’s what we’ve talked about with the team a lot – always try to have that kind of defense that helps when the shots aren’t falling.”
With the win, Jackson Christian advances to play First Assembly Christian School, the No. 1 seed from the other district in Division II-A West, which consists of all the smaller private schools in Shelby County.
Gibson Boykin led the Lady Eagles with 17 points, and Alana Yarbrough had 14. Trinity Brooks chipped in with 10.
After the dominant first half, the Lady Eagles had trouble getting things going in the second half, as ECS began to hit a few baskets and pick up a few steals to slow Jackson Christian’s scoring.
But the Lady Eagles’ lead never shrunk to fewer than 16 points, and the home team got its scoring and defense back on track after Shutes called a couple of timeouts to regroup the players.
“ECS went to a press there in the third quarter, and we had to adjust to it,” Shutes said. “But our girls responded well.”
USJ boys 54, Harding 35
The Bruins jumped out to a big lead of their own, ahead 15-3 after the first quarter, and never looked back.
Brady Smith led the Bruins with 18 points, and Hayes Carney had 12.
The Bruins will travel to Lausanne on Tuesday for a chance to go to the region semifinals.
Once teams make it to the semifinals, they’re assured of a spot in Division II substate as the top two teams in each region will host the third- and fourth-place teams from the region on the other end of the state with the four winners going to the state tournament at Tennessee Tech.
Brandon Shields, firstname.lastname@example.org