Northwood Temple tops Crusaders, 65-47
Grace Christian typically tries outrunning its opponents on the basketball court. On Friday night versus conference-leading Northwood Temple, and its college-sized frontcourt, the host Crusaders tried patience.
It worked pretty well for a half. Then the Eagles (14-8, 9-0) ran out to a big lead and claimed a 65-47 victory.
Zach Boggs poured in 27 points for the Crusaders (11-11, 5-4) and he single-handedly kept pace with the Eagles in the first period, as it was Northwood Temple 8 and Boggs 8, with two three-pointers included.
The Crusaders took more than 2:30 off the clock between two possessions, with the score sitting at 8-8, to end the opening quarter.
"We're not used to playing like that, but (Northwood Temple) let us do it, which sort of surprised me, and it kept us in the game," said Grace Christian head coach Joel Murr.
The Crusaders were facing an Eagle squad with 6-foot-9 senior Macoumba Kane, 6-foot-9 senior Dalen Traore and 6-foot-8 sophomore Armel Tete - usually with two of the three, although sometimes with all three big men, on the court at a time.
A 6-0 Eagle run made it 22-14 late in the second quarter. Boggs made two free throws, followed by Robert Fulton making a three-pointer with 0:09 left. Kane stuck in an offensive rebound at the horn giving Northwood Temple a 24-19 edge at the half.
Getting defensive stops versus Kane, Traore and Tete became tougher for the Crusaders in the second half. A fast-break dunk by Kane made it 36-23 Eagles, then a three by Keon Madison took the Eagle lead to 39-23 with 1:29 left in the third period. The Eagles kept racing away to a 49-28 lead by the end of the quarter.
Kane and Traore had double-doubles with Kane getting 15 points and 13 rebounds, and 12 and 14 by Traore.
Boggs scored 14 points in the first half and 13 in the second half. Fulton added 12 points. Sophomore Braxton Diekhopf battled inside and finished with four points and 12 rebounds.
The Crusaders have three Carolina Christian Conference games to finish their regular season next week. Grace Christian will play at Wayne Christian Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., then host Lee Christian Thursday and Cape Fear Christian Friday.