Lady Crusaders win CCC co-championship
Grace Christian celebrated its senior night Friday as the Lady Crusaders won a share of the Carolina Christian Conference championship with a 70-46 win over Cape Fear Christian.
The Lady Crusaders (22-2, 9-1), thanks to a split with fellow co-champ Northwood Temple and having lost a coin toss, will be the No. 2 seed in next week's CCC Tournament.
On Friday night though, seniors Anna Murr and Karinda Farrant led the Lady Crusaders much as they have all season.
Murr, Grace Christian's all-time leading scorer, drained six three-pointers and totaled 27 points. Two of her triples sparked the Lady Crusaders out to an 11-2 lead in the game's first 1:10.
Farrant, an Australian exchange student spending the year at Grace Christian, has had multiple double-doubles and triple-doubles through the season. She didn't quite get there Friday, as the Lady Crusaders didn't need Farrant or the rest of their starters much in the fourth quarter, but she still posted 12 points, eight steals, seven rebounds and five assists.
"Karinda really does some incredible things," said Grace Christian head coach Joel Murr. "She anticipates so well. Our fans, and I've, loved watching her play this season."
After the Lady Eagles took a 2-0 lead, Alexis Ross, a sophomore, scored a three-point play on a drive to the basket. Then the Lady Crusader pressing got going.
Farrant cleanly intercepted a pass, jumping for a two-handed snare and going in for a lay-up. Back-to-back Murr three-pointers made it 11-2.
Cape Fear Christian fought back within 11-10 before the Lady Crusader offense picked up again. Ross and Murr scored nine points each in the first quarter and the Lady Crusaders led 27-17.
Ross kept attacking the basket with success, whether off the Lady Crusader pressing or in the half-court offense. She had 15 points in the first half and finished with 23 points, six assists and five steals.
Cape Fear Christian chipped a 20-point halftime margin down to 15 a few possessions into the second half. Ross scored twice on fast breaks to halt the brief Eagle run. Murr caught fire from long range, winding up with four three-pointers in the third quarter taking the Lady Crusader lead to 66-35 with a period to play.
Guard Hannan Brannon led the Lady Eagles with 23 points and 10 rebounds.
The Lady Crusaders forced 18 turnovers in the first half and 28 total.
Grace Christian has a bye to the quarterfinals of the CCC Tournament, meaning the Lady Crusaders will host a quarterfinal game Tuesday evening. Lee Christian will host the semifinals Thursday. Cresset Christian will host both CCC final basketball games Friday night.