The NCISAA state tournament proved disappointing for the Asheville Christian Academy boys and girls teams last week. Both squads exited after tough quarter girl’s losses. The girls team entered play as the #4 seed and hosted the #5 seed Carmel Christian.
Unfortunately the Lions had to play without one of their key starters, Jay Cruell, and midway through the first quarter their leading scorer Emma Newton spent long minutes on the bench after sustaining a cut over her eye.
Even with all the adversity, the Lions held a 30-23 lead at the half. Brantley Compton scored 10 points in the opening half knocking in two shots from behind the three-point arc. In the third quarter the tide began to turn. Without Cruell and a healthy Newton the Lions had trouble scoring and finished the third quarter trailing 41-39.
Carmel extended the lead to eight points with just under 3:00 minutes to play and the Lions were never able to get within striking distance eventually falling 55-50. Compton and Caroline Sikkink both finished with 10 points for the Lions.
The ACA girls team finished their year with a 15-9 overall record and with no seniors on this years team look for an even better season next year.
The Lion boys team showed a little promise in their opening round matchup playing their best game of the year. The Lions were the #8 seed and took on #9 Caldwell Academy. ACA jumped out to a 9-0 lead and never looked back eventually winning 85-41 and advancing to the quarterfinals to take on the #1 seed Gaston Day.
The Lions played Gaston Day earlier in the year and after a close first half the Spartans rolled to a 19 point victory. In the rematch, the Lions were completely outmatched from start to finish. ACA sophomore Caleb Mills tied the score 2-2 in the opening minute on a pull-up jumper but that was as close as the Lions got the rest of the day. Gaston Day hit a three-pointer with 6:12 left in the first quarter to extend their lead to 7-2 and never looked back from there.
At the end of the first quarter the Spartans led 27-10 and by 22 points at the half. The Lions had no luck against the Gaston Day defense and the Spartans scored at will no matter what defense the Lions tried. Gaston Day ended the Lions season with an 88-40 blowout win.
The Lions finished the year with a 9-19 overall record.
By Jonathan Bennett