Spartans fall in finals; Colts teams win
The Kerr-Vance varsity girls team came up short in its first true test of the season, but head coach Brian Russell liked his team’s resiliency.
KVA never led Saturday in its tournament championship game against Franklin Academy, losing 40-33. The Spartans battled back from a nine-point halftime deficit and trailed 31-19 entering the fourth quarter.
“I learned that we’re resilient and we don’t quit,” said Russell. “We haven’t had a lot of real close games. We’ve either won by 10 or so or lost by 10 or 15. It was good experience to play in a close game. The fact that we just battled and didn’t give up, that’s the most important thing to take from this to me.”
KVA (7-4) got within two points with 52.8 seconds remaining in the game before Spartan point guard Rebecca Ross fouled out with 35.9 seconds left on the clock.
Ross led KVA with 12 points and Price Wester had 11 points.
Franklin Academy’s Catie Keel had 12 points Saturday and was named the tournament’s most valuable player.
The Patriots won last season’s tournament with a rout of the Spartans in the final.
Russell was pleased his team stayed in the game in this season’s event and hopes the tourney gave his squad, which knocked off Crossroads Christian Friday, some confidence entering Eastern Plains Independent Conference play.
“We feel pretty good about the first half of the season,” said Russell. “I think we’ll get better.”
KVA returns to action after the Christmas break at home Jan. 7 against Faith Christian.
Spartans can’t keep up with strong Burlington squad
Beating The Burlington School would have been a tall task Saturday for KVA even with its top scorer R.J. Hunt.
Hunt, sidelined with a hamstring injury, watched his Spartans fall 87-26 in the title game.
Burlington, the fifth-ranked N.C. Independent School Athletic Association 1-A team, led 26-11 after one quarter and 49-19 at halftime.
The Spartans (8-4) scored two points in the third quarter and scored their final five in the last 30 seconds of the game against an athletic and quick bunch from Burlington.
“I think they’re fantastic,” KVA head coach Dave Carrier said of the visitors. “They have five guys that can shoot. They have good post players. They’re not really tall, but their inside guys are so tough. They’re a physically strong team.”
Burlington had 44 points off the bench led by 16 from Sae’Quahn Rogers, a sturdy player who scored most of his points around the basket.
Jordan Nelson was named the tourney MVP for Burlington, which shot 6-of-21 from 3-point range.
Derrian Markham led the Spartans with 14 points, all of which were scored in the first half.
“It proved to Derrian that he can play with anybody,” said Carrier. “I thought he played good.”
“I really think that we’ll find a way for this to make us better,” Carrier added. “I saw stretches that we looked better, we competed. That team’s a better basketball team than us. I think going forward this game will help us be better by February.”
KVA’s next game is Jan. 7 at home against Faith Christian.
Crossroads wins consolation games
The Crossroads Christian boys and girls team each won consolation games Saturday. The boys defeated Franklin Academy and the girls won against The Burlington School.
More information from the girls game was not available at press time.
The Colts boys are already sitting on two more wins than they had all of last season.
Crossroads improved to 8-6 Saturday with a 44-34 win over Franklin Academy at KVA’s holiday tourney.
The Colts rebounded from a loss Friday night to the host Spartans.
“Any win is a good win at this point,” said Crossroads head coach Joseph Cooper. “We were a little tired coming off of a heartbreaker last night against our rivals. But we finally put it together and made a run in the fourth.”
The Colts were up 16-13 at halftime against Franklin Academy but trailed 24-20 heading into the fourth quarter.
Franklin Academy got within four points in the final minute, but Crossroads sealed the win at the free throw line.
Cooper said getting out in transition was the key for his side along with getting to the foul line.
“This was a great stepping stone,” said Cooper. “We’ve been in this tournament three years now and this is the first win that we got. The guys should be encouraged. We’re definitely still headed in the right direction.”
Cooper likes the direction his big man Zack Norris is headed. The 6-foot-7 junior tallied 16 points, 10 rebounds, six blocks, and five assists Saturday.
“As we continue to work with him, he’s just going to get better and better,” said Cooper.
Both Colts teams return to action Jan. 3 at home against Lee Christian.
Zack Norris (Crossroads), Drew Mormann (Franklin Academy), Derrian Markham (KVA), T.J. Jeffers (Burlington), R.J. Turner (Burlington), Jordan Nelson (Burlington)
Kelly Bender (Burlington), Amber Peoples (Crossroads), Rebecca Ross (KVA), Price Wester (KVA), McKenzie Goodwine (Franklin Academy), Catie Keel (Franklin Academy)
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