HENDERSON — The Kerr-Vance Academy men’s basketball team took care of Halifax Academy by a score of 56-42 Tuesday evening, which secured them a rematch with local rivals in Crossroads Christian for the second round of the NCISAA 1A Playoffs.
While head coach Brandon Dickerson said that Tuesday’s performance was far from perfect, he said that the senior leadership on the roster was crucial in keeping team composure and withstanding the pressure brought by Halifax Academy.
“I thought we started great,” Dickerson said. “We got out to a hot start, which obviously helped tonight. I have to credit our four seniors in Joel Lewis, Coleman Merritt, Michael Holtzman and Chance Murphy. They all played team basketball [on Tuesday] and I think that made the difference.”
KVA initially had complete control of the game by starting with a 9-0 run, but Halifax Academy began to get comfortable and started moving the ball underneath the rim. A buzzer-beater from Halifax Academy at the end of the first quarter trimmed their deficit down to 10 points.
Even with KVA’s offense sputtering in the second quarter, Halifax Academy proved to be their own worst enemy with several travelling calls that gave the ball right back to KVA. The gap between the two programs remained at 10 points as both regrouped in the locker rooms during the intermission.
Dickerson said that his team’s reliance on perimeter shooting late in the first quarter that carried over into the second quarter disrupted their momentum and reminded his players at halftime that dominating in the paint would keep the contest in their favor.
“The main difference was that we weren’t swinging the ball and we weren’t attacking the paint,” Dickerson said. “If we get to the paint, we’re a really good team, but if we stay out at the three-point line, that messes us up a little bit. Halifax Academy just did a great job tonight.”
Halifax Academy carried over their momentum in the second half by cutting their deficit down to five points, but KVA re-established a presence underneath the rim to compliment their three-point shooting, which effectively put the game out of reach for Halifax Academy by the end of the third quarter.
Lewis led KVA in scoring on the evening with 18 points. Holtzman followed Lewis in that category with 13 points while Merritt rounded out the double-digit scorers for KVA in the evening with a total of 12 points.
CCS is next up for KVA in their quest to obtain an NCISAA 1A title. CCS previously defeated KVA in both meetings earlier in the 2020-21 season, but Dickerson is optimistic they can get a win if they stick to a gameplan that can slow down and disrupt their opponent.
“Crossroads is a great team,” Dickerson said. “We’re up for the challenge and I think we’ll have to play very smart basketball. We need to take care of the ball and if we can do that, then maybe we’ll pull one out.”
KVA and CCS will square off for a chance to advance into the Elite 8 of the NCISAA 1A Playoffs on Friday afternoon at 4:30 p.m.