Rising up

Crossroads Christian basketball player Trent Willingham (34) goes in for a layup during his team’s 90-85 loss against Raleigh Christian Academy on Tuesday evening.

HENDERSON — A valiant effort by the Crossroads Christian men’s basketball team to pick up their first win of the 2020-21 season on Tuesday fell short, as Raleigh Christian Academy withstood a late charge to win 90-85.

Head coach Scottie Richardson said there have been some issues in developing cohesion on the floor, given how COVID-19 has impacted CCS during the year, but he believes his team’s performance on Tuesday showcased how talented it can be at full strength.

“This was a tough one, but I loved our fight,” Richardson said. “This is the first game I’ve been able to coach with the guys since November, so I was curious to see how we would play. [Raleigh Christian] is a very good team, so I think the fight we showed tonight is something we could play off of going forward.”

CCS and Raleigh Christian began the evening on even footing, with both teams playing solid offense and defense before the gained a slight edge as they each regrouped for the second quarter.

Several mistakes by the Crossroads offense, ranging from missed opportunities around the basket to traveling calls, allowed Raleigh Christian to open up their lead. But they went to the locker room up only 35-31 following a 7-0 run from CCS.

The struggles for the Colts on both sides of the ball initially carried over into the second half, as Raleigh Christian capitalized on more missed baskets and poor defensive possessions by CCS to pull ahead by as many as 15 points.

With junior Andres Prince on the bench with four fouls, senior Asher Fulk and junior Drew Rogers took responsibility in leading an intense scoring attack for CCS that would see them take the lead away from Raleigh Christian on the first play of the fourth quarter.

The Colts did everything possible to wrestle control of the game away from Raleigh Christian, but they found themselves shorthanded late with Prince, Fulk and junior Ryan Adcock all fouling out. That allowed Raleigh Christian to pull away and hold on for the victory.

Rogers led CCS in scoring with 20 points, while Fulk added 18 before exiting the contest. Prince and sophomore Sam Boyd were the other double-digit scorers for CCS, with 13 and 10 points respectively.

Richardson praised his players for the way they have handled themselves through what has been a difficult season, but he believes wins for CCS will start coming as soon as the program finds its rhythm through more practices and games.

“There are two things that I can’t teach, which are work ethic and playing hard,” Richardson said. “You just have to bring those things to the table, and I like where we are right now. We had to get deeper in the bench than we wanted to, but the guys on the second team played very well. We lost some of our composure in the first half, but everyone fought until the end.”

The next opportunity for CCS to pick up its first win of the 2020-21 season will come Thursday when they host Kerr-Vance Academy at 7 p.m.