Cape Fear Christian Academy split Sandhills Athletic Conference varsity basketball games with visiting Trinity Christian School on Wednesday night, with the Eagles winning the boys game and the Crusaders winning the girls game.
Cape Fear Christian’s boys pulled away in the second half in a 98-72 win over Trinity Christian to remain unbeaten atop the conference and guarantee itself at least a share of the conference’s regular season championship.
“We were able to wear them down,” said CFCA boys coach Steve Mims, Jr. “We’re a pretty deep team. One-through-five, we’re pretty much going to be the same. But 6-10 against their 1-5 tired, we’re going to get them every time. We’ve just learned how to use everybody on our team consistently and play the way we want to play.”
Five players scored in double figures for the Eagles (22-6, 9-0 SAC). Junior Cinque Lemon and sophomore Truman Claytor had 17 points apiece. Junior Tristan Harkins had 16 points. Junior Amari Pearson had 15 points. Junior Jabare Perry had 14 points.
Mims was pleased with the way Pearson and Lemon aggressively attacked the basket, particular in the second half.
“Amare is just a competitor,” Mims said. “And this is Cinque’s first game back. He’s been gone for three or four games. He’s had some issues, not COVID, of course, that he had to get checked out. So, this is his first game back. We haven’t had our full team to today and we’re still missing, like, two. We’ll be fine. It’s good getting full throttle. We want to have our chemistry already rolling by the time we go into the playoffs.”
Mims also liked the effort he saw from Perry on the interior, particularly rebounding.
“We’ve put a lot of time into him,” Mims said. “He came in and it was a little different before. He hadn’t played against this level, this type of competition, this type of size and this type of athleticism. So, initially he had some good games and some bad games, but he’s starting to become more consistent. He’s understanding what his role is with our team and he’s made a huge impact.”
Silla Tako had five points, Paul Tako and Kaleb Siler had four points apiece and Caden Bell and Deshawn Woods had three points apiece.
Junior Cam Oates had 24 points, sophomore Xavier Tubbs had 17 points and sophomore Steven Lassiter had 10 points to lead the Crusaders (8-7, 4-5).
Trinity Christian opened the game on an 8-4 run, prompting Mims to call a timeout. Cape Fear Christian came out of the timeout with 16 unanswered points and led the rest of the way.
The Eagles outscored the Crusaders 23-17 in the first quarter, 19-12 in the second, 26-16 in the third and 30-27 in the fourth.
Trinity Christian won 64-19 over shorthanded Cape Fear Christian in the girls game.
“We were missing two or three key players tonight,” said CFCA girls coach Bobby Lamb. “We had 10 players to dress out and we had people playing the five that had to play one tonight. At the end of the day, I’m very proud of the team. Last team we played this team, we didn’t score as many points and they scored more points. And we were able to beat their press at times. We’ve just got to try to get better and get ready for Northwood Temple on Friday night.”
Sophomore Meredith Taylor led the Eagles (4-12, 0-7) with nine points.
Leah Brannon had five points. Laney Trainer had three points. Reyna Johnson had two points.
Cape Fear Christian was missing two of its leading scorers, junior Gracie Byrd and freshman Ella John Dupree, due to injury.
Senior Lavariah Armstead and junior LeAsia Matthews had 10 points apiece to pace the Crusaders (11-4, 8-0).
The Crusaders outscored the Eagles 20-0 in the first quarter, 12-8 in the second, 23-5 in the third and 9-6 in the fourth.
The CFCA junior varsity boys team trailed 31-22 at the end of the first quarter but rallied for a 74-69 win as Darris Simmons scored 35 points. Zeke Brock had 26 points, Tyler Henderson scored nine and Jackson Bolton added four.
Michael Ross scored 37 for the Trinity JV.
Cape Fear Christian ends the regular season at home against conference rival Northwood Temple Academy on Friday. In the varsity boys game, CFCA can clinch the conference title outright with a win, but Northwood Temple (22-7, 8-1) could take a share of the conference with a win.