January 7th – Tonight gave us an early preview between two favorites for the NCISAA 3A State Championship. Coming into tonight’s contest, no. 21 High Point Christian (13-2) was riding a wave of confidence. After finishing in 3rd place at the City of Palms, the Cougars were able to take home the HSOT National Bracket Championship defeating Arlington Country Day (FL). No. 41 Greensboro Day didn’t do bad themselves as they took home the HAECO Invitational Title defeating Northwest Guilford.
The atmosphere was amazing as a fully-packed Alumni Gym gave this game a small college feel as stands were filled to capacity. If the first play from HPCA was any indication; we’d be in for a long night. After Jalen Seegars took a fade away jump shot, UK commit Bam Adebayo came flying through the air for a thunderous 1-hand putback slam. This was nothing new for Greensboro Day as they stayed true to their game plan. It was juniors John Newman III and Travon Mayo who led the way for the Bengals in first quarter as Newman went 4-4 from the field. After one, it was 17-9 GDS.
In the second quarter, it was Adebayo, Graves, and Bogan who gave the Cougars life again. Adebayo was his usual self, rebounding, pushing the break, and finishing above the rim. An and-1 three from Reece Bogan followed by a late three from Boston College commit Ty Graves had the Cougars trailing 30-26 going into the half.
The second half gave us a back and forth battle as GDS answered every HPCA bucket. Throughout the third, the Cougars couldn’t manage to dig into the Bengals constand 6-10 point lead. Junior JP Moorman was able to assert himself a bit as he nailed a step back jumper and converted on multiple drives to the basket. The third quarter ends with GDS leading 49-42 over HPCA.
Adebayo once again went to work in the fourth as he muscled his way through double teams for assists and and-1 buckets. On the opposing end, key baskets by juniors John Newman, Will Dillard, and Jordan Perkins helped keep the Bengals on top. With 1:50 left in the game, GDS is up 58-57. A Cougar bucket gives them the 59-58 lead with 1 minute left in regulation. The Bengals come down with the ball only to throw it away back to the Cougars. In dramatic fashion, the Cougars manage to turn the ball back over leading to a huge and-1 basket by John Newman III. With roughly 30 seconds left in the game, a missed shot by senior Ty Graves gave the Bengals of Greensboro Day the 60-59 win. This was one of the more memorable games of the season so far, and a great preview of the NCISAA 3A Conference!
Players of the Game
HPCA- Bam Adebayo 17 points
GDS- John Newman 20 point,3 rebounds, 3 assists
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