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March 4, 2014

CLASS A BORDEN SECTIONAL: Favorites win easily at Borden

Rock Creek, CAI advance to face tougher semifinal matchups

BORDEN — Tuesday night’s opening round of the Class A Borden Sectional went without any major surprises as favored Rock Creek Academy and Christian Academy each advanced to Friday’s semifinals with big wins over South Central and New Washington, respectively.

Rock Creek (14-9) will face host Borden (16-4) in the 6 p.m. game Friday, and Christian Academy (15-4) will play Lanesville (13-8) in the nightcap. The Lions fell to defending state champion Borden 68-62 at home on Feb. 8; Lanesville opened its season with a 74-60 win over the sixth-ranked Warriors.



Rock Creek kept the momentum in its favor by playing its favorite brand of basketball — quick and physical — from start to finish, leaving the Rebels in their dust from the get-go.

“I’m pretty happy with the way we played,” Lions coach Chris Brown said. “We gave a pretty lackluster performance on Friday [in a 70-55 regular-season finale against Cannelton], so I’m glad we came out and worked hard and gave a solid four quarters.”

The Lions used an aggressive defense that allowed only three South Central field goals in the first quarter while turning it up big on the offensive end themselves. After four minutes of play, the Lions led 10-2. Five minutes later, they were up 19-8. By the end of the third quarter, they had a 23-point lead at 46-23.

“It’s nice to get that proverbial monkey off your back and get that first win in the tournament,” Brown said. “I think everybody kind of got rid of the butterflies and all the hype and anticipation that comes with sectional time.”

Rock Creek junior guard Will Brown led all scorers with 17 points, including four 3-pointers. Junior T.J. Hayes came off the bench to score 11 for the Lions, and junior Gedeon Nzombi scored eight and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.

“The scoring, I felt like, was fairly balanced, and when we’re playing unselfishly like that, we’re a pretty good team,” Brown said.

No player for the Rebels (6-17) hit double figures, but junior Zachary Goodwin scored nine to lead his team.



Christian Academy took advantage of eight first-quarter turnovers by New Washington, capitalizing on each one and blasting off to a 23-5 lead in the first eight minutes Tuesday, and despite playing evenly for the rest of the game, that huge and early deficit became the mountain that the Mustangs couldn’t cross.

New Washington connected on just two field goals in the first quarter, but only took five shots. The rest of their trips down the floor ended in traveling calls, double-dribbles and errant passes. Warrior junior Aaron Eldridge scored 16 of his game-best 25 points in that first period of play.

The Mustangs (6-16) won the remainder of the game — outscoring Christian Academy 41-38 over the next three quarters — but the first-quarter damage was too much to overcome. The closest New Washington could ever get was 10 points. That was at 56-46 with only 30 seconds left on the game clock.

“We’re happy to survive,” said Warriors’ coach Steve Kerberg. “New Washington is one of the most improved teams I’ve seen all season. They’re a young group and they’ve been playing really well lately. I think we played really well tonight in parts of the game, especially in that first quarter. There were periods where we didn’t do well, but that’s sectional basketball for you. There’re gonna be ups and downs and there’re gonna be runs like that. We’re just happy to be moving on.”

New Washington was led in scoring by a pair of freshmen, forward Zach Moore and guard Caleb Ellison, who scored 12 apiece. Moore also had a team-high nine rebounds. Junior James Clemons scored 11 and had four steals and three assists for the Mustangs, who lose one senior to graduation.

Shelby Rose had a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds for Christian Academy.

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