Raleigh Christian nearly overcame a 20-point deficit in the final minutes before falling to Greensboro Vandalia Christian 76-63 in the N.C. Christian School Association 2A boys basketball championship at Friendship Christian School on Saturday.
The Eagles trailed by 20 when the game was stopped following an injury to four-year starter Devin Barnes with 5 minutes, 23 seconds remaining. Barnes was transported from the building by medical personnel. There were no updates on his condition in time for this edition.
After the injury, Raleigh Christian scored the next 12 points, but Vandalia (24-9) managed to shut down the rally to win the state title.
“We didn’t shoot the basketball well,” Raleigh Christian coach Ron Allen said. “We got behind because we made a few turnovers we shouldn’t have made. We didn’t quit.”
The Eagles (21-9) trailed 33-28 at the half.The third quarter, however, proved to be Miller time with Vikings forward Houston Miller scoring 13 of his team-high 20 points. Miller converted a 3-pointer, buried a short baseline jumper while swarmed by defenders, and scored in transition to set up his 3-point play that yielded a 55-39 lead with eight minutes to play.
Raleigh Christian did not score through nearly three minutes to close the third quarter.
“We knew we had to play help-defense, and at the same time, we had to switch off,” Vandalia Christian coach Tommy Adams said. “Every time they drove in the paint, we wanted to make sure that everybody knew where they were.”
“Everybody was worried about Devin. The kids came back and they just didn’t quit,” Allen said. “My hat’s off to (Vandalia). They really played well. They made their shots. I just wished we’d made some shots.”
Vandalia Christian pivot man Ethan Willis finished with 19 points. Vikings teammates T.C. Daniels and Aaron Whitman added 11 and 10, respectively.
The Eagles, in their first state final since a 2004 triumph, made 11 of 15 free-throw attempts while Vandalia Christian converted 24 of 38 attempts, including 29 in the fourth quarter.