In the waning seconds of a back-and-forth match, the Grace Christian boys basketball team grabbed two key offensive rebounds to seal a 54-51 over Cary Christian.
The win kept the Eagles near the top of the Eastern Plains standings, but it didn’t come easy.
The Knights had a chance to take the lead in the final 10 seconds, but Josh Dixon’s corner 3 rimmed out. Grace Christian had multiple foul shots and got two boards from Nolan Lory and Justin Hegar to prevent a potential game-tying shot.
Missed free throws were a theme for the Eagles as they missed 10 in the final quarter.
“That’s one of our things we’ve struggled with all year, but in major moments, guys step up and make free throws,” said Grace Christian coach DeShannon Morris.
Leonte Mercer paced the Eagles with 19 points and Messiah Pankey had 15. On the losing end, Cary Christian got a balanced effort with seven or more points from Dixon, Noah Holmes, Juan van Schalkwyk and Walker Grove.
The girls game, a 60-17 win for Cary Christian, didn’t take nearly as long to decide the ultimate outcome. The Knights led 29-4 after one quarter thanks to a full-court press that caused turnover after turnover.
Turnovers are detrimental enough, but the Eagles continuously committed live-ball turnovers, leading to easy transition layups and 3s for Cary Christian. Marie Thompson led the Knights with 16 points and Shelby Woods added 14. Olivia Grace Horan led Grace Christian with eight points in a forgettable loss.