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BCA boys roll in league championship game

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It’s the first conference tournament title in 10 years for Royals

  By Bob Sutton

Special to The Alamance News

Some Burlington Christian Academy players pointed to the wall above the bleachers after Friday night’s boys’ basketball game.

They were drawing attention to a banner that lists the school’s conference tournament champions. That’s about to have an addition – “2023”

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The top-seeded Royals took control early and defeated second-seeded Carolina Friends 62-44 in the championship game of the Tri-TAC Conference Tournament.

“It feels good to put a ‘2023’ on the banner,” senior Connor Johnson said. “First one in 10 years, so that’s nice.”

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BCA (16-7) will take a six-game winning streak into the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association’s Class 2-A state playoffs next week. The Royals also will want to savor what happened in the conference tournament.

“It’s a lot of hard work put into it,” coach Eric Dudley said. “This means the world to these guys and to myself. We’re definitely really appreciative of where we’re at.”

BCA put together a stellar effort in the tournament final, aided by draining four 3-pointers in building an 18-9 lead less than seven minutes into the game.

“Ball movement and defense, for sure,” senior Jackson McBride said of keys. “To get this one is really special.”

The margin grew to 18 points on Nate Brown’s three-point play before BCA settled for a 32-19 halftime edge. The Royals’ strong third quarter thwarted any notion of a comeback from Carolina Friends (14-8), which entered the game on a three-game winning streak. The Quakers and Royals split two regular-season games, both winning at home.

“We thought defense would set the tone,” said Dudley, whose team withstood first-half foul trouble.

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Johnson scored 13 points off the bench, Brown posted 12 points and McBride had 11 points.

“We really just played together,” Johnson said. “It was a huge turnaround from the last time we played them. We shot a lot better.”

McBride, a transfer from Williams, relished the title scene. Dudley said McBride helps because of his defense and leadership.

“I came here two years ago in search of trying to be a better basketball player,” McBride said. “We have a lot of egos on this team, and I try to keep them together.”

Having won the Tri-TAC regular season and tournament, there’s still work to do.

“We had three goals,” Johnson said. “We’re still chasing states. Two down, one to go.”

In the girls’ final, The O’Neal School defeated Trinity School of Chapel Hill and Durham 55-23.

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