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4th round in private school state playoffs Tues. night: BCA knocks off defending state champ and crosstown rival TBS


The Burlington School had won three consecutive state championships

By Bob Sutton

Special to The Alamance News

Burlington Christian Academy didn’t look like an underdog when it mattered most.

The Royals had all the late-game answers to overcome three-time defending state champion The Burlington School for Tuesday night’s 81-71 victory in the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association’s Class 2-A quarterfinals.

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BCA scored the game’s final 14 points, powering back from what had been a 14-point deficit early in the second half and a 10-point hole with six minutes to play.

[Story continues below photo.]

“I think most teams would have folded,” BCA coach Eric Dudley said. “I don’t think they thought we would come out swinging like we did.”

The outcome, played in front of a sold-out crowd at TBS, avenged a result from earlier in the month.

“We made sure to stay composed as a whole team,” BCA forward Ian Bush said. “We had to beat this team.”

Charles Chienggen Pur bagged the first points of the game-deciding stretch with a banked-in 3-pointer. Bush put the Royals up with a baseline 3 with 1:52 to play just 20 seconds after TBS standout Zion Walker fouled out.

Isaiah Smith posted the next five points on free throws.

“They stole the game and we couldn’t come back from it,” TBS guard Cam Flippen said. “Things got rough and we couldn’t come back from it.”

BCA (22-6) will travel to fifth-seeded Davidson Day School (21-7) for Thursday night’s semifinal. The winner plays in the state championship game against sixth-seeded Wayne Country Day School or second-seeded Greenfield School at 7:00 p.m. Saturday at Ravenscroft School in Raleigh.

Tuesday’s game was sold-out in minutes after tickets went on sale earlier in the day. Capacity was about 250, with BCA allotted 88 tickets. Yet it was the Royals fans chanting “B-C-A! B-C-A!” as the final seconds ticked off.

“We came out as an underdog,” Smith said. “Nobody believed it, but God did. We had a lot of energy.”

Smith poured in 33 points, Chienggen Pur posted 25 points and Bush had 11. Chienggen Pur, a center, had three second-half 3-pointers.

The Spartans appeared in control, building a 36-26 halftime lead and expanding it. BCA trailed since the opening minute of the second quarter until the last burst.

“Every time they hit us with something, we responded,” Dudley said. “I think we sucked the air out of it with the way we responded.”

Even after BCA pulled even at 67-67 on Chienggen Pur’s first 3 of the fourth quarter at the 3:23 mark, Walker scored on a drive and Jordan Durham’s dunk in transition

Walker’s 20 points and Kaden Hammond’s 17 points led top-seeded TBS (23-13).

It was a strangely opposite ending compared to a February 9 meeting to conclude the regular season. That night, TBS scored the final 10 points to defeat host BCA 50-40.


How they got here …

Both teams won Saturday in third-round games. BCA topped eighth-seeded Gaston Day 74-70 in an afternoon road game with Bush and Chienggen Pur each scoring 17 points and Smith posting 14 points. Gaston Day finished 18-13.

Later, TBS defeated visiting Berean Baptist (of Fayetteville) by 83-51. The Spartans, who had byes in the first two rounds, scored the last 10 points of the first half for a 36-21 lead. Walker tallied 16 of his 19 points in the second half, King Gibson had 11 of his 16 points in the first half, Flippen posted 12 points and Matija Moravcevic had 11 points. Berean Baptist finished 14-19.

BCA had a first-round bye before defeating visiting Friendship Christian 65-39 in last Thursday’s second round with Smith rolling up 22 points. Friendship Christian ended up 14-14.

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