Carroll Christian pounds Harford Christian, 69-38 Patriots easily take state Christian schools crown

February 25, 1996|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

HAGERSTOWN -- When the Carroll Christian Patriots matched up with Harford Christian for yesterday afternoon's opening tip, they were giving up inches at every spot.

They were quick to shrug them off.

The Patriots started from the outside, then spent the rest of the afternoon slashing to the basket and came away with a 69-38 win over Harford Christian to capture the Maryland Association of Christian Schools state tournament.

It was the first MACS state title for the Patriots, who avenged a 68-55 loss to Harford Christian earlier in the regular season.

On Monday, the Patriots (17-6) won the Potomac Christian Athletic Conference Tournament, their first conference title.

Right from the tip-off yesterday, the Patriots did little wrong. They built a 12-5 lead with two three-pointers from junior guard Casey Davis and another one from Jadon Good.

It forced the top-seeded Eagles, winners of the last three MACS state titles, out of their zone and into man-to-man defense. They simply couldn't keep up.

"We were a lot quicker than they were," said Carroll Christian coach Randy Peterson. "But with their size, they're a dangerous team. We got hot and they didn't."

Good and John Brunson were named to the all-tournament team, with Josh Belcher taking home tournament MVP honors for the Patriots.

Belcher had 15 points in the 63-60 semifinal win over Capitol Christian Academy on Thursday -- including five in the last two minutes to help the Patriots come from behind -- and he added 11 more yesterday.

It was Brunson (22 points) who did most of the damage for the Patriots yesterday, especially in the third quarter. The Patriots had a 36-15 lead at the half and instead of letting the Eagles have any thoughts of getting back in the game, put it away.

Brunson drove the lane on the Patriots' first possession of the half, got fouled and hit two free throws. Midway through the third quarter, he hit two three-pointers and added another long jumper as the Patriots built up a 55-19 lead.

While Harford Christian was forced out of its plan defensively, the Patriots often trapped before settling into their tight zone. The trap caused a handful of turnovers and the zone had the taller Eagles shooting a lot from outside.

Rebounding was never a problem either for the Patriots, who got to all the loose balls first.

"We took better care of the ball," Peterson said. "We shot the ball very well and crashed the boards. Our boys played very well."

It has been quite a season for Peterson, who is in his 15th coaching season and fourth at Carroll Christian. Earlier in the year, he won his 250th career game and now he has his first state title in four tries -- three at Carroll Christian.

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