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Terra Ceia claims fourth TIC title in five years

The Terra Ceia Knights continue to add to its trophy case with a decisive 51-33 win over Pungo Christian Academy in the Tarheel Independent Conference Championship on Saturday evening at Lawrence Academy.

The Knights’ defense was the story again. After ending the first quarter with a 16-13 lead, Terra Ceia didn’t allow more than 8 points in the remaining three frames.

Gunner Couch led the Knights with 22 points, going 7-for-13 (58%) from the field and 4-for-7 from long range.

Matt Van Staalduinen added 12 points for the Knights, while Duncan Edwards hit a couple of 3’s and had eight total points. Bryson Bunch came up big with seven rebounds and Alex Van Staalduinen grabbed six despite being in a bit of foul trouble on the evening.

Wilson Sawyer led the Raiders with 12 points, while Miller Lee added 10.
Despite the loss, Pungo’s Lee picked up an All-Conference selection, while Sawyer and Brent Benson collected All-Tournament honors.

Pungo head coach Mart Benson also won the TIC Coach-of-the-Year award, which is fitting for it being Mart Benson’s last year coaching the Raiders.

Matt Van Staalduinen was honored with the TIC Conference Player-of-the-Year award, as well as All-Tournament.

Couch was honored with the TIC tournament MVP, and also made the All-Conference team.

While the Knights (25-3) came away from the TIC tournament championship, extending its winning streak to 22 consecutive games, the NCISAA didn’t do Terra Ceia any favors.

The Knights will be traveling two hours to Henderson to face Kerr-Vance Academy (11-9) in the first-round of the state playoffs. The winner of the contest will have to play No. 2 seeded Greenfield (27-6) in Wilson.

Pungo (19-6) will also have to travel. They head to Wilson to take on Community Christian (12-16) Tuesday.

While both the Lady Knights and Lady Raiders fell short of the TIC title in the conference tournament, both will host playoff games Tuesday evening.

The Lady Raiders (18-7) host Albemarle (4-17), and Terra Ceia’s girls (10-11) will play at home against Community Christian (5-16).

All playoff games will begin promptly at 6 p.m.