PCA boys season ends, girls play in state semifinals

Published 3:12 pm Tuesday, February 21, 2023

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Thursday 8th-seeded Pungo Christian Academy hosted unranked Halifax Academy in the second round of the NCISAA 1A Boys basketball state playoffs. Pungo was without starting point guard Quay Artis due to sickness, leaving the Raiders shorthanded in the backcourt. The Raiders and Vikings played a back and forth first half, with Halifax pulling away in the final minutes to take a 34 – 26 lead at the break. Pungo rallied in the third to pull within one going into the final quarter. The lead continued to change hands until Halifax hit a go ahead layup with 33 seconds to play. Maddox Lee was fouled driving to the basket and hit both free throws to tie the game with 15 seconds left. Halifax missed an open shot, so the game went to overtime.

In OT, Davis Lee hit two back to back three pointers to put the Raiders up four, but the Vikings rallied again to tie with under 30 seconds left. Lee missed an open look for 3 to give the Vikings another last second attempt to win the game, which they missed, to send the game into double OT.

In the second OT, Lee hit a pair of three-pointers to extend the Raiders lead to six. The Vikings pulled to within three and fouled sophomore Evan Woolard with 2.4 seconds left. Woolard made one two free throws to, seemingly put the game out of reach. However, the Raiders made a crucial mistake when guard Brandon Tooley fouled Halifax leading scorer Tyler Cotton on a three-point attempt with .7 seconds left. He made the first two, and tried to purposely miss the third to give the Vikings a chance to tie, but his shot failed to hit the rim and the Raiders ran out the clock for a thrilling 86 – 84 double OT victory which sent PCA to the NCISAA quarterfinals for the first time since 1980.

Maddox Lee led the Raiders with 32 points and eight rebounds. Davis Lee added 23 points and eight rebound. Drew Van Staalduinen had a double- double with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Bo Spencer, who filled in for Artis in the starting lineup, had eight points and a career high six assists. All five Raider starters played 35+ minutes. Maddox Lee played all 40.

On Saturday, the top-seeded Lady Raiders hosted number eight Cape Fear Christian while the boys traveled to Charlotte to take on the top seed and defending state champion United Faith Christian Academy.

The girls rolled past the Lady Eagles, 70 – 43, to advance to their third consecutive NCISAA final four. Reagan Stoop was dominant in the middle with 28 points and seven boards. Ginny Pugh (13) and Abbey Cutler (12) each scored in double figures while Pugh dished out eight assists.

In the boys game, PCA faced a significant size disadvantage dealing with 6’10 junior Isaiah Sutherland. PCA hung around early, holding a two point lead midway through the first quarter. However, United Faith was able to use their size advantage to dominate the Raiders the rest of the way, ending their season in a 115 – 49 loss, with 25 dunks during the game. Artis and Van Staalduinen each had 16 points for the Raiders.

The girls hosted fourth seeded Crossroads Christian Tuesday for a chance to play in the NCISAA State Championship Saturday at Covenant Day school. The Colts dominated the first matchup, 61 – 27, in late January.