Raiders advance in state tournament

Published 7:28 pm Friday, February 16, 2024

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PCA Athletics

Pungo Christian Academy started the NCISAA state tournament with a trip back to league rival Ridgecroft for the boys, while the 8th seeded girls hosted unseeded Halifax Academy.

In the girls game, the Lady Raiders found themselves in a back and forth battle all night. Each team struggled to score as the game was tied at 30 with just over three minutes left. Halifax added a free throw and a bucket to make it 33 – 30. With the season on the line, Ginny Pugh pulled up for three and sank it to tie the game at 33. Alden Taylor and Julia Rouse were fouled on the Raiders next two possessions and made all four free throws for a four point lead with 20 seconds left. Pugh stole the ball and finished with a layup to seal the 39-33 victory. Pungo (16-11) advances to the state quarterfinals for the fourth consecutive season to face #1 overall seed Victory Christian Center School in Charlotte at 2 p.m. Saturday.

The boys matched up with Ridgecroft for the fourth time in four weeks, after losing the first three. Going into the night, Ridgecroft owned a seven game win streak over the Raiders and had not lost to Pungo at home since the 2019 – 2020 season. Each team traded buckets for the first three quarters before PCA went on an 8 – 0 run midway through the fourth quarter for a six point lead thanks to two timely three point buckets from Bo Spencer. Ridgecroft hit a 3-pointer, but the Raiders held firm and would not give up the lead in the final minutes, holding on for a 70 – 62 win to advance to their second consecutive NCISAA quarterfinals. PCA improved their record to 23 – 5 and will now also travel to Charlotte to take on top seeded United Faith Christian Academy Saturday.

Earlier in the week, the Rams prevailed, 57-53, to win their fourth straight Tar Heel Independent Conference tournament championship. Quay Artis led the Raiders with 16 points. Austin Garrish added 13 and 9 boards. Maddox Lee, the Raiders leading scorer, was held to just 12 points in the loss.
PCA advanced to the title game with a 77-69 overtime win over Lawrence Academy as Lee matched his career high of 35 points. Bo Spencer was the only other Raider in double figures with 12. Artis led the team with six assists and Drew Van Staalduinen pulled down 13 rebounds.

Lee was named TIC Player of the Year in the post-game awards ceremony. Van Staalduinen and Artis joined him on the All-Conference team while Lee and Spencer were each named to the All-Tournament team. Head Coach Logan Van Staalduinen was named TIC Coach of the Year for the third consecutive season.

Allison Sawyer and Ginny Grace Pugh were named to the girls All-Conference team.