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NCISAA PLAYOFFS

Knights a win away from 5th state crown

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RALEIGH — The Greenfield School varsity boys basketball team set a school record Friday night, but the Knights aren’t done yet.

With a 71-50 victory over Victory Christian of Charlotte in Friday’s North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A semifinals at North Raleigh Christian Academy, Greenfield won its 32nd game, breaking the mark held by the 2004-05 and 2005-06 teams. Both of those Knights editions, however, did something the current group wants — win a state championship. 

Top-seeded Greenfield (32-4), which has four NCISAA 1-A titles but none since 2006, has a chance for a fifth Saturday against No. 3 Northwood Temple of Fayetteville, a 63-62 upset winner over No. 2 and defending champion Trinity Christian of Fayetteville in Friday’s second semifinal. Trinity Christian had ended the Knights season in five of the last six years, including the 2014 and 2018 championship games. Greenfield defeated Northwood Temple (20-13) 59-54 on Jan. 5 in Wilson.

The championship game tips off at 2 p.m. at North Raleigh Christian.

The Knights, who scored 101 in Thursday’s quarterfinals win over Crossroads Christian of Henderson, struggled offensively at times Friday. Victory Christian (18-13), the No. 4 seed, had something to do with that, Knights head coach Rob Salter said.

“Victory was as quick as lightning and athletic and they just gave us some problems early,” he said. 

Still, Greenfield led 37-27 at halftime and seemed ready to cruise into the championship game.

“We didn’t come ready defensively in the third quarter,” Salter said.

The Kings limited Greenfield to just nine points in the third quarter and were within striking distance entering the fourth. But, led by junior Collin Guilford, the Knights attacked the Victory Christian press and pulled away for the win.

“I think our depth kind of wore on them in the fourth quarter,” said Salter, before praising Guilford for his play.

“He just attacked in the lane with so much speed,” the Knights coach said of the 6-foot junior guard who led Greenfield with 21 points and five steals.

Fellow junior backcourt mate Jordan Lynch added 12 points while junior forward Trey Pittman netted 14 points.

“It was a complete team win,” Salter said. “A couple of guys didn’t play as well as they have but other guys stepped up and made plays.”

Junior Seth Smith scored 16 points to lead Victory Christian.

 

VICTORY CHRISTIAN (50)

Krebs 3, Smith 16, Coleman 6, Gountopoulos 2, Erwin 9, Patterson 8, Thompson 6.

GREENFIElD (71)

Guilford 21, Lebo 4, Pittman 14, Bailey 6, Outlaw 8, Baker 6, Lynch 12.

 

Score by quarters:

Victory Christian 13 14 14 9 50

Greenfield 17 20 9 25 71

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