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With senior McKenna Griffin leading the way, the Wilson Christian varsity girls basketball team displayed its quality of depth in downing Wilmington Christian 57-42 in the semifinals of the North Carolina Christian School Association 2-A tournament.
The tourney host Lady Chargers, the No. 1 seed from the East Region, will face West No. 1 and defending state champion Alamance Christian in Saturday’s championship game at 3 p.m.
Wilson Christian, now 23-6, took control in the second quarter Friday, holding the Lady Patriots (19-6) to just five points on the way to building a 32-20 halftime lead.
Griffin dropped in a game-high 18 points to go with 15 rebounds as she extended the high school careers of herself and fellow seniors Christy Jones, Caitlyn Barnes and Grace Reams to their ultimate conclusion.
“I think she realizes what’s going on and the gravity of the situation,” Wilson Christian head coach Brian Trull said of Griffin, who had a team-high 12 points in Thursday’s quarterfinals win over Faith Christian of Ramseur. “She wants to win and I think she understands what it takes to do it.”
Griffin had plenty of help from many sources, including Jones, who had eight points and 10 rebounds. Juniors Ashley Hartsfield and Olivia Vick each added seven points while Barnes tossed in six points. Vick had five assists. All nine of the Lady Chargers that played scored at least two points.
“We’re hard to defend when we have that many different people that can contribute,” Trull said. “You can’t stop one person on any given night because some other people will step and contribute.”
That made a difference late in the game when Wilmington Christian didn’t have the stamina to make a run.
“That was important tonight because we had a lot more depth than they did,” Trull said.
Now the Lady Chargers are back in the NCCSA championship game for the first time since 2016 as they seek their seventh overall title and first since 2014. Standing in their way is a 23-1 Alamance Christian team that owns a 38-26 victory over Wilson Christian in the Charger Christmas Classic way back on Dec. 7 on the very floor Saturday’s final will be played, as well as a 51-43 win in Graham on Feb. 12.
The Lady Warriors drilled Union Grove Christian of Lexington 40-19 in the first semifinal Friday, which didn’t tell Trull or the Lady Chargers anything they didn’t already know about Alamance Christian.
“Their matchup today wasn’t competitive so there really wasn’t anything to see,” he said. “We know what we’re going to see and we know what we have to do.”
WILMINGTON CHRISTIAN (42)
Bradshaw 15, Davenport 10, Leggett 9, Ke 5, Rickard 3, Myles.
WILSON CHRISTIAN (57)
Griffin 18, Jones 8, Hartsfield 7, Vick 7, Barnes 6, Gossett 4, Tant 3, Carnes 2, Reams 2.
Score by quarters:
Wilmington Chr. 15 5 13 9 — 42
Wilson Christian 13 19 12 13 — 57