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The top-seeded St. Stephens Indians boysâ€™ basketball team advanced to the second round of the 24th annual Catawba Valley Classic with a 70-42 victory over eighth-seeded South Caldwell in the opening game of the tournament.
â€śIt was a good team effort,â€ť said head coach Gary Bowne. â€śWe had good balance. The kids played hard. The bench finally contributed in the second half like we wanted them to in the first half. They improved and made adjustments at halftime. We have to turn around and play tomorrow. We are in the winnerâ€™s bracket, and we like it. â€ś
The win came despite an incredible performance by South Caldwell guard Thomas Redding, who scored 19 points in the game.
In the opening moments of the first quarter, the Indians garnered an early 17-2 lead. Forward Harrison Bowne led his team with six points in the quarter.
No. 8 South Caldwell cut the lead down to 12 with three points from Redding and free throws from Brian Bowan. However, it was a 19-7 lead for St. Stephens after the first quarter.
Despite strong defense from the Indians in the opening quarter, South Caldwell found ways to score. Scores came in the form of four 3-pointers, as Redding connected twice, while Josh Evans and Jordyn Propst connected on one each.
Redding continued his hot shooting from 3-point territory in the third quarter. He made two more 3-pointers and also added two free throws, as he helped to power his team.
Equally strong was Harrison Bowne for the Indians, who scored eight of his game-high 20 points in the third quarter. Dillon Spencer and Morgan McLeod added ten points each in the game.
In the end, the Indians rekindled their defensive spark from the opening quarter and forced multiple turnovers. Those turnovers enabled them to pull away and outscored South Caldwell 24-9 in the final stanza.
â€śI loved our defensive intensity,â€ť said coach Bowne. â€śWe have to improve our offense by tomorrow. The little things, we will improve and work on. We will go from there.â€ť
The Indians meet Newton-Conover tonight in the second round at 7:30 p.m., while the Spartans play against Bunker Hill at 4:30 p.m. Both games will be at Catawba Valley Community College.
Newton Conover 54, bunker hill 49
In what was the best game of the night, Newton-Conover pulled out a hard fought victory over Bunker Hill, 54-49.
With 20 seconds left in the game, Newton-Conoverâ€™s Austin Adams and Kei-Shea Sims forced a steal. Sims converted the turnover into points to give Newton-Conover a 50-49 lead in a back-and-forth fourth quarter.
On Bunker Hillâ€™s ensuing possession, Sims collected another steal and Dorian Shuford scored to give Newton-Conover a 52-49 lead.
From there N-C held on to win 54-49.
The game was evenly matched in the early going, but Newton-Conover applied serious ball pressure to help take a 31-16 halftime lead.
Bunker Hillâ€™s Delano Loritts scored eight unanswered points to help lift the Bears back into the game.
With 6:30 remaining in the fourth quarter, Loritts tied the game at 37-37 after he converted a Walker Mehl steal into two points. Moments later, Lorittsâ€™ basket gave the Bears their first lead since the early going, 39-37.
Bunker Hill eventually led by as many as six in the fourth, but it wasnâ€™t enough as Newton-Conover marched back.
Dorian Shuford led the Red Devils in victory with 19 points. Nick Carter added 16 points.
Loritts led Bunker Hill with 18 points and Walker Mehl added eight points.
Alexander Central 66, Maiden 32
Maiden got off to a slow start and never could recover despite a hot shooting night from Jason Gantt, who scored 15 points for the Blue Devils.
Alexander Centralâ€™s zone defense was tough against Maiden, who had a hard time trying to penetrate it. The Cougars also had plenty of second chance shots on offense, collected steals and turnovers by the bucket on route to the victory.
Daniel Rauscher led Alexander Central with a game-high 16 points.