ROCKINGHAM — The Temple Christian boys and girls basketball teams haven’t faced an opponent since squaring off with South Pointe Christian on Feb. 4.
Despite the long layoff, the Tigers will hit the court today in the Carolina Christian Athletic Association tournament at Scotland Christian in Laurinburg. The tournament was originally scheduled for last week, but the winter storm pushed it back.
The boys team tied with Liberty Christian in Fayetteville for the regular season title and a coin flip was used to determine the top seed in the tournament — won by Liberty. Temple will open the tournament against the winner of Thursday’s matchup between Scotland Christian and Grace Christian at 7:30 p.m. Liberty will take on the winner of Antioch Christian-Columbus Christian contest at 4:30 p.m.
Temple boys coach John Byrd believes it was beneficial for his team to receive the 17-day layoff so it could re-focus after it lost to South Pointe in the regular season finale.
“It’s been good actually because a couple of our kids were sick against South Pointe,” Byrd said. “It has allowed us to regroup, get healthy and regain some energy. I hope it translates.”
The Tigers are 17-5 overall and were 9-1 in conference play. Kurth Nelson is averaging a double-double — 20.4 points and 12.5 rebounds — this season. Cuentin Bridges is adding 16.1 points and 7.6 rebounds, Greg Hagins is chipping in with 12.8 points a game.
The Temple girls team earned the CCAA regular season championship with a perfect 8-0 mark. The team is 15-1 on the season and it’s lone loss came at home to Marlboro Academy.
“We’ve looked sharp in practice the last two days and I hope we can carry it over to tomorrow,” Temple girls coach Broderick Hair said. “We put in a couple of new plays. I’m really excited about the next game and I think our chances to win the tournament are really good.”
Temple will face the winner of the Antioch Christian-Columbus Christian clash at 6 p.m. today.
Claire Jordan, like Nelson, is averaging a double-double this season. Jordan is scoring 18.4 points and 11.8 rebounds a game. Charis Byrd is chipping with with 15.8 points and Joanna Gould is adding 8.2 points a contest.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson may be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14 or on Twitter @scgolfer.