Temple catches fire in semifinal win
By Shawn Stinson
LAURINBURG — In the video game NBA Jam when a player hits three consecutive baskets, the announcer claims “he’s on fire.”
That is what happened to Temple Christian’s Cuentin Bridges against Scotland Christian Friday night.
Minus the announcer’s voice.
Bridges drained three 3-pointers in the first quarter, en route to a game-high 19 points to lead the Tigers to a 61-31 victory over the Saints in the semifinals of the Carolina Christian Athletic Association tournament.
“I was worried because I got here so late,” Bridges said. “I was a little anxious of how I would be, but just knowing that my team has your back helped me. After we started the game I just went with it.”
Bridges wasn’t the only one with a hot hand from beyond the arc in the first half. Greg Hagins added two 3-point field goals and Russ Byrd connected on one of his own for the Tigers.
“I think the turning point in the game was when Cuentin hit those 3s,” Temple coach John Byrd said. “They started dropping their heads.”
In addition to finding its touch from the outside, Temple played stifling defense against Scotland, allowing two points in the second quarter to build a 36-10 halftime advantage.
“What I can say about these kids, they are a good group of kids,” John Byrd said. “Sometimes I am along for the ride. When they get on the court, it’s their desire to win, especially defensively, that I’m impressed with.”
Temple will battle Liberty Christian at 2:30 p.m. today at Scotland Christian for the CCAA championship. The teams split the season series.
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson may be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14 or on Twitter @scgolfer.
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