LAURINBURG — Charis Byrd figured she and her teammates were going to have a rough time against Antioch Christian.
She just didn’t expect to have to rally from a five-point halftime deficit to advance to today’s Carolina Christian Athletic Association championship game.
But that is what Temple Christian did in a 39-32 victory over Antioch Friday night at Scotland Christian.
“We did anticipate it to be a harder struggle because the competition is always stiffer in the tournament,” Byrd said. “We didn’t expect them to be as good as they were.”
The Tigers relied on Claire Jordan to provide most of their offensive punch in the contest, scoring a game-high 24 points. Jordan netted 15 of her team’s 20 first-half points.
“We had to overcome a horrible shooting game,” Temple coach Broderick Hair said. “Our defense and our foul shooting ended up winning it for us.”
Antioch was limited to just seven points in the second half, but still had a chance to pull off the upset down the stretch. With 1:58 remaining in the game, Marissa Capps had the opportunity to pull Antioch to within one point, but missed both free throws.
Temple took advantage of the missed foul shots and iced the game from its own free-throw line. Byrd connected on two free throws and Jordan added a pair of her own for the final margin.
“It was a satisfying win,” Hair said. “Our senior guard, Charis, came through for us with her ball-handling, free-throw shooting and defense.”
Temple will meet Scotland Christian 1 p.m. today for the championship. Scotland, the No. 3 seed, upset Liberty Christian, the second seed. The Tigers swept the season series with the Saints.
“We had close games with them both times we played them,” Hair said. “We cannot play like this tomorrow and win.”
— Sports editor Shawn Stinson may be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 14 or on Twitter @scgolfer.