02/24/10 — Defending champs survive

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Defending champs survive

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on February 24, 2010 1:46 PM

A year later the experience Wayne Country Day gained during its run toward a state championship in 2009 is still paying dividends.

Wayne Christian cut a 15-point halftime deficit to six, but the battle-tested Chargers hung on for a 53-43 win in the first round of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association 1-A state playoffs Tuesday evening.

Seventh-seeded Wayne Country Day faces second-seeded United Faith Christian at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem. The Chargers suffered a 59-47 defeat to United Faith on their home floor on Jan. 8.

The Eagles used a 2-3 zone defense to create turnovers, which fueled a 10-2 run to start the second half. Midway through the third quarter Wayne Christian had trimmed a 30-15 halftime margin to 32-25.

"In the second half we turned around and made a good run," said Wayne Christian head coach Lee Price. "We just couldn't get the shots to go in that we needed to. If we could have played two halves like we did in the second half we would have been all right."

Wayne Country Day (15-12) led 38-30 entering the fourth quarter and needed fewer than three minutes to push its advantage to 44-32 on Hannah Pearson's layup.

Kayla Kennedy's 3-pointer with fewer than two minutes to go cut the lead to 48-39 and gave the Eagles one last chance. The Chargers hit 4 of 6 free throws in the final 82 seconds to seal the win.

"With the tough schedule we played, we've played the toughest schedule in 1-A girls' private school basketball," said Wayne Country Day head coach Eric Perry. "In the fourth quarter we're ready for it now. We're going to cause some problems. Nobody is going to want to play our girls."

The Chargers feasted on Wayne Christian turnovers while getting rebounds and second chance opportunities offensively in the first half. The Eagles (12-9) turned the ball over 16 times in the first two quarters and Wayne Country Day had a 22-10 edge in rebounding in the first half.

"That was real big, and it also gave Kim Martell and Hannah Pearson some confidence," said Perry. "I think that was the difference was our girls' rebounding."

Martell paced the Chargers with 15 points and nine rebounds. Catherine Ford contributed 14 points and 10 rebounds. Pearson chipped in 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Hannah Kaler led the Wayne Christian with 16 points. Jennifer Price had 13 points, and Kaitlyn Kosuda pulled down 11 rebounds.