02/20/13 — WCDS withstands CFCA rally

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WCDS withstands CFCA rally

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 20, 2013 1:47 PM

Wayne Country Day took its foot off the gas pedal and nearly stalled.

But the Chargers did just enough to keep pesky Cape Fear Christian in their rear view mirror down the stretch Tuesday evening.

Deshar Thomas and Lee Atkinson combined to drain six free throws in the final 37.6 seconds of an 83-74 victory over the Eagles in opening-round action of the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association Class 1-A boys' basketball playoffs.

Wayne Country Day (17-8 overall) opposes Trinity Christian-Fayetteville in the elite eight Thursday at Covenant Day School in Charlotte. Tip-off is 2:30 p.m.

"We had spoken to three other teams and they all told us if you play your level of basketball, you should be fine," Chargers head coach Terry Jones said. "But you can't go into (the game) underestimating this team because they'll scare the heebie jeebies out of you."

The Chargers held a seemingly comfortable 71-51 advantage early in the final period of play. But Cape Fear's shooters found the mark and constantly chipped away at the deficit as WCDS struggled to finish on either end of the court.

The 10th-seeded Eagles (14-9) stretched the Chargers' defense and got consistent open looks around the perimeter. Senior Goran Cetkovic swished an NBA-range 3-pointer, which ignited a 21-4 run that lasted nearly five minutes.

Cetkovic's offensive putback and Clint Gregory's back-to-back triples closed the gap to 75-72 around the one-minute mark. Cetkovic collected 26 points, while Gregory knocked down 13.

"Coming down at the close of the game, they had a moment where they really caught fire," Jones said. "Number 44 (Cetkovic) is a top-quality player and there were a few (college) coaches in the gym tonight because of him.

"They made a nice run at us, which made us perk up."

Joel Davis pushed WCDS back in front 77-72 with a pair of free throws. A few seconds later, Thomas got fouled by the Eagles' Martynas Macerauskas while the players scrambled for a loose ball near the Chargers' bench.

Tempers flared and the players were separated.

Thomas calmly sank both free throws and WCDS eventually sealed its eighth trip to the elite eight in the last 10 seasons. Thomas finished with 18 points and eight rebounds, while Atkinson just missed a double-double with 27 points and nine assists.

Davis added 20 points.

Jones was pleased that his team kept its composure and didn't encounter serious foul trouble, which has been a concern in recent games. Constant switching on the defensive end created a few issues at times, but allowed key players to stay on the floor.

"Keeping our poise was huge," Jones said.