Marcus Metcalf and Tracy Whitfield, a pair of seniors, combined for 37 points as the Wayne Country Day turned back a pesky Friendship Christian Academy squad, 75-67, in the semifinals of the N.C. Independent School Athletic Association 2-A playoffs.
Unranked Wayne Country Day (20-11 overall) advances to face to top-seeded Fayetteville Academy.
“It was awesome, it feels so good,” Wayne Country Day head coach David Flowers said after the game.
“They kept fighting, and there’s no quit in this team. We hit shots when we had to hit shots, and the ball bounced our way again. It’s amazing.”
The Patriots and Chargers were tied 9-9 at the end of the first quarter.
Friendship Academy started to find its groove in the second quarter. The Patriots ran out to a 22-11 lead, but the Chargers never panicked. Metcalf, Whitfield, Linwood Grandy, and Jaden Cooper combined to score 16 points in the second quarter, and the Chargers made the score 27-27 at halftime.
“I told them to settle down, it’s was the first half, and we had plenty of time,” Flowers said. “They had a good little run, and we were missing the gimmies. They were amped up for what they were playing for, and they just needed to realize it’s just another game.
“We’re the underdog, and we aren’t supposed to be at this point, so it was good for us to come back.”
Going into the fourth quarter, the Patriots were up 46-43.
At the start of the fourth quarter Wayne Country Day came out hot and built up a 60-51 lead, However, with just over two minutes left in the game, Friendship Christian hit a free to make the score 61-60, but once again the Chargers remained calm, cool, and collected.
Metcalf, Cooper, and Whitfield all drained multiple free throws down the stretch and helped Wayne Country Day reached the NCISSA 2-A State Championship game.
“You make free throws in big situations,” Flowers said. “Our seniors did a terrific job. Jaden stepped up, Tracy hit free throws, and Marcus hit free throws. The guys just kept their composure throughout.
“When they cut it to one it was no problem for us. We came down and hit the free throws.”
One of four Chargers who scored in double figures, Metcalf pumped in a game-high 19 points. Whitfield and Cooper each tallied 18 points, while Grandy finished with 10 points.
“It’s a team atmosphere right now with these guys. There is no individual,” Flowers said. “Everyone has completely bought into what we’re doing and it’s showing.”