Warriors topple TCCS

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 13, 2006

MERRY HILL – As upsets go, this one has become routine.

Lawrence Academy knocked off Terra Ceia Christian School for the third consecutive year here Tuesday night.

The Warriors put together a defensive showcase and got double-digit scoring from three players to upset the Knights 63-46 in a Tarheel Independent Conference contest.

“I think we had an awesome defensive effort,” first-year Lawrence coach Tommy Tripp said. “We only had 10 turnovers and were able to get 14 steals.”

The game didn’t start well for the Warriors as Terra Ceia rushed out to a 12-2 advantage and held a 15-8 lead with 3:34 to play in the first quarter.

From there, however, it was all Lawrence Academy as the Warriors rallied to take the lead in the closing minutes of the quarter and never looked back.

The Warriors rolled off six straight from Alex Hodges and Michael Cseko, but a three-pointer by Hendrick Van Dorp pushed the TCCS lead back to seven.

The Warriors, however, came right back, scoring the next seven points and 11 of the next 15 to grab the advantage for the first time in the game.

Cseko’s putback with six seconds to play in the first quarter gave Lawrence a 19-18 lead, their first of the contest.

“Gray (Harrell) put pressure on the ball and when they tried to feed it inside, Judd (Whitehead) was there,” Tripp said of the team’s defensive effort in the second part of the first quarter. “They shot a lot of three’s and, thankfully, they weren’t hitting them.”

From there, the Warriors began building on the advantage as Judd Whitehead hit back-to-back shots to open the second quarter and extend the Lawrence lead to 23-19.

The Knights, however, showed why they are the early favorites to repeat as TIC champions, storming back to get within two (29-27) when Van Dorp buried a field goal with 2:44 to play in the half.

The Warriors got a triple from Gray Harrell and a deuce from Mashall Ellis at the buzzer to lead 34-27 at the half.

The second half started with the Knights getting a pair of free throws from Hunter Davenport and a hoop by Bradley Van Staalduinen to get Terra Ceia back to within three (34-31).

Still holding that three-point advantage, the Warriors rolled off shots from Whitehead, Cseko and Hodges interrupted only by two free throws from Van Dorp to edge ahead 42-35.

The Warriors then closed the third with consecutive hoops by Whitehead and Harrell to take a 47-38 lead into the final period.

The fourth quarter started well for the Warriors with Whitehead scoring and then Harrell getting a bucket and a free throw to push Lawrence ahead 53-38.

Van Staalduinen then hit back-to-back baskets to trim the lead to 10 (52-42) with 6:34 to play.

From that point, the Warriors scored the next three hoops and a free throw to lead 59-42 as they took the win.

The win was key for the Warriors after a disappointing setback at Northeast Academy Friday night.

“If you look at our shot chart, most of our shots tonight were in the paint,” Tripp said. “Friday night, we shot 33 percent and you don’t win many games like that.”

Asked about having the Warriors back in the thick of the conference race (all teams in the league have at least one loss), Tripp said he was pleased to be part of the battle.

“I’d rather be 3-0, but 2-1 is awesome,” he said. “We still have some things to improve on, but the guys are gelling and want to play together.

“I believe we can make a difference in the conference if we continue to pay our game,” he closed.

The Warriors take the hardwood again tonight (Thursday) when they travel to Cape Hatteras for a non-conference outing.

Lawrence (63): Michael Cseko n 19, Judd Whitehead n 17, Gray Harrell n 12, A. Hodges n 8, M. Ellis -7, J. Harrell, B. Maxwell

Terra Ceia (46): Bradley Van Staalduinen n 18, Hendrick Van Dorp n 11, D. Joyner n 8, H. Davenport n 6, G. Van Essendelft n 3, C. Carr, P. Snow, J. Smith