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Hunter, Wilson Christian’s comeback falls short in NCCSA quarterfinals

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The storied career of Wilson Christian Academy varsity boys basketball point guard Zach Hunter, and six other senior teammates, came to an end Thursday night as the Chargers lost 69-55 to Cramerton Christian Academy in the North Carolina Christian School Association 2-A quarterfinals.

Hunter finished the game as the high scorer with 16 points, while also leading his team in rebounds with seven and tying in assists with five. Hunter scored 13 of his 16 in the fourth quarter as he tried to lead his team’s comeback. The Chargers (13-16) were down 45-27 heading into the final quarter, but the goal laid out by first-year head coach Kevin Zander has been for his team to never quit. The Chargers came out and dropped 28 points in the fourth quarter and got as close as 11, but the Crusaders (23-6), led by the athletic Yasheem Kendrick, were able to sustain the offensive outpouring. Kendrick had 10 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter. 

“The problem was that third quarter really put us behind too much, but 28 points in the fourth quarter for us is pretty impressive,” Zander said. “We closed the gap there for a little bit, but we came up a little short.”

Zander felt good about the 9-9 tie at the end of the first quarter, but turnovers began to catch up to his team in the second and third quarters as the Crusaders went on a 36-18 run. WCA finished with 20 turnovers. 

Despite the turnovers, two other players scored in double figures. Senior Brice Murray finished with 13 points, five assists and four steals. Junior Harrison Parker added 14 points, seven steals, three rebounds and two assists. Andrew Blalock was the only other senior to score, with four points and six rebounds. Hunter was thankful he got to lead the Chargers.

“It was a great ride, I spent all four years on varsity and I’ve learned from every senior from each class,” Hunter said. “It’s been a great journey, great teams and everything. We started the season 0-6, we had to learn early that we can never quit. I mean we never gave up on ourselves or the team. That’s been the motto all year is to never quit.”

The Crusaders ended with three players in double figures with Garrett Huffman also finishing with 15 points and EJ Byrd putting in 14 points.

WILSON CHRISTIAN (55)

Murray 13, Parker 14, Hunter 16, Thompson 6, Blalock 4, Melvin 2.

CRAMERTON CHRISTIAN (69)

Huffman 15, Kendrick 15, Byrd 14, Simonds 9, Sparrow 5, Ullman 5, Alexander 2, Oedy 2, Murphy 2.

Score by quarters:

Wilson Christian 9 8 10 28 55

Cramerton Christian 9 19 17 24 — 69

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