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RTCA State Runner-up

RTCA State Runner-up RTCA State Runner-up

The Robert Toombs Christian Academy Crusaders basketball team played their way into the GISA State AA Championship last week by defeating Brentwood Academy on Friday. That set them up against Strong Rock Christian on Saturday for the title. RTCA played solid, but the height advantage of the Lions of Strong Rock was too much. Both the Final 4 and the State Championship games were held at Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus.

The Lions starters were 6'9”, 6'8”, 6'6”, 6'4” and 6'2”; and with that advantage, and some questionable calls on RTCA's big man Tyler Buggs, putting him in foul trouble all game, it was a tough road for the Crusaders in the Championship game.

RTCA vs. Brentwood

In the Final 4 on Friday the Crusaders went up against Brentwood Academy and came away with the big win. Jashaun Powell had his biggest game of the year, dropping 28 points to lead RTCA as he stepped up when MK McBride got into some foul trouble.

RTCA got on the board first on a fast break by Powell, and then he added another basket for an early 4-0 lead. MK McBride made it 6-0, and then Buggs put continued from page

RTCA on top 8-0 with a tipin. Brentwood finally got on the board to make it 8-2 with 6:00 minutes left in the first period.

Powell and Buggs added two more basket for a 12-2 lead as RTCA was pulling ahead early in this game. Brentwood went on a run to close it to 12-8, but with 1:10 left it was 17-8 after a three-pointer by McBride.

By the end of the first period the score was 17-10 with RTCA out in front.

In the second baskets by Powell and Justin Walker put the Crusaders on top 24-10 as they were taking control. Hayden Kight made it 27-10 with a three, and then Buggs pushed it to 29-10 and forced a timeout by Brentwood.

With just a couple minutes to go in the half RTCA was well out in front, 38-16. They kept working, and at the end of the first half RTCA was up 40-18.

Brentwood went on a run in the third as they closed it to 44-29 halfway through the period. But Powell hit a jumper, and Walker added a basket as RTCA led 50-33 with 2:30 left in the third. By the end of the third period Brentwood had closed in on the lead, but RTCA was on top 52-39.

Early in the fourth another fast break basket by Powell and then a runner by McBride made it 56-39. A three from Brentwood made it 57-42 with just over six minutes left in the game. Powell added a three and Buggs tipped one in for the Crusaders, giving them a 62-44 lead.

It was 69-48 with four minutes left as RTCA had pushed the lead back out to 21 points. With 2:44 left Powell fouled out of the game, but RTCA was in command at this point. Brentwood did go on a late run as they hit a few threepointers and closed it to 73-62 with one minute left in the contest.

RTCA held on to win 78-67 over the War Eagles of Brentwood. RTCA was led by Powell with 28 points, Buggs added 18 points, McBride posted 14 and Walker scored 11 in the win.

The win moved RTCA into the State Championship the next day against Strong Rock.

RTCA Head Coach Adam Callaway said, “Jashaun only had two points in our last game, but he stepped up for us today. I am proud of these guys, just keeping their composure, just playing hard, and never laying off even with the big lead.”

RTCA vs. Strong Rock

The Crusaders met up with the Lions of Strong Rock from Locust Grove for the Championship. RTCA may have been outsized, but they never backed down and they fought hard underneath the basket. The Lions got the scoring started with a threepointer, but Powell hit a runner in the lane, and then a three from McBride put RTCA on top 5-3. Powell made it 7-3, and then it was 9-6 with RTCA on top after another good move by Powell with just over five minutes to go in the first period.

The Lions tied the game at 9-9, and then they took the lead, 13-11 with just over three minutes to go in the first. It was 18-13 with 1:55 on the clock, but a three from Walker closed that to 18-16. But by the end of the first period, the score was 26-18 with Strong Rock on top. RTCA would challenge, but never take the lead back in the game. McBride made it 26-21 with a three at the start of the second, but with 6:15 left in the half it was 31-23 as Strong Rock kept getting baskets from the big guys underneath. Walker made it 31-27 with a floater in the lane, and then Powell got one to fall, but the Lions continued to answer, and RTCA could not get the defensive stops that they needed to close the gap.

With 3:55 on the clock the score was 37-31. They pushed it to 41-31, and then a basket and a three for the Lions and with two minutes left in the first half they had gone ahead, 46-31 which forced a timeout by the Crusaders.

RTCA got one more basket before the end of the half by Walker, but it was 46-33 at halftime with Strong Rock in front.

Powell got things going in the third with a threepointer, but the Lions hit two of their own as they led 52-38. With 3:30 left in the third the Lions were up 59-40.

RTCA did go on a small run as they got baskets from Powell and McBride and a three from Kight to close it to 63-50. Another basket by Powell made it 63-52 and then McBride closed it to 63-55 at the end of the third period.

In the fourth the Lions pulled back out to a 69-55 lead before a three from Mc-Bride made it 69-55. With 5:20 left in the game Buggs fouled out of the game, he had been on the bench and kept from being a factor in this game due to foul trouble.

It was 71-60 with five minutes left, and then by the three minute mark the Lions were pulling back away and led, 77-62.

There had been a lot of trash talk throughout the game, but near the end the Lions really started to lay it on, and with just a minute to go a technical was finally called on one of their big men. They added to that after the final buzzer with taunting and some extracurricular activities.

The final score of the game was 83-68 with the Lions taking the win and the State Championship with RTCA as the runnerup. RTCA was led by Mc-Bride with 26 points, Powell added 25 points, and Walker scored 14.

RTCA Headmaster Travis Absher stated, “As good as we played, as hard as we worked all year, these kids have no reason to hold their heads down. I couldn't be prouder of them, what a great group of kids. I know we are disappointed, but we played hard and I know we are going to be hungry come next year.”

MK McBride battles in the paint as RTCA plays for the State AA Championship.Photo by Mike Branch

Justin Walker floats one up and in over the big men of Strong Rock Christian during the State Championship Game.Photo by Mike Branch

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