Christian Academy (14-4), ranked No. 8 in Class 1-A, was coming off a 40-point loss to Charlestown — and a big win was just the tonic the Warriors needed.
“We had such a tough game last Saturday; we never responded” Christian Academy coach Steve Kerberg said.
But the blowout loss to Charlestown — after three losses by a total of just six points — had an upside, and Kerberg had all week to exploit it.
“We got their attention,” Kerberg said of his team. “Defensively and offensively, they did everything I asked this week,” he said. “I’m proud of them.”
In a close first quarter, neither team had more than a single-possession lead. Down 4-3, Borden went up 6-4 on a three-point play by Noah Hart with 3:17 left. Christian Academy answered with a basket by Kel’Shawn Knight-Goff to tie it and the Warriors led 9-6 at the end of the quarter.
Christian Academy turned up the defensive pressure to start the second quarter and it paid off. A block by 6-foot-7 senior center Shelby Rose led to a three-pointer by Riley Linnehan.
The Warriors notched another block and a steal over the next four minutes, and on the other end a 3-pointer by Reed put Christian Academy on top 17-8 with 3:08 left in the half.
Leading 17-10, the Warriors got a put back basket by Rose and a 3-pointer by Reed to lead 22-10 with just over a minute remaining. It was 22-11 at the break.
The Warriors got off to a good start in the second half. An assist by Knight-Goff led to a 3-point play by Reed and it was 25-11 at the 7:49 mark. A turnover by Borden on the ensuing possession led to a basket by Reed and the Warriors led by 16 with just a minute gone in the third quarter.
The Warriors continued to keep up the defensive pressure. A steal by Chris Boaz leading to a put back by Knight-Goff to make it 33-13 midway through the third quarter. Reed took over after that — his put-back, then a steal and fastbreak layup gave the Warriors a 37-13 lead with 2:55 remaining in the third quarter.
Borden finally notched its first field goal of the second half when Bryce Moore scored at the buzzer to make it 41-17 going into the fourth quarter. The Braves’ last field goal prior to that was a put-back by Noah Hart with 2:45 left in the first half.
Kerberg had long since gone to his bench in the fourth quarter when freshman guard Noah Williams knocked down a three-pointer to make it 51-20 with 2:30 remaining.
“Our problem was our lack of toughness,” Borden coach Doc Nash said. “We were just soft.”
For the game, Borden (9-5) was led by Caleb Hart’s six points. Christian Academy, meanwhile, had eight players score. Williams added eight points for the Warriors.
Borden (9-5) – Moore 2, Bachman 4, N. Hart 5, Franklin 4, C. Hart 6, McNew 1.
Christian Academy (x-x) – Martin 2, Linnehan 7, Fitzgibbon 2, Knight-Goff 7, Reed 17, Rose 4, Boaz 4, Williams 8.
3-point goals – C. Hart 1, Linnehan 1, Reed 2, Williams 2.