Christ Church Episcopal School’s Micah Banks (3) goes up for a shot during a basketball game against McCormick High at CCES on Wednesday.
When it was over and the final was Christ Church 68, McCormick 40, they were hardly significant. But at the time, they were, as Cavaliers coach R.J. Beach described them, “backbreakers.”
Christ Church led Wednesday night’s Class A first-round playoff game 10-5 in the first quarter when Drennan Quattlebaum chased down an offensive rebound kept it from going out of bounds and fired it back to Micah Banks, who nailed a 3-pointer.
Shortly after that, Braxton Westfield battled for an offensive rebound and scored on a put-back.
Quattlebaum, Westfield and Van Boyett led the charge in providing the Cavaliers with extra possessions, leading to second shots they were converting as they built their advantage.
The Cavaliers were just as busy at the defensive end, stifling the Chiefs and taking a 32-14 halftime lead.
“We played with a lot of energy,” Beach said. “Our defense has definitely been our strength all year. It was a good defensive half.”
Such hustle has helped to define a group that has made great strides. Christ Church lost all five starters from a team that finished fourth in Region 2-A a year ago. This season, the Cavaliers finished second and they’re 20-4.
“I’m real proud of these guys,” Beach said. “A lot of them were playing JV a year ago.”
Banks, a sophomore, scored 25 points for the Cavaliers, who will play on the road in the second round Friday against defending state champion C.A. Johnson.
The Christ Church boys team had a couple of starters playing sick. The girls team, which began the night at McCall Fieldhouse with a 71-17 win over Whitmire, was minus four players — including two starters — because of a virus that hit the team.
Cavaliers coach Toni Leopard said the bug hit her, too, and she wasn’t sure she’d make it to the game.
“Even Shayla wasn’t feeling good, but it didn’t show out there,” Leopard said.
No, it would have been hard to tell Shayla Bennett, the Cavaliers’ junior sensation, was feeling a little ragged. She scored 35 points, including six 3-pointers — one of them from just inside halfcourt that beat the buzzer before halftime.
Bailey Breazeale added 13 points for top-ranked Christ Church (23-2), which stretched its winning streak to 16 games. The Cavaliers will host Lamar in the second round Thursday night.
Leopard said she was just glad her under-the-weather gang moved on.
She smiled and said, “That’s what the playoffs are anyway, right? Survive and advance.”
Christ Church 68, McCormick 40
CHRIST CHURCH (68): Quattlebaum 5, Thompson 8, Micah Banks 25, Mangum 3, Boyett 4, Westfield 7, Pryor 6, Jackson 2, G. Ferrell 4, Taylor 4.
McCORMICK (40): Jamaul Brown 10, Durant 1, Garrett 9, Zingo Wideman 17, Cunningham 3.
Record: Christ Church 20-4.
Christ Church 71, Whitmire 17
CHRIST CHURCH (71): Haywood 2, Pieper 8, Kipper 2, Shayla Bennett 35, Cook 8, Geary 2, Boyett 1, Bailey Breazeale 13.
WHITMIRE (17): Sanders 2, Means 2, Glymph 8, Roche 3, Swain 2.
Record: Christ Church 23-2.