Lipscomb Academy’s boys broke a 12-12 tie after the first quarter and pulled away in the final three periods to take a 59-43 win over Stratford to open District 10-AA play.
“Tonight they were really focused and together,” Lipscomb coach Ritchie Pickens said. “That’s what we’re looking for.”
The two teams traded buckets to start the second half, but Lipscomb (3-2, 1-0 10-AA) was able to string together a 10-0 run just before the end of the second quarter to take a 32-25 halftime lead into the locker room.
Stratford (2-3, 0-1) trimmed the lead to just three midway through the third quarter, but the Mustangs responded with a 7-0 run to push the lead to 45-37 after three.
Lipscomb senior John Matt Merritt finished with a game-high 28 points, including two 3-pointers.
“John Matt is one of our better scorers,” Pickens said. “He’s been around, and he can shoot.”
Lipscomb started the fourth with a 10-0 run and the Spartans were never able to recover.
A bright spot for the Spartans was freshman point guard Juwon Carpenter, who dropped 19 points in the loss.
Reach Sam Brown at 615-259-8232 and on Twitter @SamBrownTN.