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Cyclones win MACAA title

BUIES CREEK — The Community Christian School boys basketball team claimed the Mid-Atlantic Christian Athletic Association state title on Saturday with a 45-32 win over New Bern Christian at Campbell.

After losing 80-71 to Jacksonville Christian in the championship game last season, CCS head coach Derrick Atkinson said winning this year provided a sense of redemption.

“It was gratifying, exciting for the school for their first varsity boys state championship,” Atkinson said.

The Cyclones jumped out to an 11-0 lead to open the game and led from start to finish on the way to the 13-point victory.

A Cameron Harris 3-pointer to beat the buzzer helped CCS take a 14-6 lead after one quarter of play, as it eventually took a 22-15 lead into halftime.

In the third quarter, the Cyclones would maintain the seven-point lead and take a 33-26 advantage into the final quarter of play.

Community Christian School then started the fourth quarter on a 9-3 run to extend their lead to double digits on the way to the win.

A double-double from Tavares Williams paced the Cyclones, as the senior finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds and three assists in his final game with the team.

“Tavares (Williams) was our everything, he was the coach on the floor, he knew where everybody needed to be,” Atkinson said. “He was our vocal leader and also led by example.”

“He will truly be missed, but I was really happy for him and our other seniors to end their high school career on that note.”

Evan Gattis added nine points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals in the win, while Harris and Chason Bryant added six points apiece

Leading the team in rebounds was freshman Jack Beamon with 11, as Cale Pittman added seven boards and Bryant finished with four.

“We did what we’ve been doing all year and that’s playing together,” Atkinson said. “We had each other’s backs, and we fed off our defense, we take pride in our defense and everybody did their part.” 

Community Christian School closes out the season with a 24-1 record, as it won 23 straight games after its lone loss in mid-November.

Looking forward to next season, Atkinson hopes the Cyclones can build off the title with another strong season, as they will return several key players from this season’s team.

“We’re young and it’s going to be a huge loss to lose Tavares (Williams),” Atkinson said. “But the way he has exemplified the program, that filters down to all of the guys that are going to return.”

“We will have quite a few seniors next year, some of those juniors didn’t get a lot of playing time this year, but they know the system now.”