Mount Zion knocks off Conquerors
Mount Zion Christian Academy rode senior guard Jonathan Milligan’s 27 points to a 65-52 upset of the state’s 10th-ranked team, Christian Faith Center Academy on Tuesday night.
The Creedmoor-based Conquerors (11-2, 2-1 GCBL) rose to MaxPreps.com’s No. 10 overall state ranking this week on the strength of a pair of wins over national power Winston-Salem Quality Education but were down three regulars — two of them starters — at Mount Zion.
Out for Tuesday’s game were CFCA starters Jabriel Rahman and DeShon Griffin and reserve Stavian Allen.
But Coach Randy Pulley refused to blame the loss on his missing players.
“We just didn’t bring it at all,” Pulley said. “We were just low on energy tonight, and you’ve got to bring it every night. No excuses.”
Perhaps more telling for the Conquerors was the fact they missed 15 of 26 free throw attempts while Mount Zion sank 23 of 36, including 18 of 26 in the fourth quarter to break open a close game.
The Mighty Warriors (15-5, 1-1 GCBC) led 22-16 after a poor shooting/tenacious defensive first half — take your pick — by both teams. A 9-0 run by CFCA early in the third quarter gave the Conquerors a 25-24 edge, their first of the game, but Jaylan Morgan answered with a 3-pointer off a feed from Britton Reed.
CFCA stayed close on a pair of 3-pointers by point guard Jaylan Robertson and another in the final minute of the quarter by Malcolm Smith to lead 40-39. Diminutive Mt. Zion point guard T.J. Robinson’s shot just before the buzzer won the Warriors a 41-40 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
The fourth quarter was little more than a Mt. Zion procession to the free throw line, as Robinson repeatedly found teammates with lanes to the basket but almost all were fouled at or near the rim.
The Conquerors were attacking the basket and getting fouled, as well, but couldn’t make their free throws. They missed six of their first seven in the period and fell behind 54-43 on a layup by Reed with 3:12 to play and were forced to continue fouling to stop the clock.
“They’re a great team — great guards — they shoot the ball well and attack the basket,” Mt. Zion coach Stephen Baines said. “The win feels good, but I’m just happy for the guys. They’ve been through a lot.”
NOTES — Robertson had an outstanding night at point guard for CFCA. In addition to his eight points, he had a game-best eight assists and hard fouls at the rim on missed layup and dunk tries by teammates cost him at least four more. ... Big man Sharwyn McGee stood out in the post for CFCA with 20 points, a game-high 14 rebounds and two blocked shots. He had all six of CFCA’s boards in the final quarter. ... Mount Zion tied CFCA on the boards with 30 rebounds total and shared the wealth. Justin Uwakewe led the Warriors with five rebounds and teammates Reed, George Gudadze, Robinson and Milligan had four each. ... Mt. Zion has two varsity teams. This one plays in the Greater Carolina Basketball League, the other is an independent.
Mt. Zion 65, CFCA 52
CHRISTIAN FAITH — Jaylan Robertson 8, Jalin Barnes 10, Markell Lodge 2, Sharwyn McGee 20, Malcolm Smith 11, Charles Norman 1.
MOUNT ZION — Jonathan Milligan 27, Tyree Giles 4, T.J. Robinson 3, Britton Reed 15, George Gudadze 2, Justin Uwakewe 5, Jaylan Morgan 9.
3-point FG—CFCA 3 (Robertson 2, Smith), MZCA 5 (Milligan 3, Morgan, Reed). Rebounds—CFCA 30 (McGee 14), MZCA 30 (Uwakewe 5). Blocked shots—CFCA 7 (Lodge 3, McGee 2, Mukiibi Norman), MZCA 2 (Uwakewe, Milligan). Steals—CFCA 3 (Smith, Robertson, Elijah Mukiibi), MZCA 8 (Reed 4). Assists—CFCA 12 (Robertson 8), MZCA 7 (Reed 4). Turnovers—CFCA 7 (Mukiibi 2, Robertson 2), MZCA 8 (Reed 4). Fouled out—Smith (CFCA).
Records—Christian Faith Center 11-6, 2-1 Greater Carolina Basketball Conference; Mount Zion 15-5, 1-1 GCBC.