By PAUL HINES
Christopher broke open a close game in the second half and beat Waltonville 61-48 in Wednesday’s 1A regional semifinal.
Waltonville clung to a 25-24 lead at halftime after Jordan Hale helped the Spartans with 16 first-half points.
Christopher responded in the third quarter with a 12-3 run to open action. The Bearcats used the run to go up 35-28 midway through the quarter.
“It’s one of those things where they hit a lot of shots, credit to them,” Waltonville coach Brian Gamber said. “We didn’t make a lot of shots. We struggled offensively. We struggled defensively.”
Hale led all scorers with 23 points. Trey Witges was the only other Waltonville player in double figures with 16 points.
Christopher continued to build its lead in the latter half of the third quarter, ending with a 7-0 surge to take a 45-32 edge into the final quarter.
“I felt like when they got on a run things started to get a little out of hand,” Gamber said. “Because of that I think we got caught up in all the emotion, all the energy in the building.”
The game took on a physical nature in the final quarter and a half. A double technical was handed out along with an intentional foul. Four players fouled out of the game, and the two team combined for 51 total fouls leading to 61 free throws.
Justin Winchester brought the Spartans as close as 50-43 after a 3-pointer with 2:30 left in the game. But Christopher, once again, answered with another run to push the lead back to double digits.
“We just couldn’t catch up the rest of the way,” Gamber said.
Hale’s offense powered the Spartans in the early going and helped them stay close in the first half. The senior knocked down four field goals along with a pair of 3-pointers in the half.
Christopher advances to Friday’s regional.