Cardinal Newman likes to play at a face pace but knew it had to take it up another notch to match the frantic pace of First Baptist.
The Cardinals were up to the challenge and showed why they are one of the favorites in SCISA 3A with a 92-77 victory over the Hurricanes on Friday.
“They play about 100 miles an hour and we play about 75,” Cardinal Newman coach Phillip Deter said. “The message was sprint back and identify shooters in transition. And I thought we did that for the most part. This was a good test because we probably will see them again in the playoffs.”
It was the third time this season Cardinal Newman has scored more than 90 points in a game. The Cardinals’ 92 points was two off a season-high against Augusta Christian on Jan. 8.
The game featured two of the best guards in the state in Cardinal Newman’s Chico Carter and First Baptist’s Michel Dukes, and both delivered. Carter, a Murray State signee led the Cardinals with 28 points.
Dukes, who will announce his college choice for football Saturday, led First Baptist with 27.
Cardinal Newman got a huge lift from Bryson Earle, who poured in a career-high 25 points. His previous career high was 16 earlier this season against Concord First Assembly and Porter-Gaud.
Earle came into the game averaging just 6.9 per game but drained five 3-pointers in the first half and finished with six for the game. Cardinal Newman hit 10 3-pointers in the game.
“That’s just what I do, I shoot my shots,” Earle said.
Cardinal Newman led 50-40 at halftime and stretched it out early in the first quarter. But the Hurricanes cut it to 64-60 on McGuire Weekley’s 3-pointer with 2:34 left in the third. But the Cards answered with a basket and then First Baptist’s bench was called for a technical foul.
Carter hit both free throws and Earle buried another 3-pointer and Cardinal Newman never led by less than double figures the rest of the way.
“He came in focused. I saw in it in school,” Deter said of Earle. “He was ready to go. When those feet are set and that stroke is going, he is one of the best shooters in the state.”
In the girls’ game, Cardinal Newman won its ninth in a row with a 52-24 win over First Baptist. Freshman Ashlyn Watkins had 15 and Tanaja Kennedy had 14.
CN: Chico Carter, Jr. 28, Bryson Earle 25, Malik Tucker 17, Joshua Beadle 15, P. Cooper 4, Tyler 3. FBS: Mikel Dukes 27, Devin Dean 21, Weekley 9, Powell 6, Brown 4, Washington 4, Crawford 2, Frasier 2, Major 2.
Cardinal Newman 52, First Baptist 24
CN: Ashlyn Watkins 15, Tanaja Kennedy 14, Audrey Meyers 10, Dayhuff 9, Boyer 2, Etter 2. First Baptist: Spann 9, Middleton 8, Sexton 5, Cooper 2