A 32-point performance from King University guard CJ Good and a cold shooting second half doomed North Greenville's attempt to defend its Conference Carolinas championship as the Crusaders fell to the Tornado, 71-56.
King was very efficient and took great care of the basketball, totaling 15 assists and only three turnovers. On the other side of the ball, the Crusaders were not quite as effective, tallying 12 assists but also turning the ball over 12 times.
The Tornado jumped out to a 12-5 lead early into the game and held a lead until late in the first half. North Greenville went on a 9-2 run to take the lead, its only one of the game, with 8:44 left to play in the first half before King once again seized control of the game. The Tornado took just over two minutes to take the lead back and proceeded with an 11-5 run to close the half out with a six point lead, 39-33.
The second half saw much of the same results as the first, as the Crusaders fought to find a way back into the game but couldn't quite make enough shots to do it. Good scored the first eight points of the second half for the Tornado as the lead extended to 11 points before the Crusaders chopped the lead back down to six. Good was too much to handle, however, as the lead once again ballooned, this time to 13 points with 10:32 left to play in the game. King's lead would never drop below nine points as the Crusaders went cold from behind the arc for the rest of the game, and the Tornado saw out the victory in Bristol, Tenn.
Despite average shooting in the first half, the Crusaders went 1-for-9 from behind the arc in their bid for the comeback victory, and only shot 32% from the field in the half as they attempted the upset.
Korval McElroy paced the North Greenville offense, totaling 12 points and seven rebounds on the night. Troy Blyden and Miguel Cartagena were the only other Crusaders in double figures, scoring 11 and 10 points respectively. Justin Dotson, Tommy Wade and Chris Brown each had three assists to lead the team.
The first-round loss ends the Crusader basketball conference title defense and finishes the overall campaign with a record of 11-18.