Teams in this post:

North River Christian wins ACEA state title


North River Christian players celebrate after winning the ACEA title game at Shelton State on Saturday. North River won its second straight title and 50th straight game. (Photo by Dusty Compton)


TUSCALOOSA | North River Christian Academy coach John Teasley has told his players all season that if each individual did his job, the whole team would benefit.

On Saturday, the Chargers (25-0) captured a second consecutive Alabama Christian Education Association Division I state championship with a 37-31 win over the Tabernacle Christian Torches. It was also the team’s 50th straight win.

Teasley knew from past experience to expect a tough, physical game with the championship on the line.

"It was a game. It was back-and-forth," Teasley said. "Every championship game I’ve ever been in, it’s been that way. There’s a lot on the line. I knew it was going to be tough, and Tabernacle is a good team. We played them twice earlier this year, and both times they gave us a run. We knew we would probably be seeing them today, and we’ve been prepared for it."

North River held an 8-2 lead after the opening quarter. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Fred Goodgame and Wes Felix for Tabernacle led to a 13-13 tie with five minutes to go before halftime.

Tabernacle outscored North River 17-5 in the second quarter and held the Chargers scoreless in the final five minutes to hold a 19-13 halftime lead.

"We had a bunch of open looks and just could not shoot," Teasley said. "We shot well the first two days. Today, for some reason, (we were) 1-for-10 from 3-point land. Usually we’re 50 percent at least. We just could not hit our shots that normally fall for us."

North River opened the third quarter driving to the basket and went on a 7-0 run to take a 20-19 lead five minutes into the quarter.

Tabernacle answered and took a 26-24 lead into the final quarter.

The Chargers’ Tevin Lowe forced a turnover that led to a layup, then the guard hit a 3-pointer that gave North River a three-point lead. Tabernacle pulled within one point, which forced a timeout for the Chargers.

"When we made them come out (and guard) that kind of changed the game for us," Teasley said. "They let us run it down before they had to start coming out, and I think that’s what changed the game because we’re a little bit quicker and that we had an advantage if they came out on us. I think that’s what was the big key."

After the timeout, Josh Harris hit Dacari Horne streaking to the basket for a layup and North River extended its lead to 34-31.

Multiple turnovers forced by the North River defensive pressure sealed the game and wrapped up the title. Horne led the Chargers with nine points. Jamarcus Gray and Lowe each scored eight points. Harris had five. Horne and Lowe each were on the all-tournament team. Gray was tournament MVP.

Tuscaloosa Christian’s Trent Gibson and Jordan Potter also earned all-tournament honors.