TKA - Berean Christian

Lions lose heartbreaker as Berean Christian rallies from 13 down in the fourth


SEYMOUR – The King’s Academy put together two impressive quarters on Thursday night, but unfortunately, one of those was not the fourth quarter.

Both TKA and Berean Christian struggled to get much going offensively in the first quarter, but the Lions followed that by executing to near perfection in the second and third quarters, leading by as many as 16 points in the third quarter.

Harrison Rollins

TKA’s Harrison Rollins (15) goes for three while defended by Berean Christian’s Dalton Claiborne (21). Photo by Brian Hamilton

The King’s Academy took a 13-point lead into the final frame, but failed to score a basket from the field, as Berean outscored the Lions 17-4 in the fourth to win 63-60, denying TKA a crucial district win.

“We’re up 13 and then we allowed our offense to kind of control our mentality for the rest of the night, instead of our defense,” TKA head coach Sean Jones said. “We were really affected by their pressure and we really struggled with (Townsend) in foul trouble. I felt like we just kind of froze, and that’s part of having a young group.”

TKA struck first when Jack Townsend found Harrison Rollins for a nice assist to put the Lions ahead 2-0. Berean Christian would take the lead when Connor Copeland converted an old-fashioned three-point play to give the Eagles a 3-2 advantage.

The Lions would go back in front 6-3 after baskets by Townsend and Rollins, but Berean would answer with a Copeland jumper and a layup by Dalton Claiborne to take a 7-6 lead with 2:51 left in the first quarter.

A rebound and putback by Luka Horvatic would put TKA back in front 8-7, but a basket and free throw by Deonte Smith would give Berean Christian a 10-8 lead with 1:12 to go. Braden Holliman made a layup late in the first quarter to knot the score at 10-10 going into the second period.

Luka Horvatic

Luka Horvatic (24) goes up for a basket while Berean Christian’s Connor Copeland (10) and Josh Myers (34) defend. Photo by Brian Hamilton

Berean Christian led 14-12 when Townsend sank a three to put the Lions back in front 15-14 with 5:25 left in the second quarter.

The Eagles would tie the game at 17-17 with a three-pointer by Smith, but Rollins would answer with a triple to make the score 20-17. Claiborne then drained a three on the next Eagles possession to tie the game at 20-all, as the teams traded three-point baskets for several possessions.

Holliman would score on a fast break with an up and under layup, but Copeland would once again answer with a jumper to tie the game at 22-22 with just under three minutes left in the half.

TKA would then go on a 9-0 run, capped by an old-fashioned three-point play by Harrison Rollins, giving the Lions a 31-22 lead.

Holliman would hit a running three-pointer at the first half buzzer to send TKA to the intermission with a 36-25 lead.

TKA took a 39-27 lead when Holliman sank a three early in the third quarter, as the Lions would start the half by outscoring Berean Christian 10-5 to take a 46-30 lead midway through the quarter.

A monstrous two-handed dunk by Horvatic gave TKA a 53-39 lead with just over two minutes left in the third quarter, but the Eagles would trim the lead back to 10, at 53-43, on a pair of free throws by Nate Ballinger.

Sean Jones

TKA coach Sean Jones looks on during the fourth quarter of Thursday’s 63-60 loss to Berean Christian. Photo by Brian Hamilton

Grayson Click nailed a three-pointer with five seconds left in the third quarter to send the Lions to the final frame with a 56-43 advantage.

The fourth quarter is where things would slowly fall apart for TKA, however.

A layup by Smith would cut the Berean deficit to under 10 for the first time since late in the second quarter and a three by Copeland would make the score 56-51 with 5:48 remaining.

After layups by Smith and Josh Myers, the Lions found themselves clinging to a one-point lead, as Berean Christian opened the fourth quarter with a 12-0 run to make the score 56-55 with just over three minutes left.

Rollins would give TKA its first points of the quarter with 2:28 left when the senior split a pair of free throws. Copeland would hit a turnaround jumper on the next possession, however, to tie the game at 57-57 with 1:54 remaining.

Berean Christian took its first lead since 14-12 when Copeland hit a pull up jumper to give the Eagles a 59-58 advantage with just over one minute remaining.

Rollins was fouled on the next TKA possession and made the first free throw, but a controversial lane violation was called on Jack Townsend, giving the ball back to Berean with the game tied at 59-59.

Copeland hit a three on the other end to give the Eagles a 62-59 lead with 16 seconds remaining. Townsend was fouled on the ensuing TKA possession and made the first foul shot. The junior then succeeded in clanging the second free throw off the front rim, but the Lions were unable to get the rebound, which resulted in a scrum and a jump ball.

Braden Holliman

Braden Holliman (10) goes for a three over a Berean defender. Photo by Brian Hamilton

Berean Christian was awarded possession and TKA was unable to foul right away, as the Lions finally fouled Claiborne with 0.4 seconds remaining. Claiborne made the first free throw and missed the second, but the Lions were unable to get a shot off with so little time remaining, as the Lions fell 63-60.

TKA was outscored 17-4 and held without a basket from the field in the final period.

“They did a great job of pressuring us and continuing to fight and we couldn’t get stops,” Jones said. “We tried to get some different looks and do some different things, but ultimately, we didn’t make it happen.”

The Lions shot just 11-for-25 from the free throw line in the contest, which may have ultimately led to their demise.

“It’s tough and (free throw shooting) has really, really hurt us,” Jones said. “We’ve tried to work on it some and make it a priority here in the second half of the season, but we’ve just got to keep going back to the line at practice and try to put them in situations where they’re fatigued and put them at the line. I don’t know if we’re a team that is good enough at the little things, right now, to be a team that deserves to win.”

Connor Copeland led all scorers with 29 points, while Harrison Rollins led TKA with 28. Braden Holliman finished with 12 points for the Lions, while Luka Horvatic added eight.

Deonte Smith and Dalton Claiborne also scored in double figures for Berean Christian, finishing with 16 and 10, respectively.

The King’s Academy (4-18, 2-6 Class A, District 1) will be back in action on Friday at rival Lakeway Christian (12-4, 7-1 District 1). Berean Christian (18-4, 6-2 District 1) will host First Baptist Academy (1-21, 1-11 District 1) on Friday night.





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