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The Cornerstone Christian Academy boys’ basketball team coasted through the KCAA 3rd Region Tournament last weekend to advance to the KCAA State Tournament.
The Bulldogs whipped Danville, 84-24, in the opening game.
“Everybody got to play, and I thought we played pretty well,” Cornerstone Coach Chris Armstrong said. “I’ve been really happy with the way our younger guys have been coming along. Because of that, we only had to play our starters, probably less than half the game.”
Things weren’t much more difficult for the Bulldogs in the championship game, as Cornerstone hammered Community Christian, 69-51.
The Bulldogs pushed the lead past 25 points and cruised from there.
“I felt like we were a little more sharp, a bit better, in that game,” Armstrong said. “Community is a small team, but they spread you out and look for open outside shots. Small, quick guards have given us trouble this year, so I was glad to see the guys come out sharp.”
After two easy region games, Armstrong said he will pay particular attention to his team’s focus tonight, when the state tournament tips off with the Bulldogs playing Trinity Christian at 6 at Valley High School in Louisville.
“The challenge for us now, after the region, will be to come out sharp,” he said. “We played Trinity earlier in the year and beat them pretty solidly [89-49 on Jan. 17], but they were without their point guard. I’m sure they’ll be looking for some payback.”
Despite a match-up with Bethel possible in the second round on Saturday morning, Armstrong said he doesn’t think this team will look past Trinity.
“It’s my first year, so I don’t really know much about Trinity, but the guys do, and I understand they’ve been good in the past,” he said. “The one thing about this team, I don’t think they’ve ever looked past someone this year. They always come out and give an honest effort.”
The Bulldogs will try to force Trinity into an up-tempo game, using a fullcourt trap and quickly transitioning to offense. Because of the team’s depth, Armstrong isn’t worried about wearing out his Bulldogs.
“I’m going to try to use nine or 10, or maybe more, guys on Friday,” he said. “We really want to try to push the tempo, get some points off defense and wear them out. Because of the progress of our younger guys, I’m really not worried about our depth. I was really apprehensive about the press early in the season, but our JV and younger guys have really come on and look good.”
If the Bulldogs can advance, they’ll likely see Bethel in the semifinals, and after that awaits a probable match-up with North Hardin Christian for the championship.
“From what I’ve been able to tell, those two teams are similar,” Armstrong said of the possible opponents on Saturday. “Both have strong, dominant guards and a big post player. But North Hardin has a couple of other guys that can score as well. They have another very good guard that can shoot the three, and they have an athletic wing-player.”
But whether it’s Trinity, Bethel, North Hardin or anyone else, Armstrong said Cornerstone’s defense will be the key.
“We need to go out there and do a good job with our post defense, trap on our press and make sure we find shooters. Each of these teams has guys that can knock down 3-pointers if we leave them open.”