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Christchurch advances to state quarterfinals

Christchurch senior center Sam Miller (left) fights off a block attempt by Liberty Christian’s Georgi Branov in Tuesday’s 63-59 Seahorse victory. (Photo by Tom Chillemi)

Seventh-seeded Christchurch School edged 10th-seeded Liberty Christian Academy 63-59 in the opening round of the 12-team State Division I Independent Schools Basketball Tournament Tuesday at CCS.

Senior guard Caron Williams led the Seahorses with 25 points, 10 rebounds and 5 steals, and sophomore Mike Gbinije nailed a 3-pointer late in the game to seal the win.

James Ford added 11 points for CCS and Sam Miller had 3.

The Seahorses made 22 of 26 free throws in the game.

Georgi Branov led Liberty Christian with 23 points.

Christchurch (20-9), the Virginia Prep League Champion, traveled to play second-seed Episcopal in Alexandria yesterday, March 4, in the tourney quarterfinals. Check on Thursday for game results.

The 12 teams and their respective seeds and records going into the state tournament are: 1. Benedictine High School (18-9); 2. Episcopal High School (18-7); 3. Bishop O’Connell (21-8); 4. Blue Ridge School (20-7); 5. Flint Hill School (24-4); 6. Paul VI (15-14); 7. Christchurch School (19-9); 8. Norfolk Collegiate (20-8); 9. Collegiate School (14-8); 10. Liberty Christian Academy (17-8); 11. Norfolk Academy (19-9); and 12. Fork Union Military Academy (12-12).

Sleepy Thompson Tourney

Christchurch won two games and lost one in last weekend’s Sleepy Thompson Tournament in Alexandria that featured some of state’s top teams. The Seahorses lost to Flint Hill in the opener, but regrouped to defeat Potomac School and Woodberry Forest to win the championship of the consolation bracket.

In the 79-73 consolation championship win over Woodberry, CCS trailed by six points at halftime, but rallied to lead by four points entering the final period.

The fourth quarter would be an electrifying see-saw battle between two old foes. Free throw shooting down the stretch would be key for CCS. Miller scored 7 fourth quarter points, Gbinije had 6, Ford 5 and Noble Cunningham 4.

Coron Williams led CCS with 23 points in the game, Miller had 15, Gbinije 13, Ford 13, Cunningham 12, and Robert Lawson 3.

Coron Williams and Mike Gbinije were named to the All-Tournament squad.

CCS 70, Flint Hill 61

Mid Atlantic Conference champion Flint Hill School and Christchurch battled on even terms throughout their tournament opener, but Flint Hill would ultimately wear the Seahorses down over the final eight minutes for a 70-61 victory.

Flint Hill led 30-27 at the half, but the Seahorses went up 46-43 heading into the final quarter.

The Christchurch momentum would be short-lived, however, and the entire fourth quarter was marred by turnovers. The Huskies outscored the Seahorses 27-15 over the final eight minutes and cruised to a 70-61 victory.

Gbinije tallied 28 to pace CCS, Williams had 17, Ford 11, Trace Larabee 3 and Cunningham 2.

CCS 77, Potomac 64

In their second tournament game against defending State Division II Champion Potomac School, the Seahorses raced to a big lead in the first quarter behind some hot shooting and then would hold on down the stretch for the win.

CCS scored 29 first quarter points against the Panthers, highlighted by five 3-pointers. Potomac made a comeback, but CCS converted 10 of 11 free throws in the fourth quarter to seal the win.

Williams led CCS with 24 points, Gbinije had 17, Ford 13, Miller 11, Cunningham 10 and Kyle Egerton 2.

For the latest news on Christchurch basketball, visit

posted 03.05.2009

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