Garner 84 GRACE Christian 51

Playing in the Kyran Bowman bracket of the John Wall Holiday Invitational, the opening game starts with GRACE Christian of the NCISAA against traditional NCHSAA 4A power Garner. GRACE Christian entered the game with an 8-7 record while Garner posted a  9-2 record with losses to Millbrook and Leesville Road.  GRACE Christian features 7’0 Wake Forest commit Jaylon Gibson, promising juniors 6’9 Keeyan Itejere and 6’3 Jacob Hukins while Garner has plenty of depth and balance as four players average in double figures.  6’2 senior Chris Nobles leads the way averaging 15 PPG, while 6’0 senior A.J. Daniels, 6’7 sophomore Asa White, and 6’1 senior Daveon Dunn all average 14 PPG, 12 PPG, and 10 PPG respectively. 

Garner took a 16-11 lead after the first quarter as Garner’s head coach Kent Bloms utilized multiple defensive sets to keep GRACE Christian off balance. Trapping at every opportunity, Garner was able to take a 41-22 halftime lead by outscoring GRACE 25-11 in the second quarter. Garner’s length, athleticism and defensive pressure created 13 turnovers thus resulting in easy transition points.  Eight different players from Garner got into the scoring act with 6’1 senior Daveon Dunn leading the way with eight points. 

Garner went on a 20-10 third quarter run to push the lead to 61-32 heading into the fourth quarter. 6’7 sophomore Asa White had nine points in the third quarter including a 3-pointer while 6’3 senior Nolan McLean knocked in two long distant 3-pointers. Leading by 30 with four minutes remaining, both coaches emptied the bench as Garner came away with an 84-51 win over GRACE Christian and will advance to play the winner of The Burlington School vs. Heritage game. 

Garner had three players score in double figures. Leading the way was 6’0 senior guard A.J. Daniels with 14 points while 6’7 sophomore Asa White had 13 points and 6’0 senior Benjamin Hines tallied 12 points. 6’9 junior Keeyan Itejere of GRACE Christian chipped in 10 points. Garner had a balanced effort as ten players got into the scoring column. 

Keys to the game:

Garner is a quick and athletic team that mixes up the defenses nicely to keep teams off balance. They have balance and depth and forced 24 turnovers which proves to be the difference.