The atmosphere was electric for this game, as both teams had fans show up to cheer them on in what looked to be a big showdown with two of the top teams in the state.  Both teams looked to attack with their strengths, as Carmel Christian was able to hold the small lead for much of the first half but it remained a one or two bucket game throughout.  Ben Burnham made his presence on both sides, simply making plays and flying around as he does always.  Victory Christian was able to take the lead late into halftime, led by their guard play of Tajuan Simpkins, Lewis Duarte, and Caleb Coleman, leading 28-26.

The same energy came out in the second half for both teams, as it looked to be a back-and-forth affair in this matchup.  Carmel Christian was able to tie back up with the elevated play of Burnham in the third, as each team started to trade baskets.  Mid-way through the third though, Burnham started to strut his stuff on both sides, finishing strong around the rim and making a difference on defense, helping Carmel get out to a six-point lead with two minutes in the third and held the lead heading into the fourth.

Carmel was able to create the first double-digit lead early in the fourth just a couple of minutes in and the crowd got behind them, looking to take the momentum in this game.  Once they did, they never looked back, as they never let up and were able to go on to a 72-57 win in Rock Hill.

Stats:
Carmel Christian:
Ben Burnham 22 points
Justin Taylor 20 points
Cade Tyson 12 points

Victory Christian:
Tajuan Simpkins 23 points
Lewis Duarte 17 points
Caleb Coleman 9 points

Standouts:

2022 Tajuan Simpkins (VCCS): Simpkins was something special in how aggressive he played on offense. The long-armed guard was able to create and use his quickness in getting by defenders, getting to the rim, and finishing with touch.  He also stepped out with his outside shot as well, really being one of the premier offensive scoring threats for VCCS in this one.

2021 Caleb Coleman (VCCS): Coleman isn’t afraid of the bright lights and it showed, as he came off the bench and made multiple big plays on the court on both sides.  Was extremely impressed with his energy on the defensive end, creating deflections and turning them into points on the other end.  He was relentless and played with a ton of energy.

2021 Ben Burnham (Carmel): You feel like you are writing the same story about Burnham but he continues to wow you with is play.  Playing against an athletic team in VCCS, Burnham showed that he still could be the best out there and knows how to make big-time plays in big moments.  Whether it was finishing with authority at the rim, using his extreme bounce to get on the boards, or just create mismatches on the court, Burnham played excellent in this one once again.

2022 Justin Taylor (Carmel): Taylor did a terrific job in controlling the pace and picking his spots to attack, which he did extremely well in scoring off the dribble, reading and seeing the floor, and finishing around or through contact.  Taylor played simply fantastic in the open floor and was aggressive all game long, but never forced the matter.