Late defensive heroics save NCTA victory

The North Central Texas Academy Pioneers overcame a five-point deficit in the final 1:39 for a 47-45 victory against visiting Wichita Christian Friday.

The win clinched a playoff berth for the Pioneers (10-13, 8-3 in TAPPS 2-A).

Elias Fekadu’s 2-point basket was followed by Caleb Finley’s 3-pointer with 39 seconds remaining to tie the contest at 45. Then, after the NCTA defense forced a turnover with 19 seconds to play, Finley took the inbounds pass and scored on a layup with six seconds to go.

The NCTA defense then forced another turnover before WC could attempt another shot.

“Our defense won the game,” said NCTA coach Kirby Rasco.

“I’m proud of our kids for finishing. they played great.”

Finley and Jared Dodson led the Pioneers with 16 points each, combining for seven 3-pointers (Finley four, Dodson three). Fekadu scored eight, Cale Dodson four, Cole Rasco two, and Ken Reita one.



Led by 21 points from Shelby Lyle, the NCTA Lady Pioneers (22-2 overall) completed a 10-0 run to the TAPPS District 2-A championship Friday with a 45-23 victory against Wichita Christian.

Sara Etherington added 14 points for NCTA, which is seeking a third consecutive state championship.

“We are finally to that point when we can’t get one thing going we can switch our tempo and still score,” said coach Emily Britt. “We are ready for the playoffs. I feel like we are peaking the right time.”

Also for NCTA, Cynthia Rivas and Anna Strickland scored three points each, while Jenni Chen and Melissa Rivera each scored two.