Patrick Obley Staff writer @fo_pmo

BUIES CREEK — Au’Diese Toney said he and his Trinity Christian teammates have three goals — win the conference, win the conference tournament and win the NCISAA Class 1-A state title.

Two down, one to go.

K.J. Marshall’s runner with 1.3 seconds remaining lifted the Crusaders to a 57-55 victory over Village Christian in the first Sandhills Conference tournament championship game.

“It went as planned,” Toney said. “Every day, we go to practice we set those three goals.”

In the girls’ game, Northwood Temple cruised past Fayetteville Christian, 66-53.

Marshall’s winner gave Trinity its first lead since the final minute of the first half, when Marshall’s 3-point goal nudged Trinity Christian in front, 27-25. That lead was short-lived as Travion McRae and Carter Morgan drilled consecutive 3-pointers for a 31-27 halftime lead.

Village Christian presented a matchup problem for the Crusaders. The last time the teams met, Trinity Christian came away with a 97-92 win by matching the Knights shot for shot.

Saturday at steamy Carter Gym on the Campbell University campus, the Crusaders started ice-cold from the field and their man-to- man defense was scorched by the Knights. Trailing 8-2, the Crusaders scrapped the defense and went to zone.

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