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For just the second time in the last decade, the Asheville Christian Academy boys and girls basketball teams advanced to the NCISAA 3A state Final Four in the same year.

The ACA girls are seeded No. 1 in the 3A tournament and made easy work of the visitors from Carmel Christian in their quarterfinal matchup Feb. 15. The Lions outpaced the Cougars in every quarter and rolled to a 66-40 victory.

Nandhi Smith led the Lions with 25 points and six rebounds.  CeCe Condra added 16 points and nine rebounds while Katie Alexander poured in 11 points and grabbed six rebounds.

The ACA girls team advanced to play the fourth-seeded Cape Fear Academy on Feb. 21 at Carmel Christian in Charlotte. Tipoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

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The ACA boys team faced a more perilous path to the semifinals. In a matchup that pitted two of the top 50 teams in North Carolina, the fourth-seeded ACA team knocked off the No. 5 seed Hickory Grove Chrisrtian in a 71-69 contest Feb. 15 that came down to the final seconds. In a close game throughout, Hickory Grove took at six-point lead into the halftime break before the Lions responded with a seven-point third-quarter advantage.

In the fourth quarter, Hickory Grove opened a five-point lead with three minutes to play.  The Lions cut the lead to one in the final minute, and with eight seconds left to go, ACA’s Solomon Todd hit a 3-pointer to give the Lions a two-point advantage. ickory Grove’s 3-point attempt at the buzzer was off the mark, and the Lions advanced to the state semifinals in exciting fashion.

The Lions advance to play top-seeded Concord First Assemblies, which also is ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 47 in the country, according to Max Preps. Tipoff is 4:30 p.m. Feb. 21 at Carmel Christian in Charlotte.

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