PHOENIX, Ariz. ---Arizona Christian University hosted Northern New Mexico College in its ACU Classic, as the Firestorm defeated the Eagles 59-57 in a thrilling shootout.
The Firestorm were led by Prayer Branham and Kiara White who combined 11-for-20 shooting from the floor. Branham finished with 20 points, four assists, and four steals, while White recorded 12 points and two steals.
The Firestorm got off to a strong start taking an early four point lead at the 13:52 mark, 10-6. Branham would make a nifty move inside the paint and record an and-one to give the Firestorm a three point edge and Kaye Munsil followed it up with a 10-foot jumper to take the largest lead of the game at 21-16. Arizona Christian increased its lead to 11 with a minute left on the clock after Branham went 2-for-2 from the charity stripe.
The score was tied four times throughout the first half and the lead changed hands six times.
In the start of the second, Arizona Christian got off to a slow start as the Eagles went on a 9-0 run in the first three minutes of the game, 33-31. The Eagles would get within one at the 12:10 mark, 36-35, but ACU would respond after Stephanie Brimhall pushed the lead back to three after a nice move in the paint, 38-35. The Eagles would cut the lead to one on two separate occasions, but the Firestorm would fight off every effort made by the Eagles. Brimhall and Shannon Harte both made two big layups in the last minute of the game to hold onto the lead and the victory.
Arizona Christian finished the game shooting 44.9 percent from the floor, while holding the Eagles to 33.3 percent shooting.
With the win, Arizona Christian improves to 4-7 on the season, while the Eagles drop to 3-9.
The charity stripe served the Firestorm well, as they only missed four free throws on the night going 13-for-17.
Arizona Christian will host Bethesda University in day 2 of the ACU Classic on Dec. 28 at 7p.m. in the Fultz Memorial Gymnasium.