AUGUSTA —Since bowing out of the Class D South tournament in the quarterfinals last season, the Temple Academy boys’ basketball team has been eager to get back to the Augusta Civic Center and make a deeper playoff run.

“We’ve been waiting for this moment the whole year,” senior forward Ilija Ivkovic said.

Monday afternoon, the Bereans took the first step in what they hope is a long tournament journey, pulling away from Pine Tree Academy for a 63-44 quarterfinal win. Temple (14-5), the No. 2 seed, will face No. 3 Valley at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

No. 7 Pine Tree finished 5-14.

Chris Amisi hit a 3-pointer 13 seconds into the second quarter to give Pine Tree a 15-14 lead. From there, Temple took off, going on a 19-0 run. The key to the game-changing run was defense, Ivkovic said. The Bereans forced nine turnovers in the second quarter.

“Our defense was great at that time. We kept double teaming (Amisi). He’s a great player. When we stopped him, we got our opportunities on offense, and scored in transition,” said Ivkovic, who scored 22 points.

“That was exciting,” Pine Tree Coach Trevor Schlisner said of his team’s fast start. “They were playing hard, then they just started turning the ball over. Our issue all year was the ball sticking and good ball movement.”

Temple led 35-19 at the half and pushed the advantage to 52-26 after three quarters. For Temple Coach Scott Corey, the game came down to quality possessions and good shots.

“You get the ball where you want it, if it doesn’t go in, it doesn’t go in,” Corey said. “I didn’t think in the first quarter we did a good job of moving the ball and looking to attack the basket.”

The Breakers played with just six available players. Schlisner refused to use lack of depth as an excuse.

“We played with seven the whole year. They play hard. That’s all I ask,” Schlisner said.

Amisi scored 24 points. Nick Blaisdell had a double-double for Temple, with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Up next for Temple is No. 3 Valley. The Bereans and Cavaliers split a pair of close games in the regular season, each winning on its home court. Temple’s win came on a buzzer-beating shot.

“They’re good. Again, it’s going to be a battle,” Corey said. “It will be a great game, and the boys are looking forward to it.”

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