Eagles’ size too much for Crusaders

The Columbus Christian girls basketball team welcomed back Grace Lorimor for the first time this season, but even her height wasn’t enough to offset a big size disadvantage Monday night against Christel House Academy.

Using about an eight-inch height advantage over the tallest Crusaders, 6-2 junior Kelsey Stitt went for 23 points, 20 rebounds and at least a dozen blocked shots to lead the Eagles to a 31-20 victory.

“We would trap up top and couldn’t take it away,” Columbus Christian coach Jennifer Hardin said. “It was going to (Stitt) the entire time. If we got the trap, we couldn’t get the pass taken away. If I had two doing the right things, the other ones were a little bit late usually.”

The Crusaders (2-8) were within 9-6 at halftime and 11-8 with just over 5 minutes left in the third quarter. But then Christel House (1-7) went on a 10-0 run, with Stitt scoring the final eight of those points, to push the lead to 21-8.

“We did not seize the opportunity to block out,” Hardin said. “We were griping about not getting calls. We were not being aggressive enough. We just have to learn how to play through it and play aggressive.”

After being held to 10 points the first three quarters, Columbus Christian matched that with 10 in the final period. But the Crusaders were unable to cut the deficit to single digits at any point in the fourth quarter.

Lorimor, who has played for Columbus Christian the past couple of years, didn’t begin this season on the team because she was playing club volleyball. But with the Crusaders in need of players, she decided to join the team and is splitting time with volleyball.

Lorimor led Columbus Christian with eight points on Monday.

“She’s been blocking out against (2015 graduates Tori) Robinson and Rachel Warren, so she’s a little bit more prepared for that,” Hardin said. “She was ready to crash the boards. She did an excellent job for us tonight.”

Madi Ochs added five points and six rebounds for the Crusaders, who matched the Eagles with 35 rebounds but were plagued by 33 turnovers. Christel House committed 28 turnovers.

Columbus Christian played without leading scorer Emily Muck, who has a sprained ankle. Hardin said Muck might be back for Saturday’s Cannelton Tournament.

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.