Crusaders ride defense to victory

Defense was the best offense for the Columbus Christian boys basketball team Tuesday night.

The Crusaders forced 37 Crosspointe Christian turnovers, and that led to numerous easy baskets. The result was a 77-36 victory.

“I thought our ball pressure was pretty good,” said Lain Isley, who scored a career-high 25 points to lead Columbus Christian. “We were getting up the floor on fast breaks and getting some layups.”

The Crusaders (18-4) forced 23 turnovers from the Panthers (5-7) in the first half in jumping out to a 43-17 lead at the break.

“The second half of the year here, we’ve been going with our full-court trap and trying to get some easy buckets and trying to get things going,” Columbus Christian coach Kevin Roth said.

The Crusaders led 68-23 with a little more than a minute left in the third quarter when Kevin Roth pulled his starters.

Logan Roth added 16 points for Columbus Christian. Adriane Polley scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the Crusaders to a 32-29 advantage on the boards.

Columbus Christian shot 53.2 percent (33 of 62) from the field.

“Crosspointe had some size, but I thought we did a good job taking it to the basket,” Kevin Roth said.

“We tried to work on getting the ball inside. There wasn’t any need to be shooting perimeter jumpers.”

Meanwhile, Crosspointe Christian won the girls game 52-22. The Panthers (9-3) jumped out to an 11-0 lead, and the Crusaders (3-13) couldn’t recover.

Jena Fryback led Columbus Christian with seven points. Madison Henderson, who has missed most of the Crusader games because of volleyball commitments, added six points.

Henderson and another volleyball player, Lauren Barker, were playing in their first games since early in the season. Leading scorer Emily Muck missed the game because of another commitment.

“It was kind of a makeshift team that hasn’t had a lot of practice together, so reading each other on the floor was kind of our downfall early,” Columbus Christian girls coach Jennifer Hardin said. “If we can get some practices under our belt, I think we can move just as well as any other experienced team that we’re going to face.”

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