Crusaders advance in regional semifinal

Prior to his team’s opening game in the Indiana Christian State Tournament, Columbus Christian coach Kevin Roth had a message for his team.

Roth expressed to the Crusaders that if they don’t play well, they might not advance in the tournament. That wasn’t a problem for Columbus Christian on Friday night in an 82-28 regional semifinal victory against Trinity Christian.

“I said ‘There’s not any more games guaranteed now,’” Roth said. “So we just wanted to go out and get a good start and keep everybody healthy for (today). It was a good opportunity to get some of the younger guys in.”

The Crusaders (21-9) advance to tonight’s regional final, where they will host the winner of Friday’s late game between Bloomington Lighthouse and Madison Christian. Bloomington Lighthouse has beaten Columbus Christian twice this season.

The Crusaders had little trouble with Trinity Christian, jumping out to a 12-0 lead before Trinity got off a shot. Columbus Christian forced 10 turnovers in the first quarter and 27 for the game. Trinity Christian was within 17-6 late in the first quarter when the Crusaders went on a 14-0 run to break the game open. Columbus Christian led 60-12 late in the third quarter.

With Roth going deep into his bench early and often, all 12 players who saw action for the Crusaders got into the scoring column. That included Levi Sallee, who came off the bench to put up a career-high 17 points.

“I think we passed the ball around really well,” Sallee said. “We had a lot of assists, which was really good. A lot of people passed it down to the post, and that’s how we got our points.”

Judah Haynes scored 14 points for Columbus Christian. Adriane Polley added 10 points and seven rebounds to lead the Crusaders to a 36-16 advantage on the boards.

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