The ball didn’t bounce Columbus Christian’s way at the end of Tuesday night’s game, but the Crusaders will get another shot at Madison Christian in seven days.
The Defenders’ 43-42 victory served as a prelude to a first-round ISCAA South Regional game that will take place Feb. 15 at Columbus Christian.
That game may be hard pressed to match the excitement of Tuesday’s senior night tilt. The lead changed six times in the final two minutes, the last coming on a putback by Madison Christian’s Faith Marcum with 7 seconds remaining.
“We had a defensive breakdown,” Columbus Christian coach Tom Planalp said. “But credit them. They got it to the right person at the right time.”
The Crusaders (2-13) trailed 16-5 midway through the second quarter. They then made a concerted effort to get the ball inside to Grace Lorimor, and she led Columbus Christian on a 27-9 run that gave it a 32-25 lead with 6 1/2 minutes left in the game.
After an exchange of baskets, the Defenders (8-7) went on a 10-0 run to take a 37-34 lead. The Crusaders regained the advantage on baskets by Lauren Barker and Taylor Ingram before Madison Christian’s Juliane Dilk scored to give her team a 39-38 lead with 1:15 remaining.
Columbus Christian’s Kayla Jones scored with 59 seconds left to give Columbus Christian the lead back, but Dilk answered at the other end. Jones scored again off an inbounds play with 23 seconds left for the Crusaders’ final lead, setting up the Defenders’ game-winning basket.
“We had a couple miscommunications, but our girls, you can’t fault their effort, the way they played, the heart they had,” Planalp said. “Some of the girls were coming away with bruises just because of how hard they were diving on the floor and hustling. I’m proud of how our girls played, and I’m proud of the effort they showed.”
Grace Lorimor led Columbus Christian with 15 points, while Barker added 10. Jones, Hannah Lorimor and Grace Lorimor all grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Crusaders to a 46-31 advantage on the boards.
Hannah Lorimor, one of two seniors playing their final-regular-season home game, scored six points. The other senior, Madi Ochs, finished with two points and six rebounds.
“It’s a little demoralizing for (the loss) to happen on our senior night, but I told the girls our seniors played a heck of a game, and they’ve been a big key for us,” Planalp said.