Crusaders fall in state semifinals

LAFAYETTE — Columbus Christian lost much of its offense when senior Logan Roth had to sit for most of the first half because of foul trouble in the ICSAA state semifinal against Traders Point Christian on Saturday afternoon.

Crusaders coach Kevin Roth was optimistic at halftime about having Logan Roth back in the second half, despite being faced with an eight-point deficit. Logan Roth gave Columbus Christian a lift by scoring all of his 18 points in the final quarter, but it was not enough to prevent the 72-60 defeat to a team the Crusaders beat by three points earlier in the season.

“I thought if we could either stay within two or three points going into the second half, then have him back in the second half, I liked our chances,” Kevin Roth said. “But it didn’t work out that way.”

Columbus Christian’s 9-3 lead decimated quickly after Traders Point went on an 11-2 run to take a one point lead going into the second quarter.

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The Crusaders (24-6) had a three-point lead for a brief moment, but the Knights (10-13) created some space by scoring nine con- secutive points toward the end of the quarter.

Eighth-grader Blake Barker helped fill the void while Logan Roth was out by scoring 11 of his 18 points in the first half to keep Columbus Christian within striking distance. The Crusaders were faced with their biggest deficit midway through the third quarter when they were down by 13 points and entered the final quarter trailing 49-38.

The Crusaders struggled to hit free throws. Logan Roth and senior Kyle Marsh combined to go 9 of 10 at the line, while the rest of the team only hit 2 of 13 free throws.

Columbus Christian also struggled stopping Traders Point’s Cameron Simmons, who scored a game-high 37 points.

“He’s a good player,” Kevin Roth said. “We tried to slow him down and make other guys beat us, and we didn’t shoot well from the foul line. If we could have done that it would kept us closer.”

Marsh finished with 13 points for Columbus Christian.

The Crusaders are losing six seniors, some of which were on the 2014 ICST state championship team as freshmen. Logan Roth is pleased with how the team played this season, but said ending the season on a loss is bittersweet.

“I think we had a lot of accomplishments coming back and winning regional after missing it two years in a row,” Logan Roth said. “I’m proud of the whole team and of the guys. I think we came out here and gave it a real fight, we didn’t quit.”

The seniors still have a chance to play a few more games in a Columbus Christian uniform. The will competing in the National Association of Christian Athletes tournament beginning Wednesday in Dayton, Tennessee.

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Frank Bonner is a sports writer for The Republic. He can be reached at fbonner@therepublic.com or 812-379-5632.