Columbus Christian moves into championship contest

DAYTON, Tennessee — The Columbus Christian boys basketball team will play for the National Association of Christian Athletes Division V title for the third time in six years.

The Crusaders advanced with a 57-41 win against Louisiana Christian in Friday’s semifinals. Columbus Christian will play for the title at 11:45 a.m. today against West Melbourne (Florida) Christian.

“The teams we’ve played have had a lot of athletic ability and size but have not been real disciplined,” Columbus Christian coach Kevin Roth said. “Our ability to control the pace of play and play our style of basketball has been big.”

The Crusaders (27-6) led only 9-7 after one quarter before pulling away with a big second period. They outscored Louisiana Christian 24-12 in that second quarter.

Kevin Roth said the key in that second period was reversing ball against a 2-3 zone and getting the ball to Logan Roth inside. Columbus Christian also was able to kick the ball outside to Blake Barker, who hit three 3-pointers in the quarter.

“We did some adjustments to what they were doing defensively,” Kevin Roth said. “I told the kids at the quarter break we were setting for too many outside jumpers. We attacked the basket a lot better that second quarter.”

Barker finished with five 3-pointers and led the Crusaders with 21 points. Logan Roth added 14.

Also for Columbus Christian, Judah Haynes scored nine points, and Connor Graham had seven.

“To get 16 points from Judah Haynes and Connor Graham was big for us,” Kevin Roth said. “To have that offensive punch really helped the cause.”