The final points in Columbus Christian’s 74-26 boys basketball victory against Fortune Academy on Saturday night weren’t the most crucial to that victory.
But in terms of significance, they were the most important.
Senior Levi Sallee, who suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of a September 2016 car accident and was in a coma for more than a month, returned to the court Saturday. He played about two minutes of the second and fourth quarters of a 57-31 season-opening win against Trinity Christian in the afternoon.
On Saturday night, Sallee played about two minutes in each of the final three periods. He took two shots in the fourth, making his second with 43 seconds remaining.
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“I was like ‘Yay,’” Sallee said. “After a year and five months of not scoring, I finally scored, and it feels great.”
The basket capped a lopsided win for the Crusaders (2-0), who opened the game with a 25-2 lead. They led 30-4 after one quarter before coach Kevin Roth emptied his bench in the second period.
Columbus Christian forced 11 turnovers in the first quarter.
“I thought we started off a lot better,” Roth said. “We shot better, we were more patient on offense. The previous two games, we shot the ball way too quick, and guys weren’t getting squared up to the basket. But I think that comes with a young team and guys that haven’t had a starting role. Playing these kind of games helps get them a little bit more comfortable in what they’re doing.”
After the Mighty Oaks cut the lead to 36-14 at halftime, the Crusader starters returned for most of the third quarter and outscored Fortune Academy 29-2 to push the lead to 65-16.
Kyle Foster, who led Columbus Christian with 19 points, was pleased with the fast start.
“That’s always our goal,” Foster said. “With us being a small team, we have to be really fast. I think our goal for every game is to come out as fast as we can and build that lead and let that momentum carry us through the rest of the game.”
Josh Jones added 10 points and nine rebounds for the Crusaders. Connor Emily had nine points and 11 rebounds.
Columbus Christian outrebounded the Oaks 60-24.
“I think we played really well, but we have a lot to work on for the rest of the season,” Foster said.
In the afternoon, the Crusaders jumped out to a 23-5 lead against Trinity Christian and never looked back. C.J. Reed led Columbus Christian with 12 points, while Foster added 11 and Emily had 10.