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Columbus Christian boys find flow, pull past Eagles

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With starters Josh Miracle and Dalane Shaull sitting out with minor injuries, the Columbus Christian boys basketball team had trouble getting its offensive act together Monday night against visiting Martinsville Tabernacle.

But once the Crusaders found their rhythm, they ran away from the Eagles 62-40.

“I don’t think the chemistry was right to start with,” said Crusaders head coach Kevin Roth, who also was missing center Chris Noblitt, who has yet to play this season as he is coming off surgery on his left ankle. “Once we got most our second unit into the game, things started working because they are more familiar playing together.”

“I think we just lost confidence a bit early,” said Columbus Christian junior point guard Nick Bridgewater, who finished with 21 points, including 13 in the first quarter.

“Once our shots started rolling in, we were able to come together as a team.”

The Crusaders (12-1) led 16-9 after one quarter, but it could have been a much larger lead.

Columbus Christian was lackadaisical clearing the defensive boards, and that led to the Eagles (0-6) getting extra chances.

“I didn’t like our rebounding effort tonight,” Roth said. “Our rebounding has been going south the past few games and against this team that was a bit smaller in size, there is no excuse for that.”

The Crusaders led 29-18 at intermission, and they came out in the third quarter by increasing their defensive pressure. The Eagles fueled a 10-2 Crusaders run with several turnovers.

By the end of the third quarter, Columbus Christian was cruising with a 45-26 lead.

Martinsville Tabernacle couldn’t mount a threat in the final quarter.

“They were one-dimensional in their ball-handling skills,” Roth said of the Eagles. “Many of them could not dribble with their non-preferred hand, so we just forced them to go in that direction. We got some easy layups on the fast break.”

“I think our half-court traps helped us out,” said Columbus Christian junior Austin Straub. “We forced them into tight corners to put a lot of pressure on them. We were able to force them to go where we wanted to trap them.”

Straub finished the game with eight points, Logan Roth put up seven points and Evan Reed had six points for Columbus Christian.

“I think I could have played better out there tonight,” said the Crusaders’ Ian Gray, who went scoreless. “I contributed in other ways by making the right passes and giving our team its best chance to win.”

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