When it came to clutch performances in Columbus Christian’s 76-68 win against visiting Indianapolis Lighthouse on Friday, Nick Bridgewater was a step above everyone else.
Bridgewater, a junior guard who finished with a game-high 25 points, put together an explosive fourth quarter, scoring 10 points along with being six for six from the charity stripe.
The Crusaders raised their record to 17-1 while Indianapolis Lighthouse fell to 4-6.
“He had a great game,” Crusaders coach Kevin Roth said of Bridgewater. “He put up large points early and came through for us in the fourth quarter with the free throws.”
After taking a 43-26 lead at halftime, the Crusaders seemed to be in the drivers seat. They connected on five 3-point shots in the first half, with three coming from Bridgewater.
“I knew we had to score from outside in order to get a big lead,” Bridgewater said. “They gave us many open shots, and we took advantage of their turnovers.”
The Bulldogs started the second half with a 14-4 run which was led by guard Jordan Harris, who scored 10 of his 21 points in the third quarter. The Bulldogs pulled within 55-48 after three quarters.
“We played into their style in the third quarter,” Roth said. “We weren’t setting up and running our offense well.
“We came out a little flat in the second half. We gave them too many easy buckets and it made things close.”
Columbus Christian regained momentum with a 9-2 run to start the fourth quarter.
With 4:12 remaining, the Bulldogs started to create another rally, scoring 14 consecutive points to trail 72-66.
But that was the closest they would get, as turnovers would come back to haunt the Bulldogs, and the Crusaders connected on the final four shots from the free throw line.
“We didn’t make things any easier for ourselves with the massive amount of turnovers we had,” Roth said. “Being able to stick together was key.”
The Bulldogs had 24 turnovers, while the Crusaders had 28.
Delane Shaull scored 17 points for Columbus Christian.