Columbus Christian overcame a slow start to defeat Trinity Christian 70-57 Saturday night.
Trinity came started strong and outhustled the Crusaders, jumping out to a quick lead. A tough zone defense by the Saints contained Columbus Christian’s inside game and forced it to shoot from the outside, and the shots didn’t fall for the Crusaders.
“We came out and were shooting the ball too quickly,” Crusader coach Kevin Roth said. “We made one pass, then threw up a 3, and they weren’t falling for us. Even when we got an offensive rebound, we’d kick it back out for another 3.”
Columbus Christian improved its defensive intensity and began to move the ball around, which lead to an 8-2 run to close the quarter and take the lead.
“I called that 30-second timeout and told the team their shot selection was not good,” Roth said. “Things began to open up for us after that. Our slow start was because of poor shot selection.”
The Crusaders outscored the Saints 22-9 in the second quarter to hold a 16-point halftime lead. Columbus Christian helped build its lead off second and third attempts on the offensive end that resulted in scores.
“We stress that we don’t give up on a play, and go until the whistle,” Roth said. “If we stay active and go after the glass, good things will happen.”
The Saints had no answer for the rebounding and hustle of the Crusaders. Trinity would be one-shot-and-out on offense, and the hustling up and down the court wore them down.
Columbus Christian opened the third quarter with a 13-4 run, scoring off several Trinity unforced turnovers.
“At halftime we got our heads in the game,” said Crusader junior Dalane Shaull, who led the team with 16 points. “In practice, we always hustle, and it comes out on the court in how we play.”
Columbus Christian sophomore Chris Noblitt added 14 points.
“I think we just wanted it more,” Noblitt said. “We came out sluggish, and coach told us to keep going hard. We tried to get as many good shots as possible, and once we did, we began hitting them.”
Sophomore Josh Miracle scored 11 points, sophomore Austin Straub added 10 and junior Ian Gray had seven. Columbus Christian’s varsity roster features only two seniors.
“We are a young team with several athletic players who cause problems for our opponents,” Roth said.
Columbus Christian will host Colonial Christian on Monday. The varsity girls game begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by the varsity boys game at 7 p.m.