IF Columbus Christian boys basketball coach Kevin Ross was looking for blackboard instruction material, he hit the jackpot on Friday night.
The Crusaders (3-1) will be getting lectures about their 91-76 loss to visiting Crothersville for quite some time.
A whopping 32 turnovers was the main culprit for the loss, but the Crusaders committed plenty of other errors.
Among them, team star Delane Shaull got into foul trouble early in the first quarter and had to sit out most of the first half. When he came out for the third quarter, he immediately was whistled for his fourth foul, and that made him virtually ineffective for the entire night. Shaull finished with seven points and could have been a much bigger factor offensively. He also is one of the Crusaders’ best ball handlers, so his absence had an obvious effect in terms of turnovers.
Columbus Christian seldom sent the ball inside to center Chris Noblitt, who was having his way with the Crothersville defense whenever he did get the ball down low.
Noblitt finished with 21 points on a night he could have had 40. What made matters worse was that the Tigers were in extreme foul trouble so they would have had a hard time handling Noblitt.
The Crusaders simply couldn’t deal with Crothersville guard Gene Hodge, who tied his school record with 43 points. While Hodge had a fantastic offensive night, he often drove right through the Columbus Christian defense to the hoop.
On the positive side, Columbus Christian had to walk away from its home gym thinking it should be 4-0.
“We gave them 68 field-goal attempts,” Columbus Christian coach Kevin Roth said. “They got 10 offensive rebounds and all those turnovers. That’s way too many possessions.
“We are quick, and maybe we were moving too fast for us to catch up to ourselves. When we settled down and ran our sets, got the ball inside to Chris, we were good.”
The Crusaders had cruised through the first three games and Roth said perhaps it hurt that “we hadn’t had anyone push us. We had poor shot selection.”
Crothersville, which was playing its season opener, ran out to a 19-8 lead after the first quarter, helped by the Crusaders’ 3-for- 16 shooting performance and 10 turnovers.
But with Shaull in foul trouble on the bench, the Crusaders Josh Miracle put the team on his back. Miracle scored 18 of his 28 points in the second quarter to put his team down only 42-39 at intermission.
However, Hodge was carrying his team as well, and he scored 15 points in the third quarter as the Tigers stretched the lead to 64-56.
The Crusaders managed to cut the lead to 70-67 in the fourth quarter, but the Tigers went on an 8-0 run that put the game away.
“Our defensive pressure helped us to get some easy baskets,” Crothersville coach Greg Kilgore said.