Second-half rally not enough for Crusaders

Trailing Bloomington Lighthouse by 13 points at halftime Monday night, Columbus Christian didn’t pack it in.

The Crusaders came back to cut the lead to five, but couldn’t get any closer, and the Lions pulled away in the final minute for a 51-41 victory.

“It would have been real easy for them just to call it quits at halftime and to give it up,” Columbus Christian coach Chris Noblitt said. “But they didn’t. They came out and made a big run there and got the other team in foul trouble and just ran out of gas at the end. They worked hard.”

The Lions (3-6) built a 30-17 halftime lead. The Crusaders (3-2) then scored the first eight points of the second half on a three-point play by Sarah Lorimor, a 3-pointer by Eva Blair and a basket by Lorimor to cut it to 30-25.

Columbus Christian held Lighthouse to two points in the third quarter and trailed 32-25 going to the fourth.

“We switched up defenses a little bit because they were tearing apart our defense out there,” Noblitt said. “I told them we were down 13, and that’s not an unbeatable margin. We just had to get after it on defense and let the defense turn into offense, and that’s what they did. Defense was great in that third quarter for sure.”

The Crusaders were within 34-28 early in the fourth and had a layup to cut the lead to four, but the Lions’ Marissa Webb grabbed the rebound and went coast-to-coast for a three-point play to push the lead back to eight.

Lighthouse went back up by 12, but Columbus Christian wasn’t done. A basket by Paige Harden, two free throws by Lauren Sanders and a basket by Lorimor brought it back to 40-34 with 3:40 remaining before an 8-0 run by the Lions put it away.

Lorimor led the Crusaders with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Sanders scored 12 points, and Blair added 10.

Abigail Bosey had 21 points and 19 rebounds, and Webb added 21 points and 12 rebounds to lead Lighthouse, which forced 30 Columbus Christian turnovers.

“The first half we just turned the ball over too much and were real sluggish in the first half,” Noblitt said. “The second half, we came out and kind of got what we wanted and got to our spots better. They fought very hard in that second half. We just ran out of gas at the end of the game.”