Crusaders hold on for fourth straight win

Peyton Walden

After building a 24-point halftime lead Monday night, Columbus Christian coach Kevin Roth decided to give his bench players a little more action in the second half.

In the end, Roth had to put his starters back in after Rooted School from Indianapolis cut the lead to six points with 7 seconds left in the game, and the Crusaders held on for a 67-59 victory.

“We had a busy week last week with three games and three wins, and I was hoping we’d get out to a good start and I thought we did,” Roth said. “We distributed it well and got the ball inside to Peyton (Walden), and he was doing well in there. Then I thought we’d bring some guys in to get some experience because two of those games last week, we only played six guys. So it was a good chance to get some of those guys in there and get some experience because those four (starting) seniors, that’s going to be big holes to fill.”

Tied 13-13 late in the first quarter, Columbus Christian (13-12) went on a 13-0 run to take control. The Crusaders built the lead to 42-18 at halftime, with mostly subs in the game the final couple minutes of the half.

Columbus Christian still led 49-25 midway through the third quarter when the Royals scored 13 in a row to cut the lead in less than half. The Crusaders scored the next seven points, prompting Roth to go to his bench.

“We came out a little flat-footed on the defensive end in the second half, but there at the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth quarter, we really applied more defensive pressure and got out to a bigger lead,” senior point guard Cam Pritchard said.

“We had a good first half, but then that second half, we got a little overconfident, and they wanted it more in the second half for sure,” Walden added. “We just weren’t as focused at the start of that second half. But we came out with the victory, so that’s all that matters.”

Walden led Columbus Christian with 25 points and six rebounds. Pritchard scored 12 points and senior Josh Conrad added nine.

The fourth senior starter, Branson Carr, did not play after spraining an ankle in Saturday’s win against Crothersville. Nine of the 12 Crusaders who suited up Monday scored.

“We’re playing better as a team for sure,” Walden said. “We have more people scoring, and we’re passing the ball more.”

“We’re just passing the ball more, playing more as a team and it’s really fun to be on the court,” Pritchard added.

Columbus Christian outrebounded the Royals 40-27 in overcoming 27 turnovers. Roth knew it wasn’t pretty, but he’ll take a fourth consecutive victory.

“As long as we have one more point than the guest, I’m OK with that,” Roth said.

Columbus Christian 67, Rooted School 59

Rooted School;13;5;18;23;—;59

Columbus Christian;21;21;7;18;—;67

Rooted School: Rahman Durham 0 0-0 0, Terrion Adams 1 1-5 3, Raven Moncrief 4 0-0 10, Antwan Greer 1 0-0 3, Jeremiah Sword 0 0-0 0, Corey Coleman 2 0-0 5, Jaon Wilson 8 4-8 21, Jamir Caldwell 8 0-0 17. Totals: 24 5-13 59.

Columbus Christian (14-12): Adam Haines 0 1-2 1, Jayden Howe 2 1-2 6, Levi Johnston 0 0-2 0, Cam Pritchard 4 2-2 12, Brian Fox 0 1-2 1, Branson Howe 0 0-0 0, Ben Halsey 0 0-0 0, Cannon Carr 2 1-2 5, Josh Conrad 3 2-4 9, Peyton Walden 11 3-5 25, Elijah Fields 3 0-0 6, Heath Harrison 1 0-0 2. Totals: 26 11-21 67.

3-point goals: Rooted School 6 (Moncrief 2, Greer, Coleman, Wilson, Caldwell); Columbus Christian 4 (Pritchard 2, J. Howe, Conrad).