Crusader girls to face Defenders for fourth time after easy semifinal win

Columbus Christian’s Olivia Wise drives to the basket during Friday’s ICSAA South Regional semifinals at Columbus Christian School.

Nicholas Shaw | For The Republic

Columbus Christian has beaten Christian Academy of Madison three times this girls basketball season, and to win its first Indiana Christian Schools Athletic Association Regional title since 2020, the Crusaders will have to do it a fourth time.

Buoyed by a dominant first half Friday, Columbus Christian rolled into today’s 4 p.m. championship game with a 62-6 semifinal win against Pleasant View Christian on Friday. Christian Academy received a bye into the title game.

“If we work better than we did today, we’ll be OK,” Crusaders sophomore Olivia Wise said. ”I think today was just a good warmup for (today’s) game.”

Wise scored 17 of her game-high 19 points in the first half to lead Columbus Christian to a 52-4 lead at the break. That ensured a running clock in the second half and some Crusader substitutions and plenty of diligence when the Crusaders had the ball.

“The girls did listen very well,” Columbus Christian coach Chris Noblitt said. “They did what we wanted them to do. We were able to do some different things in the second half that will hopefully translate into (today).“

Emma Murray added 14 points and six rebounds, leading the Crusaders to a 30-23 advantage on the boards. Paige Harden and Katie Bond each added nine points.

“I think we worked together decently well,” Wise said. “We could have stronger passes, but I thought we did all right. We had some good fast breaks and good passes there.”

Harden had injured a knee in Monday’s loss at Horizon Christian in the regular-season finale.

“Emma (Rice) and Paige were out some this week,” Noblitt said. “Paige got hurt on Monday, so being able to rest them and give them another day, hopefully, they’ll be ready for (today).”

Columbus Christian pulled put a 48-47 double-overtime win against Christian Academy in the Southern Roads Conference Tournament in December. The Crusaders had a little easier time against the Defenders (5-9) in their two January meetings, winning 58-37 at home and 41-24 in Madison.

“They’re a scrappy team,” Noblitt said. “We know what they’re going to bring. They’re going to bring a lot of pressure. They have some talent, and they’re going to play physical and play fast and play scrappy, so if we don’t show up, they can definitely hand it to us.”

Columbus Christian 62, Pleasant View Christian 6

Pleasant View Christian;0;4;0;2;—;6

Columbus Christian;27;25;8;2;—;62

Pleasant View Christian (0-6): Angela Yoder 0 0-0 0, Olivia Hedrick 2 0-3 4, Johanna Wittman 0 0-2 0, Bella Brett 0 0-0 0, Elizabeth Hedrick 0 0-4 0, Hannah Knepp 1 0-0 2, Makayla King 0 0-2 0. Totals: 3 0-11 6.

Columbus Christian (13-12): Kaeli Clawson 2 0-0 4, Eva Blair 0 0-0 0, Paige Harden 4 0-3 9, Katie Bond 3 2-2 9, Olivia Wise 9 1-2 19, Emma Rice 1 0-0 2, Mara Nickerson 0 0-2 0, Belle Blair 2 1-2 5, Emma Murray 7 0-2 14. Totals: 28 4-11 62.

3-point goals: Pleasant View Christian 0; Columbus Christian 2 (Harden, Bond).