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Crusaders rally past Warriors

by Tony Burns | November 16, 2022 at 12:57 a.m.

Columbia Christian used a second-half surge to push past West Side Christian 50-36 Tuesday at the Warrior Center to hand the Warriors their first loss. West Side fell to 4-1 on the season.

The Warriors led throughout the first half and were up 21-16 a minute into the third quarter. But the Crusaders scored nine unanswered points and finished the third on a 16-6 run to carry a 32-27 advantage into the fourth.

Columbia Christian pulled away down the stretch, finishing the game on a 15-6 run.

The Crusaders extended the defensive pressure in the second half and West Side contributed turnovers and offensive rebounds in its demise.

“The first half we were able to take care of the ball for the most part,” said West Side coach Randall Miller. “In the second half they got some second chances, put them in and they got to the free throw line, also. I thought they pulled away from us in that stretch, mainly at the line. That’s uncharacteristic of us. We’ve not turned it over and we haven’t given up a lot of offensive rebounds. Tonight, we did those things.”

In the game’s pivotal third quarter stretch, the Crusaders turned two steals into layups and took the lead. Jackson Newton scored inside before Connor Burley scored off a steal. Landon Burley drained a 3-pointer and then scooped up a steal and bucket with 3:56 left in the third. The 9-0 spurt turned the Warriors’ five-point lead into a 25-21 deficit.

Of Columbia Christian’s pressure defense, Miller said, “I didn’t think we handled it well. Now, we’ve seen it. Most teams have done that to us and we’ve handled it well. Tonight, I don’t think we did handle it for whatever reason. I thought we played a little panicked when we were down five.”

Landon Burley hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to push the margin to 32-27 going into the fourth. Newton opened the fourth with a three-point play.

The Warriors cut the deficit to 35-30 on a 3-pointer by Nathan Pearson. But the Crusaders scored the next nine points, including hitting 5-of-6 free throws.

“I’ve got to keep developing our guards to make sure we can handle that pressure when they try to take Nathan away from us,” said Miller, whose depth was compromised due to three players being out sick.

“I just thought they played better than we did. I thought they took care of the ball and hit the glass hard.  And we did not do those two things. I thought that was the difference.”

Landon Burley scored 14 of his game-high 20 points in the third quarter to lead Columbia Christian. Newton added 15 and Connor Burley scored 10.

Pearson paced the Warriors with 19 points. Cayson Martin added 15.

“We play two times Thursday and one game Friday. I hope our kids can heal up because we’ve got three more games this week,” said Miller.

West Side will participate in a Columbia Christian jamboree on Thursday and will play at Garrett Memorial on Friday.

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