CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio — A tale of two halves.
The Ohio Valley Christian boys basketball team led the majority of the first half Friday night in the Ohio Christian School Athletic Association state semifinal and the Warriors fell just short of knotting the game before the half. Once Christian Community School took the lead the Warriors held it for most of the second half and OVCS was the team that came just short of evening the game at the end.
OVCS took the early 6-2 lead at the 3:00 mark of the first period and CCS rallied to tie the game at eight with a minute remaining in the opener. The Defenders closed the first with a 5-2 run to take the three-point edge into the second.
The Defenders held CCS without a field goal for over three minutes in the second quarter and built a 21-12 lead. The Warriors mounted a comeback run and finished the half trailing by just two points, 23-21.
Ohio Valley Christian scored the opening bucket of the second half but Christian Community countered with a 7-0 run to take the 29-25 lead at the 6:30 mark of the third quarter. OVCS cut the lead to two points with a 4-to-2 spurt over three minutes but the Warriors closed the third period with a 10-3 run.
Leading 40-32 with eight minutes to play, the Green and White quickly expanded their lead to 12 within the opening minute of the fourth. The Defenders rallied back to cut the deficit to a pair, sparked by back-to-back trifectas by T.G. Miller. CCS scored four consecutive points, pushing the lead back to six, but OVCS tied the game at 48 with three minutes to play.
Christian Community scored back-to-back baskets to take the four-point lead with a minute to play but the Defenders cashed in on a pair of free throw with 37 seconds to play. CCS junior K.J. Miller stepped to the charity stripe with 11 seconds left and nailed two free throws to put the lead to four points. Down two possessions, the Defenders could not complete the comeback and the Warriors claimed the 54-50 triumph and a spot in the state championship.
T.G. Miller led the Defenders with 30 points including a 14-of-16 performance from the charity stripe and 14 points in the fourth quarter. Marshall Hood marked six points for OVCS, while Evan Bowman and Elijah McDonald each had five markers. Phil Hollingshead rounded out the Ohio Valley Christian scoring with four points in the setback.
The Defenders were 14-of-41 (34.1 percent) from the field and 19-of-24 (79.2 percent) from the free throw line. OVCS had 28 rebounds, five assists, nine blocks and nine steals.
Hood led the Defenders with 11 rebounds and had all nine team rejections. Miller had nine rebounds and led the way with five steals. Dillon Ragan marked a team-high three assists, while Bowman marked two steals.
K.J. Miller led the North Eaton natives with 23 points, followed by Tom Nowoslawski with 10 points and P.J. Norris with seven. Jacob Pshock had five points, Nate Hull added four, Alante Johnson finished with two points and Jacob Baker rounded out the Warrior total with one point.