By John Bombatch
XENIA — It’s never much fun to lose. But the Xenia Christian boys high school basketball team is doing what it collectively can to learn from the mounting losses of this season and move on.
The host Ambassadors lost by a score of 68-32 to Dayton Christian on Friday night to fall to 0-15 overall and 0-8 in the Metro Buckeye Conference. It was the team’s lowest scoring output of the season.
“Typically we’ve had a little bit more energy than we had tonight,” Xenia Christian coach Brad Newsome said. “The players and coaches understand that this is a journey. And on that journey there’s going to be some bumps along the road. We probably have had a few more bumps than we’d wish we had, but being so young, that doesn’t change the journey.”
“There are still some things that we’ve had grow out of this season, both individually and as a team, so ultimately that’s what it’s all about. Sometimes you just get more W’s than at other times.”
Five-foot-9 sophomore guard Ashton Burke entered Friday’s game second in the MBC in scoring with a 17.4 points per game average. Burke also leads the league in assists with five per game and is second in steals with 2.9 per contest.
Junior 6-1 forward David Kensinger is currently fifth in the MBC in rebounds with seven per game.
Both players remain optimistic this season.
“Yeah, we just have to keep doing the things coach tells us to do on a consistent and daily basis,” Burke said. “Our offense has improved since the season started. We understand that it will just take us some time to gel as a team.”
Kensinger said the team is working on adjusting to first-year coach Newsome’s game plan while adjusting to each other, all at the same time.
“I’d say that this year it’s been hard to change our culture, but that our team has been pretty efficient in trying to do that. It’s a very young team with a varying bunch of ages. So we’re trying to come together with a whole bunch 0f different age groups and a whole bunch of different skills. It’s been kinda tough, but I think we’re doing pretty good with that,” Kensinger added.
Xenia Christian led the game, 4-2, with roughly three minutes left to play in the opening period of play. But the Warriors (6-10, 5-3 MBC) closed out the first quarter with an 11-4 run, then opened up the second quarter with an 18-0 run, to take command of the game.
Dayton Christian’s size may have had something to do with the team’s success. Six-foot-4 Brantley Mills led all scorers with 18 points, and 6-5 Michael Hennen finished with 14.
Ten of the 14 players on Xenia Christian’s online roster are either freshmen or sophomores.
Junior Austin Frueh led XC in scoring with six, freshman Josh Frueh tossed in five points while freshmen Eric Uszynski and Brandon Martin both scored four.
“I think we just gotta focus on what we’re trying to do and stay that focused,” Burke said. “When we fall apart from what we’re trying to do, we don’t play well. But there’s always another game, and there’s always another practice. There’s always another time to get better. That’s what our team is about. We’re about getting better and getting ready for the next game.”
Looking back to last season, the Ambassadors last won a regular season basketball game on Feb. 13, 2015 — a 75-60 home win over Springfield Emmanuel Christian. Xenia Christian will play Emmanuel Christian at home on Feb.2 and away on Feb. 5.
The Ambassadors’ 2015-‘16 bumpy journey continues at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29 when they’ll host MBC foe Middletown Christian.