By John Bombatch
XENIA — Legacy Christian Academy trailed by as many as 12 points in the second half, but they battled back, only to watch Dayton Christian show a lot of poise at the free-throw line. With 5-of-8 shooting from the foul line in the game’s final 90 seconds of play, Dayton Christian pulled out a 42-39 win, Thursday on the Xenia campus.
The Legacy Christian student section yelled out just about every TV commercial they could think of, whenever a Warriors free-throw shooter was at the line. But the strategy didn’t seem to work.
With each “Every Kiss begins with Kay” or “What’s in Your Wallet?” the kids screamed out, DC’s Marin Reis would hit her free throw, turn and glare at the student section, then offer up a sweet but snide smile.
Reis hit 6-of-8 free throws for the game, and she was a near-perfect 5-for-6 with the students pestering her down the stretch. She finished with 12 points for Dayton Christian.
Warrior teammate Abbey Erisman led DC with 15 points scored, which tied Legacy’s Emily Riddle for high-scoring honors. Erisman, too, wasn’t bothered by the students’ heckling commercials. She connected on 5-of-7 free throws, all in the fourth quarter.
Dayton Christian converted 13 of its 19 free throw tries in all.
“That was a close game,” said Dayton Christian coach Paul Orme. “We threw the ball away a bit too much in that fourth quarter, but to Legacy’s credit they really battled back and played with a lot of heart. Our girls were able to hold them off, and hit some free throws at the end. It was a hard-fought contest by both sides all the way.”
An Erisman jumper from the left side gave DC the lead, 32-20, with 10.4 seconds left to play in the third quarter. But the Knights’ Emily Riddle came down the floor on LCA’s next possession and drained a 3-pointer from the right corner to pull Legacy within nine, 32-23.
The Knights tied the game at 37-all with 1:39 left in the game, on yet another Riddle 3-point shot.
That’s when Reis went to work from the foul line, hitting 5 of her six tries — and turning to the LCA student section to hit them with a ornery smile — in the final 1:33 of the game.
Riddle led the Knights with her 15 points, Rachel Sweeney finished with eight points, while Olivia Combs and Victoria Howarah both scored seven.
LCA coach Mark Combs said Dayton Christian’s height was somewhat of a factor, (the Warriors have eight players on their roster who are 5-foot-9 or taller, and three who are 6-feet tall or more), but it wasn’t the reason for the loss.
“It was a factor, but it’s not as if we don’t face that every game. We don’t have any height, so we’re pretty used to that reality,” Combs said. “Our major issue tonight was that we just didn’t make shots tonight. I haven’t seen our free-throw percentages or our field goal percentages yet, but we just didn’t make shots tonight.”
Unofficially, LCA converted 7-of-21 free throw tries. And whenever the Knights seemed to miss a shot from the floor, the taller Warrior defenders often prevented LCA from getting a second try.
The LCA loss ends a four-game winning streak for the Knights, who are now 4-2 overall, 0-1 in the Metro Buckeye Conference. With Thursday’s win, Dayton Christian is now 2-2 overall, 1-1 MBC. They’ll host Riverside on Saturday in a nonleague game.
Legacy Christian will be back at home for its next game, a 6:45 p.m. MBC contest Monday, Dec. 12 against Springfield Emmanuel Christian.