XENIA — Even though his Legacy Christian Knights had a solid 31-22 lead over visiting Fenwick at halftime, girls basketball coach Mark Combs was prepared for a challenge in the second half. And he got it.
Legacy Christian withstood a big Fenwick second-half rally and claimed a 52-43 home win, Thursday, Jan. 4.
His Knights (11-2, 6-0 and in first place in the Metro Buckeye Conference) were looking pretty good at halftime, but Combs said he intentionally saved his timeouts for whatever Scott Dalton’s Falcons were going to throw at him.
And when the run came, his players didn’t panic.
“That was the key. We were up maybe 16-17 points (43-26 with 2:07 to go in the third quarter), all of a sudden you look up and the lead is four points! But we didn’t panic. I tried to save some timeouts, because I thought that they would probably make a run, when they ramped up their defensive pressure.
“But then we ended up getting some good shots that we wanted. Anne Kensinger hit some big shots, I thought Maddy (Combs) played really really well … We had to handle their pressure, and we went through stretches when we didn’t handle it real well, but overall I was very pleased with how we handled it.”
Fenwick (6-5, 1-4 out of the always-tough Greater Catholic League Coed) went into a full-court press late in the third quarter, and it paid the Falcons some dividends.
The Falcons reeled off a 5-0 scoring run to close out the quarter and make it 43-31, Knights. Fenwick outscored LCA by a 10-2 margin to open up the fourth quarter to pull within four points of the lead at 45-41 with just under 7 minutes yet to play.
But a combination of scores from Legacy Christian’s Kensinger, Emma Hess, Emily Riddle and Combs closed things out with a 7-2 Knights run for the final 52-43 score.
Combs sees one key factor in the Knights’ success this season.
“For one, they get along great. You can really tell that when you’re around them,” Combs said. “Usually what translates out of that is they share the ball really well, and they play for each other. It’s a mature group, some of them play a lot of basketball, they know what we’re after and they go out and give it every night.”
Kensinger and Combs both finished with 13 points, and Riddle finished with 12 in the win. The Knights return to action on Monday, Jan. 8 against MBC foe Troy Christian. That’s also the next day that LCA students will have school, as it was announced after the game that there would be no school on Friday.
Asked whether the No School decision was because of the weather or the team’s win, Athletic Director Bev Moser coyly smiled and answered “Yes.”
Fenwick gets back to the GCL Coed North battles on Wednesday, Jan. 10 when they’ll play at Chaminade Julienne. Anne Beebe led the Falcons in scoring Thursday with 11 points; and Elena Daly finished with 10.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.