XENIA — Host Legacy Christian Academy got the hot hand in the third quarter, and the Knights turned a close game into a solid win over previously unbeaten Emmanuel Christian Academy, Friday, Jan. 4, in a battle between the Metro Buckeye Conference’s best.
LCA defeated ECA, 63-45, a game that saw the visiting Lions leading at halftime.
The contest had a one-point difference midway through the third quarter, but that’s when the Knights went on a 14-2 run that spanned nearly three of the quarter’s final four minutes.
Keano Hammerstrom hit a pair of 3-pointers during the run, and he assisted on a jarring dunk by freshman teammate Mike Sharavjamts. Jon Riddle scored to give LCA its first double-digit lead at 43-33, and then Roman Newsome had a couple scores during the run, including an exclamation point half-court score at the third-quarter buzzer to give the Knights a 49-36 lead with eight minutes left to play.
Legacy outscored Emmanuel 14-9 the rest of the way to seal the win. Hammerstrom scored a game-high 19 points, Erik Uszynski finished with 15 points, and Newsome was the other Knight in double figures with 11.
Both coaches appreciated how the game was played, but realized they’ve got plenty to improve before the post season rolls around.
“Eh, … we won. I’m happy that the guys played hard. They made some adjustments and played a little more of the style of ball that they like to play in that third quarter, and I think that gave us some rhythm to be able to finish it off,” LCA coach Brad Newsome said. “Danny (Moore)’s got a really good team. We got this one tonight, but we know that we’ve gotta keep workin’.”
The LCA win put the Knights alone at the top of the Metro Buckeye Conference standings at 5-0 in conference play, with ECA right behind at 4-1. Legacy has a 9-2 overall record, while Emmanuel is now 7-1.
Adonis Davis led ECA with 17 points, but was limited to five in the second half. Casey Swank was the other Lion in double figures with 10.
Both coaches pointed to their next meeting (Feb. 1 in the Lions’ gym) as another key game in the MBC race.
“The problem we had was that, when we’d miss shots, they’d have transition looks (the other way), and we did not do a good job stopping transition looks in the second half,” Lions coach Danny Moore said. “And then (LCA) was very efficient. They had a 50-percent shooting night (from the floor), mainly because they had a lot of good looks. They’re a very unselfish team, not that we’re not. But I thought some of our shot selections tonight were a little iffy, but that was because they changed our shots. They definitely have probably two of the bigger boys we’ve seen this year.”
Knights senior forward Uszynski is listed at 6-foot-5; freshman center Sharavjamts is 6-6.
The loss was Emmanuel’s first since a district final loss to Russia back on March 9. Moore said his team will be tested during a stretch where his Lions will have played five games between Friday and Jan. 12. ECA is at Miami Valley for a 7 p.m. Metro Buckeye battle on Jan. 5.
Legacy doesn’t have as busy of a schedule. Newsome’s Knights are back in action for a 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8 MBC contest at Troy Christian.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.