TROY — Greene County schools Legacy Christian Academy and Cedarville did what highly seeded teams are supposed to do in the first rounds of sectional tournaments — win, and win big.
Top-seeded Legacy Christian rolled over No. 13 seed East Dayton Christian by a 75-35 score, while No. 4 seed Cedarville had no problem with Ohio Heritage Conference foe South Charleston Southeastern, winning 74-51.
The Knights sputtered in the beginning and fell behind 7-0 to the upstart Eagles in the game’s first two minutes. But it wasn’t long before Legacy gained its composure and went on a scoring binge of its own.
LCA reeled off the next 13 points to grab the lead for good, 13-7, with still 2:41 yet to play in the opening quarter. Knights coach Brad Newsome said the sluggish start was indicative of how the team had been practicing.
“We’d praticed like that for the last three days, so that wasn’t a shocker, I’m sorry to say. Practice mirrored that start,” Newsome said. “… But we just kept going, and got into what we like to do: We press you and get up and down the court, and we were able to do that.”
Senior Erik Uszynski led the Knights charge with 28 points, Mike Sharavjamts added 15 points, and Roman Newsome scored 10. Newsome said he intentionally chose a first-round game as a way of getting his younger players — like freshman Sharavjamts and sophomore John Riddle — familiar to playing in a bigger gym, in a tournament atmosphere.
“We wanted to get those guys some experience of playing in the tournament. Two of our starters, this was their first time. Erik and Keano (Hammerstrom) have been here before, and Roman was here last year. But Mike and John hadn’t been here. Mike was playing junior high basketball last year.
“I think we’ll have a better rhythm as the tournament goes on.”
The Knights (20-3) move on to play 10th seeded Newton in the second round, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26 at Troy High.
Cedarville 74, Southeastern 51
Cedarville’s Ben Tarwater had a career night, scoring 21 points to help the Cedarville Indians to a first-round win over Southeastern, in Friday’s 6 p.m. early game. Tarwater and the team’s scoring leader Colby Cross both scored 21, while Trent Koning finished with 20, and C.J. Pahl scored eight.
“It’s the most points I’ve had with this team, and it means a lot to me that we were able to work together,” Tarwater said. “We lost to them the first time we played them at their place, so it’s good that we could come here on a neutral floor and beat ‘em.”
Indians coach Ryan Godlove emphasized to the team prior to Friday’s game that he needed someone beside the team’s two leading scorers (Cross and Koning) to step up and score. Tarwater fit that bill quite nicely.
“Trent Koning probably had his best game of the year, too. We knew that, at any moment, he’s capable of doing that. But I thought he took that next step of showing us what he is capable of,” Godlove said. “And Benjamin Tarwater? I can’t say enough about what he did for us on the offensive end tonight. The way they play us, they force someone else to have to beat them, and Tarwater was that X Factor today.”
Cedarville is now 13-10 overall. The Indians advance to take on No. 5 seeded Franklin Monroe next, again they’ll play before Legacy’s game, at 6 p.m. at Troy. The Indians defeated Franklin Monroe on a late fourth-quarter shot, 51-50 back on Jan. 26.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.