By JOHN HOWLEY / sportingpumpkin.com
MANSFIELD — New Hope finished strong against Calvary Christian on the way to winning the OCSAA championship Saturday 69-56.
While the Statesmen have won the Ohio Christian School Athletic Association championship before, it was the first for this group of seniors that includes Caleb Heidish, Holden Roese, Josh Mullins, Jeremiah Taylor and Connor Engen.
“For three years they’ve lived in the shadow of the group that won two state championships before,” coach Shane Roese said. “They made it to the Final Four two years ago and got beat. They made it to the finals last year and got beat. They brought it all the way back to try and do it again this year.
“They really love each other, it’s a group that really cares about each other,” he said. “It’s just a good group of kids who work hard and play hard every day in practice.”
Roese said he felt Saturday’s championship should have been the second for the group over Calvary this year.
“This team has never beaten us in basketball and we’ve never beaten them in soccer. They’ve won all the state championships in soccer,” Roese said. “This year we beat them twice (in soccer) but because of COVID we never had a state championship. We would have won, in my opinion, and so we felt like this group had won.
“This is pretty special that they have one of their own that they can hang on the wall.”
Calvary did what it could to get that first basketball win over New Hope Saturday. The Spartans kept it within three after the first quarter and led by two at halftime.
The lead bounced back and forth a few times in the third before the Statesmen got a three-pointer from Ethan Cook late in the period to take a 44-43 lead into the fourth quarter.
Holden Roese started New Hope off with a quick bucket in the fourth and then had a steal and a layup a few seconds later to put his team up 48-43.
After free throws from Calvary’s Garrett Heater, Brad Carothers and Roese combined for five points to extend the lead to eight.
The Spartans added four free throws before Donovan Geddis, Heidish, Roese and Taylor combined on the next nine points to put New Hope up 62-49 with 90 seconds left in the game.
New Hope led by as many 16 with just under a minute to go as the Statesmen hit 5 of 6 free throws after a Calvary basket.
“Calvary’s energy level was excellent. They came out in the first half and they were the aggressor. We tried to do a few different things against them in the first half that we didn’t the first time. We maybe got away from what we do best,” coach Roese said. “At halftime we went in and I just said we were going back to our man-to-man, half-court get after you, get in the passing lanes and trap the basketball when we can at half court. I think that really worked in our favor.
“We just got back to who we were in the second half. I don’t think they got very many clean looks in the second half.”
Holden Roese led four Statesmen in double figures with 19 points while Geddis had 13 and Heidish and Carothers each had 12.
Xavier Daniels led Calvary with 19.
“That third quarter, I think Donovan Geddis came out and really attacked the rim. It seemed like he was able to get to the rim and make a run,” coach Roese said. “We came out there in the fourth quarter and Holden really kind of took over the ballgame there in the first three minutes and got us out to an 8-point lead. I thought they did a nice job guarding him tonight. They were really aggressive with him, the last time we played them I think he had 36 (in a 78-45 New Hope win). They were on him, but I think he finally wore them down.”
The Spartans did end the night with a 39-25 rebounding edge led by Titus Davie with four and Daniels with five. Geddis had seven to lead New Hope.
Calvary had 18 turnovers to New Hope’s 14.
New Hope Christian Academy 69, Calvary Christian 56
Calvary Christian — Dylan Jordan 1-0-2, Titus Davie 5-0-12, Isaac Reinhard 2-4-8, Ethan Carter 2-2-8, Xavier Daniels 7-3-19, Garrett Heater 2-3-7. Three-point goals — Davie (2), Carter (2), Daniels (2). Total — 19-57 12-15 56.
New Hope Christian Academy — Caleb Heidish 3-3-12, Holden Roese 7-2-19, Brad Carothers 5-0-12, Josh Mullins 1-0-3, Andrseas Tsitroulis 1-0-2, Donovan Geddis 6-1-13, Jeremiah Taylor 0-2-2, Simon Kuhlwein 1-0-2, Lane Bruning 2-0-4. Three-point goals — Heidish (3), Roese (3), Carothers (2), Mullins. Total — 26-50 8-11 69.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
Calvary Christian 16 17 10 13 56
New Hope CA 19 12 13 25 69