by JOHN HOWLEY / sportingpumpkin.com
If Milford Christian had plans of making a second-half comeback, Lane Bruning had other ideas.
The sophomore had 19 of his 44 points in the third quarter Friday night to lead New Hope Christian Academy to an 86-60 win.
“I was getting open looks and my teammates were getting me the ball,” Bruning said. “I had good looks at the three and knocked them down.”
Bruning went 7-9 in the period, including sinking all five from the behind the arc. For the game he was 15-22 from the field and 8-8 from the line with 10 rebounds.
“He controlled the first half. When we set him down they made that run back at us in the first half,” New Hope coach Shane Roese said. “When he came out in that third quarter and got hot, we just kept feeding him. He knows he’s got the green light.
“That was a special run. And those guys played hard on him, he just made shots.”
Fifteen points in the first quarter from Bruning helped the Statesmen to an early 22-7 lead.
While Bruning spent some time on the bench in the second quarter, the Bulldogs worked their way back into the game, but the half ended with New Hope up 41-26.
“We wanted to come out aggressively on the defensive end. We got after them, turned them over, we rebounded well and the rebounds turn into transition. The last two games we’ve played, our transition game has finally hit its stride,” Roese said. “We’re not a team that can fight you in the half court and grind out a win, we’ve got to get some of those clean looks in transition.
“Then we went stagnant. They got it to eight, I think it was 29-21, and we just settled back down. We made a nice run there at the end of the half to go up 15. I thought that was important, it could have been a ball game if we let it stay at eight.”
Hunter Cavanaugh had 10 of his 12 in the second quarter and Simon Kuhlwein put in seven of his 15 during the period.
Robbie Johnson led Milford with 23 points and Hunter Guiton and 20.
The win advances the Statesmen (10-11) to the Ohio Christian School Athletic Association final four next weekend at Ohio Christian University.
“We play a tough schedule and we play it for that reason so that when we get into our tournament against teams more our size, we’re prepared,” Roese said. “There were a couple games down the stretch with (Bishop) Hartley and Wellington where we really struggled and we struggled because they were really good. I was worried about our confidence, but we’ve had these last two ballgames where things have come together.
“It’s expectations – we want to be there. We’ve got two games left and, if we can get past the next one, we’ve got a team waiting on us that’s beat us twice this year.
“It’s special and it’s good to have something to play for.
The Statesmen take on Temple Christian at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Ohio Christian University.
New Hope’s girls also are in the OCSAA final four and will be playing their semi-final at 3 Friday.
New Hope 86, Milford Christian 60
Milford Christian — Robbie Johnson 7-5-23, Hunter Guiton 10-0-20, Ben Watson 3-0-8, Chris Bingham 1-3-6, Caden Hargis 0-3-3. Three-point goals — Johnson (4), Watson (2), Bingham. Total — 21-11-60.
New Hope — Hunter Cavanaugh 3-2-12, Adam Rink 1-0-2, Simon Kuhlwein 5-3-15, Danny Sagraves 1-0-2, Ethan Cook 1-0-2, Lane Bruning 15-8-44, Tyler Cook 3-0-7, Sam Davis 1-0-2. Three-point goals — Cavanaugh (2), Kuhlwein (2), Cook, Bruning (6). Total — 32-69 11-13 86.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
Milford Christian 7 19 20 14 60
New Hope 22 19 27 18 86