by JOHN HOWLEY / sportingpumpkin.com
Mansfield Christian turned the tide in the second half Friday to knock off New Hope Christian Academy 53-38 in the Ohio Christian School Athletic Association state semifinal.
New Hope got off to a strong start as the Statesmen led 16-6 after the first quarter in the game played at Ohio Christian University. They got six each from Jenna Tripp and Maren McCallister with Eden Leist tacking on four.
Mansfield cut into the advantage in the second, but New Hope was still up at the half, 26-21. McAllister had eight more in the second and Tripp added her third three.
“The first half we hit some big shots,” New Hope coach Brian McCallister said. “We knew we could get some shots from Jenna early. We knew they’d be keying on Maren a lot so we worked on a lot of ways to get Jenna some shots. She hit a couple of them, but they didn’t always fall in the second half.”
Mansfield was able to hold a 35-32 lead at the end of the third. The Flames limited New Hope’s offense with all six points coming from McCallister.
While the Statesmen were able to keep it within a couple possessions for most of the fourth quarter, some late pressure from Mansfield led to the Flames pulling away.
“We came in at halftime and talked about how the only team that was going to beat us was us,” coach McCallister said “There were times when we didn’t take care of the ball well enough. We get a little complacent at times and, maybe, sometimes lean on Maren a little too much. It caught up with us.
“Against a team like Mansfield, you can’t do that — they’re just too consistent. They know who they are, they know what they’re going to do and they just keep doing it. They just wait for opportunities and take advantage of them.”
Maren McCallister led all scorers in the game with 25 points while Tripp had nine for the Statesmen and Leist had four.
Anna Sparks led Mansfield with 18, Alexis Ruppel had 12 and Aubrynn Mayer had 10.
The win advances the Flames to Saturday’s 5 p.m. championship game against Dominion Academy from Dayton. Dominion was a 33-29 winner over Temple Christian from Mansfield n the other semifinal.
New Hope will be back in action at 1 p.m. Saturday playing Temple Christian in the consolation game.
“Probably in the state once you get past the four (OHSAA) divisional winners, no one else gets to finish with a win and we get to to do that,” McCallister said. “It puts us at 11-11, so we’re playing to have a winning record. Not everybody gets to have a heart-wrenching loss like that and come back and make up for it the next day.”
Mansfield Christian 53, New Hope Christian Academy 38
New Hope — Jenna Tripp 3-0-9, Eden Leist 2-0-4, Maren McCallister 9-7-25. Three-point goals — Tripp (3). Total — 14-7-38.
Mansfield Christian — Aubrynn Mayer 4-2-10, Anna Sparks 7-3-18, Abby Little 3-0-6, Alexis Ruppel 5-0-12, Kyleah Jones 3-0-6, Courtney Kissinger 0-1-1. Three-point goals — Sparks, Ruppel (2). Total — 22-6-53.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
New Hope Christian 16 10 6 6 38
Mansfield Christian 6 15 14 18 53