by JOHN HOWLEY / sportingpumpkin.com
Calvary Christian finished with a final run to capture the Ohio Christian School Athletic Association state championship 49-44 over New Hope Christian Academy Saturday night.
The Spartans scored nine points in the final 70 seconds to go from trailing by three to winning the school’s first title.
“We talked this morning about it and this is going to sound really, really cliché, but it was going to come down to buckets. It was going to come down to who could make shots at the right time,” New Hope coach Shane Roese said. “We talked before the game that it was going to be a game of runs. It really was going to come down to who could make the last run and, obviously, they did.”
The Spartans went from being down one to start the second half to being up by as many as five before finishing the third quarter with a 35-32 lead.
The Statesmen struggled to get a shot to fall early in the fourth before Hunter Cavanaugh hit a three-pointer with four minutes left. Lane Bruning followed with a three and Cavanaugh hit another to put New Hope up 41-37 with 2:39 left.
New Hope got a turnover from Calvary a few second later but wasn’t able to take advantage of it.
Calvary’s Isaac Reinhard sunk a three with two minutes left to pull within one.
A drive by Bruning made it a three-point game again with 1:19 showing. Calvary’s Xavier Daniels came back with a quick bucket to close the gap to one with 1:10 showing.
Calvary scored seven of the final eight points as New Hope missed out on some free throw opportunities. The Statesmen were 1-4 from the line in the final minute, including missing the front end of two one-and-ones.
“We struggled there in the third quarter. They came out and switched to the 2-3 zone which took away our energy, took away our pace, took away our tempo,” Roese said. “We didn’t get behind too far. We hung in there and midway through that fourth quarter we made our own run.
“We felt good about where we were and they just made shots. They made shots and we had some untimely missed free throws.”
Hunter Cavanaugh led New Hope with 14 points while Lane Bruning had 13.
Daniels led Calvary with 16 points and Reinhard had 11.
The Statesmen lose three seniors off the team that went 11-12.
“There is a lot of love in this program. There is lot commitment to love one another, commitment to leading. And not only leading, but leading in the right way,” an emotional coach Roese said when talking about those seniors. “Danny Sagraves didn’t play a ton of minutes for us this year but his effort and his energy in practice were maybe the best on the team. Day in and day out he brought it and made people better. He’s just a super young man.
“Marek McCallister is a guy who four years ago didn’t want to play. Basically his mom and dad and I asked for him to give me a month and try it. He was a soccer guy and didn’t want to play basketball. He’s been one of the finest leaders we’ve had here at New Hope. It’s not going to fill a stat line, but his effort, his energy, his vocal leadership are maybe some of the best we’ve ever had.
“Simon Kuhlwein played on the JV last year and it’s testimony that if you go out and spend time in the driveway – he spent time in my driveway nightly,” Roese said. “I’ve got a light out there and he would come out and hook that light up after working on the farm and shoot basketball. My wife would get upset because she would say, ‘Shane, Simon is in the driveway.’ I’d say I know. ‘It’s 10 o’clock and he’s in the driveway.’ Yeah, isn’t it beautiful? She said, ’I can’t sleep.’ I said, I don’t care.
“Simon put the work in and because of the work he put in, we let him take the shots. He made the shots and carried us offensively the biggest portion of the season. He’s the heart and soul of the team and I can’t say enough good about him.”
Calvary Christian 49, New Hope 44
New Hope — Hunter Cavanaugh 5-2-14, Andrew Swank 1-0-2, Simon Kuhlwein 2-1-7, Ethan Cook 1-0-3, Tyler Cook 1-2-4, Lane Bruning 5-0-13. Three-point goals — Cavanaugh (3), Kuhlwein (2), Bruning (3). Total — 15-47 5-9 44.
Calvary Christian — Kaden Downey 1-0-3, Ezra Davie 5-0-12, Xavier Daniels 5-2-16. Isaac Reinhard 4-2-11, Patrick James 3-1-7. Three-point goals —Downey, Davie (2), Daniels (4), Reinhard. Total — 18-5-49.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
New Hope Christian 11 13 8 12 44
Calvary Christian 9 14 12 14 49