The Emmanuel Christian Academy boys basketball team did something Thursday night it had never done in more than 20 years since the school was founded — win at Greenon.
The Lions struggled from the field early in the game, but battled back to beat the Knights 61-49 in nonconference action .
»RELATED: Thursday’s high school scoreboard
»RELATED: Thursday’s high school roundup
Casey Swank had a game-high 17 points for the Lions, who improved to 8-0 for the first time since 2010.
“This is a tough place to play,” said Lions coach Danny Moore. “I knew (Greenon) would be ready. We had never won here.”
Jason Channels had 14 points and Adonis Davis scored 12 as part of Emmanuel Christian’s balanced attack.
“I feel like we have five, six guys who can go for double figures every night,” Moore said.
Cade Rice had 13 points and Andrew Conover scored 10 for the Knights, who fell to 4-4 overall.
The Lions — playing for the first time in nine days — shot 11-for-30 in the first half. Greenon led 19-18 early in the second quarter, but Emmanuel went on a 10-4 run to end the half to take a 28-23 lead into the locker room.
The Lions finally found their shooting stroke in the second half, outscoring the Knights 33-26. They led by as many as 16 in the fourth quarter.
“We were trying to slow it down, work for a better shot and we were successful at that,” Moore said.
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Defensively, the Lions worked hard to stop Rice, who had 30 points and 17 rebounds in the Knights’ victory over Madison Plains last Friday. The Lions held Rice to four points in the second half, face-guarding him for most of the quarter.
“Our goal was to keep him under 14,” Moore said
The Knights are still working to find the right team chemistry, said Greenon coach Kevin Taylor.
“I was a little disappointed in the way we played as a team tonight,” he said. “I thought it was really detrimental to our defensive side of the ball and lack of sharing the ball on the offensive end, which caused a lot of turnovers. I’d really like to see our guys build that chemistry a little bit. I’m not going to put any excuses on the holiday break.”
Emmanuel Christian used a 1-2-2 press to pick up the pace in the second half, forcing Greenon into turnovers.
“They got some easy transition buckets and some easy threes,” Taylor said. “They were able to spread the lead a little bit in the second half and we had a hard time recovering.”
The Lions face a huge Metro Buckeye Conference game at 7:30 p.m. Friday night at Legacy Christian in Xenia. Both teams are undefeated in the conference at 4-0.
The key conference matchup has been looming on the Lions’ schedule for several weeks, Moore said. Now, they’re able to solely focus on Legacy Christian (6-2).
“They’re very good,” Moore said. “They’re balanced in their scoring as much as we are. They’ve got a good group of guys. They’re very talented.”