The Emmanuel Christian Academy boys basketball team knows it can’t savor last season’s success.
After starting 3-9, the Lions won seven of their last 13 games and advanced to the Division IV district finals for the first time in school history.
The Lions return six players from last year’s team, including leading scorers Adonis Davis (17.5 points per game) and Fred Shropshire (10.9 points per game).
»RELATED: Wednesday’s high school scoreboard
»RELATED: Wednesday’s high school roundup
Lions coach Danny Moore is pushing his players to stay focused on getting back to the districts this season.
“You can’t let them live on last year,” Moore said. “This year, we’re started from base and said ‘Here’s where we need to get,’ and we just went after it.”
The Lions are 2-0 this season after beating Northeastern 79-45 on Tuesday. Emmanuel had five players score in double figures — Casey Swank and Shropshire each had 17, while Jaden Nourse had 13, Jason Channels had 11 and Davis added 10.
“We feel like we’re deep,” Moore said. “We feel like we’ve got guys that can step up on any given night. Our leading scorer (Davis) only had 10 tonight, but other people were able to step up.”
Emmanuel Christian will face stiff competition in the Metro Buckeye Conference against the likes of Legacy Christian, Dayton Christian and Troy Christian.
“It’s going to get us ready for the tournament and every league game is going to be hard,” Moore said. “Even through the middle, everybody is going to come out to play every night.”
The Lions know they can make a run this season, but it will take hard work to have continued success, Davis said.
“We’ve got a lot of potential, but we really need to work on it and get better,” he said.
The program has 26 players total, including a freshman team. The Lions return 11 upperclassmen, including seven juniors — the majority of which have been with the program since seventh grade.
“That’s the biggest difference,” Moore said. “The last couple years the kids are staying, buying into what we’re doing.”
Team chemistry has been key in the team’s success, he said.
“The guys love to play together,” Moore said. “They love each other, they take care of each other. That makes it fun to coach.”
Career night: Kenton Ridge junior Tyler Eberhart scored a career-high 29 points in the Cougars’ season-opening loss to Catholic Central last week.
The 6-foot-7 junior worked hard on his game over the summer, KR coach Kris Spriggs said.
“He’s put the time in,” Spriggs said. “He had a great summer. From the conclusion of last year to now, he just worked his butt off. His hard work paid off and hopefully it’s just the start of what he’s capable of doing.”
The Cougars bounced back with a 51-48 win over Urbana on Tuesday.
He’s on fire: Northwestern senior Evan Noffke is averaging 30.5 points per game for the 2-0 Warriors.
He scored a career-high 37 points in the Warriors’ 71-55 victory over Greeneview on Dec. 1.
Northwestern plays Graham (2-0) in the Central Buckeye Conference Mad River Division opener on Friday.
On the road again: Springfield hosts Miamisburg in its home opener at 7 p.m. Friday, but won’t play at home again for more than two weeks.
The Wildcats (1-1) travel to Upper Arlington at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11, then play Centerville in a key Greater Western Ohio Conference National East Division game on Friday, Dec. 14.
Springfield, which beat Beavercreek and lost to Pickerington Central over the opening weekend, returns home on Dec. 21 to face Northmont.
Back-to-back: Shawnee is 0-2, dropping games to Vandalia Butler and Chaminade-Julienne.
The Braves can right the ship this weekend against two Clark County rivals — Tecumseh (1-1) and Southeastern (0-2).
Shawnee travels to Tecumseh for its CBC Kenton Trail Division opener on Friday night. After three road games to start the season, the Braves host the Trojans on Saturday night.