The Emmanuel Christian Academy boys basketball team wasn’t going to let a halftime lead slip away for a second time this season against rival Dayton Christian.
The Lions won their 17th straight game inside The Lions Den, beating the Warriors 49-40 in a Metro Buckeye Conference showdown between first-place teams on Friday night in Springfield.
Fred Shropshire and Jason Channels each scored 11 points, Casey Swank added 10 and Noah Willis had eight for the Lions (11-2, 7-1 MBC).
Emmanuel Christian has won 10 straight games since falling to Dayton Christian 52-29 on Dec. 7 in a game they led by 17 points at halftime. The Lions weren’t going to let it happen again, said Lions coach Danny Moore.
“That game taught us a lot,” he said. “The biggest thing it taught us was the grit that we needed tonight to just step through and play defense. I thought they did a great job playing defense at the most important times of the game when we needed them to.”
Emmanuel Christian led 24-17 at the half and extended its lead to 35-27 after three quarters. Channels went 4-for-6 from the free throw line down the stretch to seal the victory for the Lions.
Freshman Isaiah Edwards scored 18 points for the Warriors (8-5, 6-2 MBC), including all 10 of their points in the fourth quarter against the Lions zone defense.
“It was difficult for us to score,” said Warriors coach JT Holliday. “I give a lot of credit to them. They’re a good team. We didn’t take them lightly. It’s a small court and when they play that zone it’s easy for them to close out. I thought we executed the way we wanted to execute, but the shots didn’t fall as we had hoped.”
Emmanuel Christian didn’t play its best game, turning the ball over nine times in the second half as the Warriors utilized a full-court press.
“(These types of games) make you tougher,” Moore said. “You get a chance to learn without it hurting too much. … Credit DC on that, I thought they had a good plan of attack for traps on us. We should’ve planned a little bit better on that.”
The Lions haven’t lost at home in nearly two years. The program’s last home loss came on Feb. 16, 2018 against Dayton Christian. They were perfect 11-0 last season.
“The guys love playing at home,” Moore said. “I felt like we always had an edge here anyway, but we really took that personally here last year with 10 at home and then seven this year. We want to keep that going.”
With the victory, the Lions kept pace with Troy Christian (12-3, 7-1) in the MBC title race. Emmanuel Christian has four of its remaining six conference games at home, including its season finale against the Eagles on Feb. 14. The Lions are seeking their first MBC title in school history.
The Warriors travel to Troy Christian on Tuesday in another crucial MBC game. They also play Jefferson and Franklin in back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday, as well as non-conference games against Carroll and Cin. Seven Hills next month.
“It doesn’t get any easier for us, but that’s what we want,” Holliday said. “ We’re trying to get better for the tournament.”
About the Author