The Legacy Christian Academy boys basketball team hadn’t played a game in its home gym all season.
Back in Xenia after 10 straight road games to open the season, the Knights were happy to finally be home in one of their biggest Metro Buckeye Conference games this season.
Legacy Christian senior Keano Hammerstrom scored 19 points and senior Erik Uszynski had 15 points as the Knights beat Emmanuel Christian 63-45 in front of a large crowd on Friday night in Xenia.
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“(The players) do a good job of responding to each other and the crowd obviously helps that,” said Knights coach Brad Newsome. “It was a good first home game.”
Sophomore Roman Newsome scored 11 points for the Knights (9-2, 5-0 MBC), who won their ninth straight game since starting the season 0-2. Legacy played two early season games in a showcase and had another scheduling discrepancy that kept them on the road. It prepared them for Friday’s league showdown, Brad Newsome said.
“It got us ready, got us gritty,” he said. “We don’t expect any easy games. We’ve still got some tough ones ahead.”
Emmanuel Christian’s Adonis Davis scored 17 points for the Lions, who fell to 7-1 and 4-1 in the conference.
Legacy jumped out to a 13-6 lead after the first quarter, but the Lions fought back to take the lead midway through the second quarter. Emmanuel sophomore Jason Channels hit a 3-pointer right before the half to give his team a 25-24 lead at the break.
In the third quarter, the Knights pulled away using a quick strike fast break. Hammerstrom made a layup with 2:13 remaining to give the Knights a 41-33 lead, forcing Emmanuel to call a timeout. Roman Newsome nailed a deep 3-pointer in transition at the buzzer to give his team a 49-36 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
“We played a little more the style of play we like to play,” Brad Newsome said. “I think that gave us some rhythm to finish it off. (Emmanuel Christian coach Danny Moore) has a really good team. We got this one tonight, but we’ve got to keep working.”
The Knights shot 52 percent (26-for-50) for the game, scoring several easy buckets in transition.
“We want to push it a little bit, not to be in a rush, but be aggressive,” Brad Newsome said. “By sharing the ball, we found some of those open guys that weren’t getting open looks earlier in the game.”
The Lions also went cold in the third quarter. They were outscored 25-11. Emmanuel struggled with shot selection, Moore said, but a lot of that was caused by Legacy’s height in the paint.
“The problem is when you miss shots, they have transition looks and we did not do a good job stopping transition in the second half,” Moore said. “They were very efficient, got a lot of good looks. (Legacy) is a very unselfish team.”
Moore was proud of the way his team responded after trailing early in the game. The Lions will get another shot at Legacy on Feb. 1 in Springfield.
The loss was also the first of five games in seven days for Emmanuel Christian. The Lions travel to Miami Valley on Saturday and Jefferson on Tuesday before returning home for games against Dayton Christian on Jan. 11 and Clark County rival Catholic Central on Jan. 12.
“You want to be tested,” Moore said. “We got tested tonight and we know what we need to work on.”