CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio — The Defenders made good on their name on Saturday, and successfully defended their South Region championship.
The Ohio Valley Christian School boys basketball team is returning to the Ohio Christian School Athletic Association state Final Four, thanks to notching a 60-55 victory over Hope New Christian in the South Region championship game at Ohio Christian University.
The Defenders were also avengers on Saturday, as New Hope had defeated the Defenders 61-36 earlier in the season.
Last season, OVCS advanced to the OCSAA state semifinals — and finished third.
With the win, OVCS raised its record to 18-5, and will now face Calvary Christian in Friday night’s state semifinal at 7:30 p.m. at OCU.
The first semifinal, set for 6 p.m., pits Temple Christian Dayton and Temple Christian Mansfield.
The two losing teams from Friday night’s (Feb. 26) semis square off in the consolation game on Saturday (Feb. 27) at 1 p.m.
The two winners will return to Circleville on Saturday afternoon at 5 p.m. — for the OCSAA state championship game.
OVCS had to rally past New Hope in the regional title tilt, trailing 18-14 following the first quarter and 44-42 following the third.
But by outscoring New Hope by seven points apiece in the second and fourth frames, the Defenders did the job in winning the South Region.
OVCS held New Hope, in fact, to only six second-quarter points.
Ohio Valley Christian came from behind in the fourth quarter, trailing 54-52 when Elijah McDonald drained a three-pointer to give the Defenders the lead for good.
After Austin Ragan’s free throw for OVCS, and one by New Hope, McDonald drained 4-of-4 free throws in the final few minutes for the 60-55 final.
McDonald poured in 25 points to pace the Defenders, hitting five three-point goals in the process — along with those final four free throws.
He also had three two-point goals, shooting 8-of-9 from the field for the entire game.
Ragan, on two twos, two threes and 3-of-4 foul shots, recorded 13 points for OVCS.
Marshall Hood had 12 points on four field goals and 4-of-7 free throws, while Dillon Ragan registered seven points on two field goals and 3-of-4 free throws.
Justin Sizemore made a field goal and Justin Beaver a free throw to round out the Blue and White.
The Defenders shot 39-percent from the field.
Hood had 11 of the Defenders’ 24 rebounds, 21 of which were on the defensive end.
Dillon Ragan grabbed four rebounds and made three of the team’s 11 steals.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106