New Hope knocks out Lady Defenders, 45-30

By Bryan Walters -

CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio — They made it to Round Town, but this wasn’t the goal they had in mind.

The Ohio Valley Christian girls basketball team had its postseason journey come to an end Saturday following a 45-30 setback to top-seeded New Hope Christian Academy in the opening round of the Ohio Christian Schools Athletic Association Southeast Region tournament in Pickaway County.

The eighth-seeded Lady Defenders (8-9) put up a solid fight through each of the first three periods of play, but a 16-9 fourth quarter surge ultimately allowed the host Lady Statesmen (10-4) some breathing room down the stretch while wrapping up the 15-point outcome.

OVCS — who had hoped to at least duplicate some of the volleyball team’s success this past fall in reaching the OCSAA state championship game at Ohio Christian University — trailed by an 11-4 margin after eight minutes of play, then NHCA followed with a slim 13-11 spurt to secure a 24-18 edge at the intermission.

Both teams struggled to score points in the third canto as the Lady Statesmen made a small 5-3 run while claiming a 29-21 cushion headed into the finale.

The visiting Lady Defenders were never closer than three possessions down the stretch as New Hope hit all four of its free throw attempts while making its 16-9 closing run, which ultimately led to the five-possession triumph.

Ohio Valley Christian had its five-game winning streak snapped, while the reigning OCSAA state champions moved on to the semifinal round of the Southeast Region. NHCA is also the top overall seed in the tournament.

The Lady Defenders connected on 10-of-36 field goal attempts for 28 percent, including a 3-of-11 effort from behind the arc for 27 percent. The Blue and White also committed 22 turnovers and went 7-of-16 at the free throw line for 44 percent.

Katie Bradley led OVCS with a game-high 11 points to go along with team-bests of seven rebounds and four steals. Rachel Sargent was next with eight points and four blocks, while Emily Childers added five markers and Cori Hutchison chipped in four points.

Kristen Durst completed the visiting tally with two markers. Bradley and Sargent are the lone seniors on the Lady Defenders’ roster.

New Hope made four of its 17 total field goals from behind the arc and also went 7-of-10 at the charity stripe for 70 percent.

Bethany Conrad and Grace Brown paced the hosts with 10 points apiece, followed by Kayla Wolfe with eight points and Sarah Taylor with six markers.

Sadie Pruitt was next with five points, while Abigail Brown, Hannah Williams and JoAnna Williams completed the winning score with two points each.

Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.

By Bryan Walters