Christian Academy snaps strong streak for Cougars

For The Tribune

Christian Academy of Indiana showed why it is ranked No. 6 in the state in Class 1A.

“That’s a complete team,” Trinity Lutheran boys coach Aaron Rudzinski said following a 67-53 loss to the Warriors on senior night Friday in the Bollinger Athletic Complex.

“They have just about everything,” he said. “They’re not No. 6 in 1A for nothing. They’ve got great size and athleticism, and we found out tonight they can shoot the ball a little bit, as well. That is one area where we thought we could probably exploit, the outside shooting

Christian Academy held a 42-36 lead entering the fourth quarter, and the Warriors quickly increased the difference to 46-36, but the Cougars went on a 11-7 scoring run to close to 53-47 on a 3-point play by Daniel Horton with 4:36 remaining.

A pair of free throws by Toby VanLiew left the Cougars trailing 55-49 with 4:05 on the clock before the Warriors closed on a 12-4 run to move to 16-4.

The Warriors moved on top 11-3 midway through the opening quarter before Jacob Christopher hit his second 3-pointer of the game, Keegan Rebber hit another 3, and Luke Stuckwisch converted a 3-point play to close the deficit to 13-12 at the end of the period.

Christopher’s third 3-pointer of the night put the Cougars on top 19-16 in the middle of the second period, but the Warriors held a 24-23 lead at the half game.

Rudzinski said Trinity’s game plan in the first half was to attack from the outside since Christian Academy went 6-foot-7, 6-4, 6-4 across its front line.

“We didn’t run too many plays trying to get the ball in the paint,” he said. “We ran a variety of things, but we didn’t exactly feature a post player in the first half.

“In the second half, we tried get the ball in the post more, and we spread it out with four out, with either Danny or Toby in the post.”

Back-to-back goals by Rebber gave Trinity it’s final lead of the game at 32-29 with 4:12 left in the third period. The Cougars drew even at 36-all at 1:55 before the Warriors pulled ahead for good.

Stuckwisch, VanLiew, Christopher, Clayton Pottschmidt and Keenan Scifres, all seniors, started for the Cougars.

“The five seniors that we started tonight have been with the program from the beginning,” Rudzinski said. “They deserved it. They all work hard, they’ve done a lot of the offseason work that we asked them to do. They all deserve to get their name called out once to be in the starting lineup. I’m proud of the way the seniors played.”

Christopher was the high scorer for Trinity with 16, Rebber scored 11, VanLiew added 10 and Horton notched nine. VanLiew topped the Cougars in rebounds at seven.

“I think our guys battled really well, for the most part, and stayed with them throughout the game, but we just couldn’t answer some of their shots,” Rudzinski said. “We zoned them for most of the game with the intention of protecting the paint.”

Nic Reed topped Christian Academy with 22 points, including four 4-pointes, while Shelby Rose added 15.

Trinity Lutheran (14-5) will travel to New Washington at 6 p.m. tonight.