For The Tribune
The Medora boys basketball team dominated the first half of Saturday night’s game against Columbus Christian, but the Crusaders’ size played a factor following intermission.
Columbus Christian pulled within 39-37 after three quarters and eventually pulled away with a 51-42 victory to improve its record to 14-3.
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Medora had leads of 17-12 after one quarter and 30-22 at the half behind Jalen Beesley’s eight points and Chase Booker and Kam Flynn’s seven points each.
The Hornets committed only one turnover compared to Columbus Christian’s 11 miscues in the first half.
The second half was a different game, as the Crusaders started pounding the ball inside to 6-foot-5 forwards Adriane Polley and Logan Roth.
The Crusaders outscored the Hornets 14-3 in the decisive fourth quarter.
“We played our best basketball in the first half,” Hornets coach Michael Leitzman said. “We defended very well. We contained the basketball very well. We kept the ball out of the post.
“Our guys were very active defensively. We had a lot of deflections. We disrupted their offense in the first half. I was very pleased with the first half.”
The Hornets maintained the lead until the 6:03 mark of the fourth quarter, when Lain Isley converted a layup to give the Crusaders a 40-39 lead.
Isley hit a 3-pointer a short while later to make it 43-39.
With 3:04 to go, Booker picked up his fifth foul, and Isley hit both free throws to make it 45-39.
Medora was not finished, as Flynn hit a 3-pointer to draw within 46-42. However, Isley again hit two free throws to give his team a 48-42 lead.
The Hornets were forced to foul in the final 1:30, and the Crusaders closed the game out shooting free throws.
Leitzman said he taught his team dropped its intensity in the second half.
“The second half, it started with defense,” he said. “We gave up six to eight points on layups. We didn’t front the post. We had lazy errors in the second half.
“We only scored 12 points in the second half. We were waiting for someone else to step up instead of being the one to step up. We need to learn to close out games.”
The Hornets moved to 2-10 on the season.