OCU Holds on To Win Crosstown Shootout 100-98

CIRCLEVILLE, OH – The Ohio Christian and Valor Christian rivalry is one full of surprises and emotional games dating back to the 1999-2000 season.  Thursday night was no different as the OCU men stormed out to a 25 point lead at one point only to have a resilient Valor team battle back and take the lead late.  

The Trailblazers needed two Wesley Russell free throws with 26 seconds remaining to pull out a 100-98 home victory over Valor Christian.

“We came out the right way with an aggressive defense that trapped the ball and forced turnovers,” Stockman said. “Then when we got a big lead it was tough to maintain that pressure and we tailed off, letting them back in the game.”

The Trailblazers (6-4) used a 51-percent field goal percentage (23 of 45) to build a 56-39 halftime lead. An intense man-to-man defense left the Warriors taking poor shots as they managed to find the hole in just 10 of their 33 first half attempts (30 percent).

“Our shot selection was not what we wanted,” Warriors coach Lisa Bradley said. “Not only that, we came out flat and didn’t play good defense at all.”

Valor Christian (10-2) slowly used the second half to take advantage of turnovers (14 Trailblazer second half miscues) to chip away at the deficit. With just under two minutes remaining, the Warriors actually took the lead, 93-92.

“For whatever reason we’ve had problems executing in the last four or five minutes of games,” Stockman noted. “We end up in the wrong position defensively, we throw the wrong pass, and we let teams take us out of what our game plan is and it happened again tonight.”

Eight Trailblazers ended up in the scoring column including five who reached double figures. Russell tossed in 21 with Trey Vaughan contributing 17, James Nelson adding 16, and Evan Mills and Treyvon Crater each posting 13.

“We gave up too many points in transition and let them have too many put-backs,” Bradley added. “Once we turned up our full-court pressure defensively, we forced turnovers and attacked the basket. It was just too little too late.”

OCU takes on NCAA Division III basketball power Wittenberg in Springfield on Saturday, a daunting task for the National Christian College Athletic Association’s top ranked team.

“They (Wittenberg) will be big and physical, we know that,” Stockman said. “We’re happy with tonight’s win but now we have to get ready for a team that will go right after us.”