Griffin Christian ends the regular season with a record of 20-5 overall and 10-3 in the region. The Crusaders won seven of their last nine games (both losses to Arlington Christian) and head basketball coach Mic Savage said he was proud of his group of players this year.
“I told the guys that we had a very good season. To win 20 out of 25 games in the region we play in is huge,” he said.
“It’s not an easy thing to do. We had to bring it every week, especially since there are at least five strong teams in this region, including the defending state champs in Arlington.”
GCHS won its 20th game by playing its usual strong defense and spreading the scoring around. The Crusaders jumped on Heritage 15-8 after the first quarter and dominated the next two quarters, leading 35-19 at the half and 53-26 heading into the fourth quarter.
Anthony Lewis led the Crusaders with 13 points and 4 assists, Austin Craft added 10 and Elias Seise and Taylor Frederick each chipped in 9 points. Seise and Lee Neidert snagged 9 rebounds each and Neidert also had 4 blocks.
“We controlled the game from the start, but I did a lot of substituting since we played Arlington the night before,” Savage said. “Everyone got in on the action and it was a good win for us. Now it’s time for the region playoffs and everything starts back over at 0-0.”
The Region 4-AA Tournament, held at LaGrange Academy, started Monday and the Crusaders will start tournament play Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. against the Colonial Hills Rams. The Crusaders defeated Colonial Hills 61-40 Dec. 15 on the road, with Lewis leading the way with 14 points and 4 steals and Seise nearly getting a double-double (9 points, 10 rebounds).
Should GCHS defeat Colonial Hills Wednesday, the team qualifies for the GISA Class AA state tournament which will start on Thursday, Feb. 18 at LaGrange.
GCHS comes into the region tournament averaging 66 points per game and allowing only 51 points per game; they also shoot nearly 40 percent from 3-point range. Savage felt it was necessary for the Crusaders to really focus on the defensive end, since only three players on the team are over 6-feet tall.
“We’re not a big team, but we work hard on the defensive end and that has helped us beat bigger opponents,” Savage said. “We must keep our defensive intensity up during the region tournament.”