CEDARVILLE — With host Cedarville chipping away at Springfield Catholic Central’s lead, Irish senior Peyton Harris turned the CHS gymnasium into “Peyton’s Place,” Dec. 14 in a key Ohio Heritage Conference South division battle.
Both teams came into Friday’s contest tied atop the OHC South standings with 2-0 marks within the league, but after a comeback scare from the host Indians, Catholic Central’s Harris went on a scoring binge to put the game away.
Down by 10 points at halftime, Cedarville began to chip away at the Irish lead in the third quarter. A 7-2 mini run by the Indians, with a Colby Cross tip-in, a Cross assist to Brandon Pollock for two points, and then a Cross jumper from the right wing with 2:47 left in the quarter, pulled the Indians to within five points at 37-32.
That’s when Harris got hot from the top of the 3-point arc. The 6-foot senior forward canned three straight 3-pointers from the top of the arc to put SCC back out in front by double digits, 49-37. Two Mykah Eichie inside scores also happened during the run, but Harris’s heroics were key in a 14-5 Irish scoring run that gave SCC a 51-37 lead.
If there was any wind left in the comeback sails for Cedarville, Harris’s run took it away.
“I thought we made a nice run and battled, but then I thought we just kinda ran out of steam,” said Cedarville coach Ryan Godlove. “But Harris made some big shots. I know he hit three in a short span, and we just couldn’t recover from that.
“They did a better job of finishing inside than we did tonight. Early on, we were struggling to score. We got good looks, but they just weren’t falling through the basket.”
Cedarville’s Colby Cross led the Indians with 16 points scored, and Trent Koning was the other player in double figures with 12 points.
Harris hit 11 of his game-high 19 points in the second half. and was credited with three 3-pointers for the game. Eichie finished with 17 points, and Sabien Doolittle also scored 17 for the Irish (5-0, 3-0 Ohio Heritage Conference). With the win, SCC is all alone atop the OHC South standings. They have a nonleague battle against Lehman Catholic up next at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15 in Sidney.
“I’m extremely excited for Peyton. He can shoot the ball, and tonight was definitely his night,” SCC coach Cody Sarensen said. “When he’s on, he’s on for sure. The really unique thing is that all of our guys can play — all five of our guys on the floor — they can play like that for us.”
Harris said the team regained its focus when they realized that Cedarville was making a comeback against them.
“I said ‘This can’t happen.’ My mindset just had to be for us to focus and for me to do my best and for the team to play its brand of basketball,” Harris said. “We weren’t getting nervous (when Cedarville pulled within five points). We’d been through this last year in a few games, so we were used to handling adversity. The coaches had us ready for that tonight.”
Cedarville is now tied with Greenon (a 67-50 winner of Southeastern on Friday) for second in the OHC South with a 2-1 division record. The Indians, now 2-3 overall, will host Greene County nonleague foe Legacy Christian Academy at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15.
“That’s a really good basketball team that we played tonight, and our guys know that we got their best shot tonight too,” Godlove said. “At the end of the day, basketball is nice in that we get to go play again (Saturday). I told the guys that we’ve gotta learn from this, clean stuff up and be ready to go again tomorrow.”
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.