Gahanna Christian used a 19-4 run in the third quarter to gain control on its way to a 76-71 victory over Delaware Christian Friday night in Gahanna to become MOCAL champions in boys basketball for the second straight time.
“There’s no shame losing to Gahanna Christian – they’re a good team,” DCS coach Jon Landrum said. “They’ve beaten us twice in close games. They are a very good team. They made more plays down the stretch … they deserve it.”
Sloan Howard knocked down five of his team’s 10 three-pointers and led GCA (12-9, 10-2) with 20 points, including eight during a 19-4 run in the third quarter.
He rebounded a missed free throw and scored to give Gahanna Christian a 36-34 lead with 6:03 left in the third. GCA never trailed again.
Offensive rebounds proved big for GCA, which had 16 for the game, led by Kyle Parsons with eight.
“We gave up 17 offensive rebounds the first time we played them,” Landrum said. “That’s the exact same thing that happened the first time we played them … we repeated the same issue.”
Parsons finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds and Dylan Sino added 17 points and eight rebounds.
Parsons tipped out a rebound on a missed one-and-one free throw that was recovered by Tavian Sims, who knocked down both free throws to put the game out of reach in the final seconds.
It came a possession after DCS had a chance to tie, but Adam Standley’s back-door pass went off the fingertips of Isaac Rindfuss with 13 seconds left.
“We didn’t execute it well,” Landrum said. “We still had a good back-cut, but you can’t throw a pass like that – it’s a high-traffic pass.”
Curtis Bean tied it 61-61 with a three-pointer from the right corner with 4:28 left.
But Gahanna Christian had an answer every time. Josh Roehrenbeck buried a three to give GCA the lead for good. Roehrenbeck finished with 10 points.
DCS (12-10, 9-3) rallied back from a six-point deficit in the final minute. A Rindfuss steal turned into an Andrew Dunnevant lay-in.
Next, Adam Standley forced a turnover on a full-court press and Rindfuss converted one of two free throws and ran down an offensive rebound on the miss before burying a jumper to cut it to 72-71, but that’s as close as it would get.
Seth Standley led DCS with 21 points, Bean had 14, Rindfuss had 13 points, seven rebounds, six steals and four assists and Dunnevant added 13 points.
“(Seth) kept us afloat offensively for a while,” Landrum said. “He did a really nice job guarding the post, got a few big rebounds and hit some shots.
“Seth and Curtis really came in and gave us shots in the arm at various points in time and that was huge because some of our top guys didn’t shoot as well.”
Gahanna Christian has won three straight against Delaware Christian, including a 53-45 victory in last season’s finale that allowed GCA to tie DCS for the title.
“I think, probably in a couple of days or however long it takes, we’ll be able to look back and be proud of what we accomplished this year and the progress that we made,” Landrum said.
These two teams meet again in the second round of the Division-IV district tournament Mar. 2 at 7 p.m. when ninth-seeded DCS hosts 11th-seeded GCA.
Also: Groveport 51, Big Walnut 37; Westerville North 69, Orange 47.
Follow Michael Rich on Twitter @mrichdelgazette.