GOESSEL — When junior Josef Hobson made a layup 50 seconds into the game, Elyria Christian School took a 2-0 lead and never trailed the rest of the game. But Canton-Galva was never out, and Elyria never led by more than nine points.
Elyria won its second straight game and advanced to the Goessel Bluebird Classic Championship on Friday night with a 34-28 win over league-rival Canton-Galva.
Elyria did so with only six players, as senior Jackson Stone missed the game with an injury. Elyria head coach Zach Goodrich is hopeful Stone will be back before Christmas, but is unlikely to play in Saturday’s championship game against Goessel.
Junior Bret Anderson had 12 points, while junior Zach Stucky had 11. The Elyria defense was stout, holding Canton-Galva to six or less points three of the four quarters.
“In recent seasons, we have unfortunately learned how to play a man short,” Goodrich said. “I feel the more practice we have had, we are learning how to adjust on limited time to prepare.”
Stucky put Elyria up 11-6 entering the second quarter after hitting a contested layup with six seconds left in the first. Elyria took its largest lead of the game early in the second quarter as senior Gage Schneider grabbed an offensive rebound for an easy put back, giving Elyria a 15-6 lead.
Both defenses were good in the second quarter, leading to a 17-12 Elyria halftime lead.
Each team scored four points in the third quarter, but both offenses began to wakeup in the game’s final eight minutes. Canton-Galva scored 12 points in the fourth, including eight from senior Kinser Colgin, but Elyria kept up enough with eight points.
Outside of Anderson and Stucky, Elyria received a big contribution from senior Gage Schneider, who had a team-high eight rebounds.
Canton-Galva was led by Tyson Struber’s 11 points, while Brayden Collins finished with seven points, nine rebounds, and three blocks.
“Elyria took the air out of the ball in the second half and did a great job of hitting free throws,” Canton-Galva head coach Shane Duncan said. “We only gave up two field goals in the second half, but they hit 13 free throws when we had to foul. Brayden Collins played a great game for us tonight. High energy on the glass and defensively. We played a really good ‘team’ defensive game tonight, but just came up short.”
Elyria will face Goessel for the Bluebird Classic Championship. Game time in Goessel is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
Canton-Galva is now 0-3 and will face Burrton for 5th place on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.