Mansfield Christian gym was filled to capacity as head coach John Kurtz was honored for his 300th victory prior to the game with Colonel Crawford.
The Eagles made sure that they were not number 301. The Eagles, behind an aggressive defense and the hot hand of Owen Adams, handed the Flames a 51-41 defeat.
Colonel Crawford rebounded after its first loss of the season, a 44-33 defeat by Convoy Crestview at Bluffton College.
The Flames opened the game playing aggressive man-to-man defense on the perimeter, forcing the Eagles into bad shots in the paint. Both teams were trying to get comfortable in the first quarter, with neither team able to establish a consistent offense. Mansfield Christian, fueled by emotion, out-hustled Colonel Crawford in the quarter and led 11-10.
Mansfield Christian continued to work hard on the defensive end of the floor in the second quarter. Every 3-point shot the Eagles attempted was contested by a Flames defender. The Eagles only made one 3-point basket in the entire half.
Colonel Crawford stepped up their defense in the quarter, doubling the ball at half court and taking away passing lanes. The effort was effective in holding the Flames to 10 points in the quarter and allowing them to take a 22-21 lead into the locker room. Sophomore guard Kyle Kurtz’s two 3-point shots were crucial in keeping Mansfield Christian close at the half.
Colonel Crawford found its stride in the third quarter outscoring the Flames 17-13 during the period and taking a 39-34 lead in the game. Owen Adams was the catalyst. The senior guard slashed and banked his way to 12 points in the period. His five field goals came from the right side and all were in the paint.
Mansfield Christian’s Kendall Cross, Brandon Mount and Aaron Mitchell led the third quarter offensive charge and combined for 13 point to keep the Flames close. However, Mansfield Christine had no answer for Adams on the defensive end.
Eagles’ senior point guard Derek Burkhart used the Flames aggressive defense against them, taking the opportunity to find an open Adams on the elbow or on the baseline as the defense extended to pressure the ball. Adams is averaging 19 points per game in the Northern 10 conference
Mansfield Christian tried to get back in the game in the fourth quarter. The Flames were down 45-39 with 2:45 on the clock but they couldn’t get any closer. No one could get hot in the game’s final eight minutes for Mansfield Christian. Seven players took 10 shots but they were only able to connect on three field goals.
Colonel Crawford held the ball on each possession of the quarter, milking valuable time off the clock. The Eagles only attempted six shots from the field connecting on three, a trio of 3-point baskets by Adams, Burkhart and sophomore Brady Martin.
The Eagles were able to seal the victory at the free throw line, hitting four of eight from the line.
Adams led the Eagles with 26 points; Burkhart added 10 and Martin had seven.
Mansfield Christian had eight of their ten players score points. The Flames were led by Mount’s 10 followed by Cross with eight and Kurtz and Mitchell with six each.
Colonel Crawford (6-1, 4-0 N10) travels to conference foe Ridgedale on Dec. 28.