The London High School girls basketball team is in the hunt for a Mid-State League Ohio Division championship with just over a week left to go in the regular season.
The Red Raiders (15-2, 6-1 in MSL Ohio) trail Bexley (13-4, 7-1) by a half game in the standings and host those same Lions Friday, Feb. 2, in a first-place clash starting at 7:30 p.m.
London won the earlier season match-up between the teams 42-35 in a game played in Bexley.
The Red Raiders used a midweek non-league tilt with Columbus South Wednesday as a tune-up for the game Friday. London rolled to a 63-42 win behind a balanced scoring attack.
Hannah Coleman (16 points), Malorie Colwell (13), Rachael Alexander (12) and Kaitlin Patterson (eight) combined to score 49 points for London. The home team built a 18-2 first-quarter scoring advantage and was never threatened.
Heading into its first-place showdown, London High School is attempting to win its second straight league crown.
London will play a non-league game Tuesday, Feb. 6, against visiting Lakewood. It will close out the regular season with a game at Grandview Saturday, Feb. 10 and a home date with Columbus Academy Thursday, Feb. 15.
Shekinah Christian 53,
Tree of Life 40
Defense wins championships.
The old saying is proven true time and time again.
The Flames (12-4, 9-0 in MOCAL) used a suffocating defense to knock off state No. 7 ranked Tree of Life 53-40 Tuesday to secure its spot atop the Mid-Ohio Christian Athletic League standings. The Trojans dropped to 11-4 overall and 7-2 in MOCAL play.
After a slow offensive start, Shekinah used a 13-0 run in the second quarter to take a commanding 14 point halftime lead (25-11) that would never drop into single digits. Tree of Life scored just three points in the second quarter and struggled from both short and long range.
“We really pride ourselves in our halfcourt defense,” Flames coach Keith Lambert said. “We don’t always force a bunch of turnovers, but I think our help-side rotations and ability to close out on shooters is as good as it has been in the three years I’ve been coaching at Shekinah.”
The Trojans turned up their aggression in the second half and secured 11 offensive rebounds in the third quarter and forced 11 second half turnovers from the Flames. But while this kept the lead from spreading, Tree of Life still had trouble scoring and managed to shoot just 25 percent from the field for the game.
“If we could take away the breakaway layups and offensive putbacks, Tree shot just 14 percent for the game,” Lambert said. “While we need to clean up mistakes that lead to easy baskets, our set defense is about as good as I could hope.”
Shekinah was led by Austin Lynn’s 14 points, eight rebounds and six blocks. John Michael Hershberger added 13 points, 10 of which came in a two minute stretch in the fourth quarter to put the game away for good. Joel Headings chipped in 11 points for the Flames.
With just three conference games remaining for each team, Shekinah will look to clinch the conference championship prior to its rematch at Tree of Life on Feb. 15. The Flames next play at home on Saturday, Feb. 3, against Madison Christian. JV will tip at 6 p.m., followed by the varsity at 7:30 p.m.
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.