Senior Malcolm Klingbeil finishes at the rim. (Inji Kang’19/Media editor)
The CA boys basketball team saw its early lead evaporate on Saturday, December 8, as Central Crossing took advantage of the Vikings’ poor execution in the closing minutes and escaped with a 51-47 win.
Before taking on the Comets, Academy hosted Cristo Rey in its home opener on Wednesday, December 5, and blew the doors off of the Cougars, 87-33. The Vikes built a 16-0 advantage and never looked back, as CA recorded its largest margin of victory since 2012. Senior Hayden Compton led the Vikings with 13 points, and juniors Carter Warstler and Mitch Priest were right behind with 12 apiece.
After two lopsided victories, Academy traveled to Central Crossing for its first true test of the year. The teams traded punches to begin the game, until the Vikes went on a 12-0 tear and took a double-digit lead into the second quarter.
CA maintained its separation as halftime approached, but it was the Comets’ turn to grab the momentum. They went on a 9-2 run and trailed 28-24 at the break.
The Vikings went cold in the third period. Central Crossing picked up right where it had left off, outscoring Academy 16-3 in the quarter.
Suddenly down by 9, the Vikes used three straight dimes from Compton to surge back in front, 42-40. The Comets snatched the lead with a three, but senior Chris Boyle took it right back with a triple of his own. Boyle led CA with 14 points.
Consecutive Central Crossing layups were followed by a pair of free throws from Warstler, and the score was deadlocked at 47 with 2 minutes remaining. Warstler finished with 10 on the night.
Sloppiness plagued the Vikings in the final stages of the game. They committed three straight turnovers, allowing the Comets to take control. Academy then misfired from long distance three times, as Central Crossing picked up a hard-fought win.
With a busy week ahead, the Vikes have plenty of opportunities to shake off the loss. CA will visit Fairfield Union on Tuesday, December 11, before playing host to Marion-Franklin on Wednesday, December 12, and Worthington Christian on Friday, December 14.