After a 10-day break from the basketball court during the Christmas holiday, the Augusta Christian Lions needed a warm-up game before heading into SCISA region play.
The Lions found that game against in-county rival Augusta Preparatory Day School on Tuesday night. Augusta Christian Schools won the game 72-31 with a chance to refine their fast-paced full-court press.
"We got a lot of running in," junior Josh Whitaker said. "Coming back from the break we needed to come out here and work on some stuff."
The Lions did just that on their home floor Tuesday against a crippled Augusta Prep team. The Cavaliers took the court without leading scorer and starting point guard Michael Crosland.
Crosland missed the game after suffering an ankle injury in a Monday practice session.
"That definitely made it tougher on them," Augusta Christian coach Marty Griffin said. "He's a big part of their team."
The Lions started the game off with a 10-0 run. The Cavaliers countered with senior Harold Rivner taking over for the injured Crosland. Rivner scored six of Augusta Prep's seven first-quarter points and finished with a team-high 10 points.
"This was a good night for him," Augusta Prep coach Mike Guthrie said. "I challenged the guys before the game and told them someone needed to step up."
Augusta Christian responded with four Lions turning in double-figure scoring. Augusta Christian outscored the Cavaliers 31-12 in the second quarter en route to the win.
Not only were the Lady Lions also coming back from the Christmas break but most of the girls on the roster were coming back from injuries.
One month ago, Augusta Christian girls coach Keith Walton watched his varsity roster dwindle to as few as six players because of a series of injuries. Tuesday night saw the Lady Lions field a full 11-girl roster for the first time this season with the return of senior Sarah-Beth McKinney and Ashley Troxel.
In her first game back on home court, McKinney knocked down a game-high 17 points in a 74-28 Augusta Christian win.
"She gives a lot to our team outside of just scoring. She's a leader," Walton said. "She's still trying to get her basketball legs back."
Walton said the game was ideal in preparing for the upcoming SCISA region schedule. The Lady Lions will face several ranked teams this month and their performance in region play could set up a deep postseason run.
"This next week will be big for us," Walton said. "After we play Ben Lippen we should know where we stand."
Augusta Christian will play host to Ben Lippen on Tuesday night, while Augusta Prep will travel to Westminster on Tuesday for a key GISA Region 4-AAA matchup.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.