By Samuel Tschetter
In a hotly contested game, Calvary pulled out a win against their regional opponent, beating the Archers 68-63.
Calvary opened the scoring in this one with Ques Harris stealing the ball and getting an easy layup. The teams then went back-and-forth trading leads with neither team able to get ahead by more than four points for longer than one possession. With four minutes left in the first half a pair of Ben Jones free throws tied the game at 30. In the final 20 seconds of the half, a Braydon Unruh three followed by a quick layup from the Archers sent Calvary to the locker room with a 43-40 lead.
Moody came out of the break shooting much better and opened the half on a 21-5 run, holding CU scoreless for nine minutes, and taking a 61-48 lead over the Warriors. Head Coach Matt Sanders said that at this point, “They really just wanted it more than we did.” This led to a series of substitutions for the coach, removing and later reinserting all five starters, who from that point on, ”Put on a show defensively.”
This allowed Calvary to begin their comeback, as Unruh converted a one-and-one opportunity to cut the lead to 10 with 8:49 left. Just over a minute later Unruh nailed a three off an assist from Zeb Green to cut the Moody lead to five at 61-56. With 6:38 left in the game, the Archers scored their final points extending their lead to 63-59. It was all CU from then on. Jay Lems knocked down an open three to pull the Warriors to within one, and with 3:10 to play Zeb Green tied the game with a free throw. With just over a minute left in the game, Unruh drove the ball coast-to-coast, scoring the go-ahead layup. Green then added three points over the final 24 seconds as Calvary earned the 68-63 win. Green said after the game that despite the early defensive struggles, “It was good to see the team fight together until the end.”
A great defensive effort in the final ten minutes of the second half greatly aided the Warriors’ comeback. After Moody went on a 21-5 run to open the half, Calvary flipped the script and went on a 20-2 run of their own to close out the game. After the game, Jay Lems said, “We struggled defensively [early on], but we got stops down the stretch when it mattered.” The Warriors did just that, holding Moody to just two points over the last 11 minutes, and scoreless for the final six.
Unruh led all scorers with 26 points, going 6-7 from the free-throw line and adding five assists. Green finished with another double-double tallying 15 points and 13 rebounds. Lems made it three double-digit scorers for the Warriors with 11 points.
Bobby Kirpas led the Archers with 19 points, shooting 50% from the floor.
With the win Calvary moves to 6-5 on the year, going 2-0 on their Illinois road trip. This is the second time this season Calvary has won a pair of Friday-Saturday road games, with come from behind victories in both Saturday games.
The Warriors return home to take on Oklahoma Panhandle State at the Pyramid Athletic Center on Friday.