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By MIKE SPRAGUE
CANNELTON—Poor free-throw shooting cost Cannelton in an 80-68 loss to Columbus Christian in the first round of the Cannelton Classic boys basketball tourney Friday.
Cannelton Coach Brian Garrett said, “We had a good run at the end. We settled down a little bit. We talked to the kids about the unforced errors we were making.
“We started moving the ball, getting some shots. We got a couple quick turnovers some steals. We had it to nine, then bounced it back to 12.”
Cannelton rallied from 22 points down, cutting the Crusaders to lead to nine by going on a 17-4 run that took a little over two minutes.
Marvin Walls started the run with a layup and Elijah Littles made two free throws.
After Columbus Christian’s Adriane Polley scored on a rebound, Damon Powers made two free throws for Cannelton.
Littles followed with a 4-foot jump shot in the lane, Powers made a three-pointer from the top of the key, and Littles made a layup.
Columbus Christian’s Evan Reed then made two free throws, but Bryce Garrett made a three-point shot from the left wing and Littles hit 1 of 2 free throws to keep the Bulldogs’ hot streak going.
The Bulldogs had hit only 11 of 20 free throws before that run, though.
Columbus Christian hit 60 percent from the line in the last 2:17 of the game to keep the lead around 10.
“The game came down to free throws, defensive rebounding, and turnovers,” said Garrett. “They had 14 offensive rebounds and we had 19 turnovers. We were 19 of 31 from the line and got beat 12,” said Garrett.
On the positive side, the Bulldogs hit 50.0 percent from the field.
Littles led Cannelton with 23 points on 8 of 10 field-goal shooting and 7 of 9 free throws.
Tristan Simmons added 17 points and 10 rebounds and Powers had 13 points.
Columbus Christian hit 46.7 percent from the field. Josh Miracle scored 15 points to lead the Crusaders and Polley grabbed eight rebounds.
The Crusaders won the rebound battle 31-25.
Cannelton turned the ball over 19 times to just 14 for the Crusaders.
The Bulldogs fell to 1-6 while the Crusaders improved to 15-1.
The Bulldogs will visit Washington Catholic Saturday at 4:30 p.m.