LOUISVILLE - The Wesley Christian boys’ basketball team continued its recent hot streak as it traveled to Boyce College and captured the 5th Annual HLS Holiday Classic championship. The Circuit Riders won their eighth consecutive game, improving to 16-5 overall.
Wesley Christian defeated Holy Angels Academy of Louisville and took down the Academy, another team from Louisville, during the semifinals. The Circuit Riders beat Cornerstone Christian Academy of Shelbyville in the holiday tournament’s title tilt.
Wesley and Cornerstone exchanged leads for much of the first half with the Riders carrying a slim one-point lead into halftime. Cornerstone battled back to lead and took a hard-fought six-point lead into the fourth quarter.
“We just flat-out got outhustled in the third period,” Wesley Christian Coach Jack Jarrell commented. “This was our third game in less than 24 hours and we came out flat with no legs under us in the third quarter.”
As the fourth quarter got underway, Cornerstone continued where it had left off in the third period, extending its lead to nine with just under three minutes left to play.
“I called a timeout and really got after my guys and they responded extremely well,” Jarrell noted.
Following the timeout, Wesley Christian picked up its defensive pressure and was able to knock down some 3-point shots and turn a nine-point deficit into a three-point lead in under three minutes.
“We took the lead on a three-point basket from Malek (Moore), which was his third in a three-minute span, with 17 seconds remaining,” Jarrell noted.
As time expired, Cornerstone sharpshooter Michael Woodward, despite being heavily defended, drained a 24-footer to send the game into overtime.
In overtime, Wesley managed to edge Cornerstone 6-5 to win 62-61 and claim the tournament championship.
Wesley Christian bigman Abraham Onyebuchi was selected to the all-tournament team and Malek Moore was named the tournament’s most valuable player. Onyebuchi (6-7) thrilled the near-capacity crowd during the championship game with 34 points and 16 rebounds. The Wesley Christian bigman delivered six dunks during the championship game.
“Abraham is a very special player,” Jarrell commented. “Abe is our anchor but he’s surrounded by a great team.”
The Riders will be back in action after the holiday break when they host a home game at JW Kinzer Gymnasium on Friday, Jan. 3.