CHRISTOPHER — Pick the story line.
Christopher starting point guard Jared Curry sits out with a knee injury. Christopher forward Zach Young picks up his third foul midway through the second quarter. A box-and-one defense on Sesser-Valier’s Tyler Winchester stymies the Red Devils for a quarter. Sesser-Valier’s explosive 26-point third quarter. Or, just the natural Sesser-Valier-Christopher rivalry.
All played a part in a key Black Diamond Conference game that saw Sesser-Valier pull away to a 74-61 win.
The turning point of the game was in the third quarter when the Red Devils defense created numerous turnovers and fed the offense. After Bradley Young tied the game at 33 with a short jumper, Sesser-Valier rattled off 14 straight points.
Winchester hit a pair of treys during that run while Josh Gunter, Peyton Rock and Addison Page scored from close range. In a three-minute span the Red Devils pushed their lead from 35-33 to 47-33.
“Tyler made some big shots,” said Sesser-Valier coach Shane Garner. “Addison Page made some big shots. Everything looks better when you make shots. We were able to create some turnovers and make shots. That was the story there in third.”
“They got after us,” said Christopher coach Eric Stallman. “They’re a good ballclub. They shot 70-something percent tonight. Whenever you shoot 72 percent from two, and 46 percent from three. That’s pretty good math for them.”
That stretch was markedly different than the first half when the teams traded the lead. The Christopher box-and-one slowed the Red Devils in the first quarter.
“It kind of threw us off a little bit,” Garner said. “We have stuff we can run against that just like a zone. That was my fault, we didn’t attack the baseline like we should have. We finally got it figured out and got some easy buckets there in the second quarter.”
“I was able to steal some minutes out of it,” Stallman said. “That was the plan. We thought we would catch them off a little. It did. It kept it tight for a while.”
The absence of Curry was another factor.
“He hurt his knee in the Waltonville game,” Stallman said. “It is whatever it is. We don’t know yet. He had an MRI today. They aren’t going to read it until Wednesday.
“I thought we battled tonight. They got up and pressured us and Curry has been our point guard for two years. He’s a special point guard, he’s 6-foot-5. When you take him out of the equation things are different. We handled their pressure fine.”
Sesser-Valier put three players in double figures with Lukas Gunter leading the way with 19 points. He picked up the slack early against the box-and-one. Page finished with 16 and Winchester had 15.
Gabe Motsinger led Christopher with 16, Bryce Pratt had 13, Dalton Saeger 11 and Daniel Flowers 10.
Despite the Christopher balance, Sesser-Valier walked away with the win.
“This isn’t an easy place to play,” Garner said. “We’ve struggled here, but you don’t go in slumps on defense.”