The varsity boys basketball team traveled to the Cintas Center last night to take on the Lakota West Firebirds in the District Championship game. The boys were hoping to advance to the Sweet 16 of the OHSAA state tournament for the ninth time overall and the fourth time in the last five years.
The first quarter saw the Elks get off to a slow start, but recover at the end and find themselves deadlocked at 11 heading to the second quarter. In that second quarter, the Elks went scoreless over the first four and a half minutes, but held the Firebirds to just three points during that time to stay in the game. The boys then closed the quarter on a 9-3 run to take a three-point lead, 20-17, into the locker room at halftime. The Elks scored the first four points of the third quarter to stretch the lead to seven at 24-17, before the Firebirds scored to stop the run. Leading 29-22 with 1:21 left, the Elks closed the quarter with a 5-2 run to take a 10-point lead, 34-24, heading into the final eight minutes. Just when it looked like the Elks were taking control, the Firebirds came off the mat with an 11-3 run to open the quarter and trim the Elks lead to two, 37-35. During that time, both head coaches received technical fouls as the energy greatly increased inside the arena and the pressure on both teams mounted. Leading by four, 41-37, with two minutes left, the Elks saw the Firebirds pull within one following a long three-pointer, 41-40. From there, the Elks made seven free throws and blanked the Firebirds down the stretch to claim a 48-40 win and claim the 8th District title in school history.
Now 15-11 on the year, the Elks advance to the Sweet 16 for the ninth time in school history, still looking for that elusive, first trip to the Final Four in Columbus. Standing in their way in the Regional Semifinals is the two-time defending state champion and current #1 team in the AP rankings, Archbishop Moeller. The Elks and Crusaders clash for the second time this season on Wednesday night at the Cintas Center. Opening tip-off is set for 6:15 PM. Presale tickets for $7 are available in the CHS Athletic Office today and tomorrow from 7:30-4 and Wednesday from 7:30-3:30. Alll tickets at the gate the night of the game are $8.