ST. LEON – As the Lions and Trojans prepared to take the floor for the start of Friday’s game, a gym operator turned off the lights except for those above the court. The Trojan players took that as a sign and “shot the lights out” in the first quarter en route to 29 points.
The Lions fought back to cut the deficit to two points in the third quarter, but could not get over the hump and fell to East Central 77-67.
Rushville is now 2-8 on the season and 1-3 in the EIAC. East Central improves to 5-5 overall and 1-0 in the EIAC.
East Central used the long ball to build a 13-6 lead. Rushville’s Camren Munchel drained a pair from downtown for six points. A rebound bucket and 3-pointer by Luke Collinsworth extended the Trojan lead to 18-6.
Alec Evans scored on the break to cut the deficit back to 10, but a 3-pointer by Logan Rohrbacher and another rebound bucket by Collinsworth had the lead at 23-8. Logan Graddy had three straight points for the Lions and Tristan Carmony scored as Rushville cut the deficit to 12. Rohrbacher closed the scoring in the first quarter to give East Central a 29-15 lead heading to the second quarter.
Munchel opened the second with a 3-pointer. Cameron Jackman followed with a pair of bombs as Rushville cut the deficit to 29-24 and force an East Central timeout.
Out of the break, Rohrbacher scored five straight before a bucket by Rushville’s Eric Brown and one by East Central’s AJ Messmore. Rushville scored the final four points of the half to trail 36-30 at the half.
Graddy scored for the Lions to open the second half. Brown then found Evans for the easy bucket to cut the deficit to 36-34. Collinsworth answered with five straight points. After Rushville cut the deficit to four, East Central went on an 11-2 run. The Lions scored the final four of the third quarter to trail 54-45 after three quarter.
The Trojan lead remained around double figures until two Munchel free throws were followed by his 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 62-56. Rushville cut the East Central lead to five on a 3-pointer by Evans and two four later on a bucket by Graddy. That was as close as the Lions could get the rest of the way as East Central held on for the 10-point win.
Evans led the Lions with 22 points. Munchel finished with 15 points and Graddy had 14. Jackman had six points followed by Carmony four, Brown four and Hayden Walls two.
East Central was led by Rohrbacher with 27 followed by Collinsworth 25 (21 rebounds) and Messmore 21.
In the junior varsity game, East Central outscored Rushville 25-11 in the second half en route to the 45-26 victory.
Sam Smith hit five 3-pointers to lead the Lions with 15 points. Jack Laker added six points followed by Nash Paddack four and Minto Noto one.
Rushville hosts Morristown Friday and New Castle Saturday.