WATERTOWN, Wis. – Playing in its second straight game without injured forward Joel Borchardt (Watertown, Wis.), Maranatha struggled shutting down scoring lanes, losing 96-92 to Dayspring Bible on Tuesday evening.
Dayspring’s leading scorers Javaughn Freeman and Daniel Fontana had 34 and 24 points respectively, and could often be seen cutting to the basket.
The Eagles controlled play in the opening minutes with a 14-6 lead but watched the Crusaders use a 15-4 run capped by a jumper by Tanner Moses (Lodi, Wis.) to claim a 21-20 lead.
Fouls and a three-pointer by Dayspring jumped the lead back to seven and the Eagles built an 11-point lead before heading into the break ahead, 50-45.
Dayspring took advantage of Maranatha turnovers, converting 17 points while holding a 10-2 advantage in fast-break points.
Maranatha found themselves in a 71-54 hold with 11:32 on the clock in the second half, but clawed their way to seven with two and a half minutes remaining.
A layup by junior forward Kyle Kutz cut the lead to 84-79 and the Crusaders were forced into fouling the Eagles. Maranatha kept in the game thanks to an aggressive attack on defense that forced several turnovers that were converted into Maranatha points.
The Crusaders sent Dayspring to the line 16 times in the next minute and a half, but hit a crucial shot each time to put itself in winning position.
One such occasion came when sophomore guard Andrew McKinney (St. Charles, Iowa) hit a three for a 93-90 deficit and then cut it to 94-92. Dayspring finally iced the game though on free-throws and send Maranatha to its 16th loss.
“I want to take credit for the loss as I was outcoached. We really didn’t play well tonight and it was a tough game to watch. Credit Dayspring with the win, as they really had this marked on their calendars and were looking forward to it. Jackson Miller really played well for us tonight and so did Andrew (McKinney) off the bench,” stated head coach Keith Salscheider.
Miller finished came two points shy of a double-double with eight points and 10 rebounds in 21 minutes while senior guard Matthew McGivern (Milwaukee, Wis.) posted 20 points, nine rebounds and six assists in 33 minutes.
The Crusaders host Lakeland on Thursday in Watertown at 7:00 p.m.