EUNICE — The Christian Life Academy boys basketball team survived multiple comeback attempts to defeat Eunice 60-57 in a wild game to remain undefeated Tuesday night.
The Crusaders (12-0) lost multiple double-digit leads, but ultimately stifled Eunice’s (10-4) comeback attempts.
“You have to give a ton of credit to Eunice,” Christian Life coach Stephen Dale said. “I knew it was going to be like this. It doesn’t matter what the score was in the game, I knew it was going to be a one-possession game.”
Christian Life jumped out to a big lead, scoring the game’s first 10 points and led 17-1 midway through the first quarter thanks to solid defense and good shooting.
The Crusaders’ scoring slowed later in the first quarter, but that didn’t keep them from holding a 20-6 lead after eight minutes.
“When we put ourselves in that early deficit, that really hurt us,” Eunice coach Chad Andrepont said. “You can’t play that way against good teams and expect to win.”
Eunice continued to struggle early in the second quarter as Christian Life jumped out to a 30-11 lead midway through the quarter.
But the Bobcats quickly turned things around, picking up the defensive intensity and taking advantages of opportunities at the free-throw line to end the half on a 14-2 run and cut the Crusaders’ lead to 32-25 at halftime.
“We don’t quit,” Andrepont said. “We’ll fight until the end for 32 minutes, and we’ll see what the scoreboard says at the end.”
The Bobcats run continued through the start of the third quarter, as Travis Godfrey put a offensive rebound back in, and Malik Poullard hit a 3-pointer in the first minute of the period that cut Christian Life’s lead to two points.
The slim deficit was short-lived, however, as the Crusaders came out of a timeout and put together a 7-0 run capped off by a Ludovic Kader dunk that extended their lead to 39-30.
Christian Life hit their first five shots of the quarter to take 43-32 lead but once again went cold, allowing the Bobcats to mount another comeback, and by the time the third quarter ended, the Crusaders led just 49-47.
Eunice took advantage and scored the first four points a minute into the fourth quarter to take a 51-49 lead.
That was the Bobcats’ first lead, and it would be their last as Christian Life scored the next eight points to take a 57-51 lead.
The Bobcats had a couple chances to tie the contest or take a lead but failed to grab rebounds on Christian Life’s missed free throws. The contest ended with a half-court shot that bounced off the backboard and onto the floor, sealing the Crusaders’ 12th consecutive victory.
“Whenever you have two good teams playing, both teams are going to fight and make runs,” Andrepont said. “It just so happens (Christian Life) made a few more plays than us (Tuesday night) and they came out with the victory, but I’m still really proud of my guys for the way they fought tonight.”
Kader struggled at the rim throughout the game, but finished with 23 points to lead the Crusaders.
“He did a great job for us tonight,” Dale said. “These kinds of games he has to take over for us, and he did. He probably left some points on the table with some layups he’d rather have back, but we go as he goes in tough games like this.