EATON TWP. — K.J. Miller had a dream his team would be cutting down the nets Tuesday afternoon.
Miller’s dream became reality as he scored 32 points to lead Christian Community over New Day Academy 74-61 in an Ohio Christian School Athletic Association Northeast regional final.
The regional championship is the first in school history for the Warriors, who advance to play Ohio Valley Christian in a state semifinal Friday at 7:30 p.m at Ohio Christian University in Circleville.
“I dreamt it and it happened,” Miller said. “I caught fire and ended up with 32. This is the biggest win for the CCS program. It feels great.”
Miller scored 18 of his 32 in the second half, including a pair of 3-pointers. After New Day went on a run to close the gap to six with 2:41 left in the game, Miller answered with a three, a layup and a pair of free throws to extend the lead for the Warriors (17-4).
“My plan was to attack, because last game I had an off game,” Miller said. “I really needed to step up because this was a big, big game. I give a lot of credit to our coaches and staff.”
P.J. Norris also had a big game for CCS, finishing with 18 points, including a 3-pointer to kick off the first quarter. He also had a steal and a layup near the end of the first to put CCS up 10.
“There’s always intimidation when you face a bigger opponent, but we’ve been playing well against big men lately,” Norris said. “Cutting the nets down was great. We could always come back here, look up and see that banner. It’s a great way to go out in your high school career. It’s a moment I won’t forget.”
CCS coach Brenda Fox was excited about the win and what the team has accomplished this season. Every time her team allowed New Day (21-8) to get back in the game, the Warriors were able to answer and not get frazzled.
New Day got no closer than six in the second half.
“I’m super proud of these guys,” Fox said. “This has been a dream team and season. Every time they caught up, we just kept finding a way to push them back down. I told them, ‘We didn’t come this far for nothing, we need to swing the momentum back our way.’”
After a scooping layup by Nate Hull (six points, game-high 14 rebounds) gave the Warriors a 23-13 lead early in the second quarter, the Eagles capitalized on four CCS turnovers to score four easy baskets and cut a 10-point deficit to two.
New Day Academy’s Daniel Garrison hit a 3-pointer with less than three minutes to play in the half that cut the lead to one before Miller (3-pointer) and Norris (layup) scored on back-to-back possessions to put the Warriors up six at halftime.
Tom Nowoslawski also added 11, including capping a putback on his own miss right before the third-quarter buzzer to put the Warriors up 11.
“Preparation was the key,” New Day Academy coach Damon Tyson said. “We weren’t prepared. (Christian Community) came out here prepared. They played and it showed on the floor. You have to be prepared and understand preparation to be successful.
“We had guys that weren’t at practice the day before a game like this. These guys don’t understand you have to pay your dues in order to get anything in life.”
Christian Community 74, New Day Academy 61
NEW DAY ACADEMY (61): Jeremiah Moore 3-0-7, Daniel Garrison 8-2-20, Rico Stevens 3-4-10, Justin Davidson 5-0-10, Davarien Hood 1-0-2, Fabian Hamilton 1-1-3, Devaun Allen 4-0-9. Totals 25-7-61.
CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY (74): Jack Babet 1-0-3, Nate Hull 3-0-6, K.J. Miller 12-4-32, Tom Nowoslawski 4-3-11, P..J Norris 6-5-18, Alante Johnson 1-1-3, Quinton Pruitt 0-0-0, Jacob Baker 0-1-1. Totals 27-14-74.
New Day 13 16 17 15 — 61
CCS 21 14 22 17 — 74
Three-point goals: New Day Academy 4-19 (Garrison 2, Allen, Moore), Christian Community 6-16 (Miller 4, Babet, Norris). Field goals: New Day 25-62 (40 percent), Christian Community 27-64 (42 percent). Free throws: New Day 7-12 (58 percent), Christian Community 14-22 (64 percent). Rebounds: New Day Academy 36 (Stevens 8), Christian Community 46 (Hull 14, Nowoslawski 9). Total fouls: New Day Academy 22, Christian Community 14. Turnovers: New Day Academy 23, Christian Community 26.