WESTERVILLE, Ohio -- Sometimes, certain games just mean a little more.
That was evident for Worthington Christian on Friday night as the Warriors avenged their two-point loss from last year’s district final and stunned Harvest Prep with an emphatic 50-25 win.
In a game that wasn’t particularly close beyond the first quarter, Worthington Christian carried a determined intensity that never waned. Momentum was sparked by a defensive-led second period that held Harvest Prep to zero points.
As if the scoreless period wasn’t painful enough for Prep, the quarter was capped off by an emphatic open court slam dunk from Worthington Christian senior Tyler Kindberg that was perfectly timed right before the buzzer as the Warriors took a 21-10 halftime lead.
The offensive woes for Prep continued in the second half, while Worthington Christian only gained momentum. Led behind seniors Kindberg, Kobe Buford and junior DJ Moore, the trio combined for 14 third-quarter points and helped extend the Warriors lead to 19 into the fourth.
The lead would only grow as Worthington Christian was never threatened and prevented any chance of Prep pulling off a fourth-quarter run reminiscent of last year’s bout.
Although Worthington Christian had an impressive all-around team effort, Moore once again stood out as the game’s best player.
Consistently challenged the entire length of the floor each possession by Prep’s guards, most notably senior Mario Davis, Moore was in complete control most of the game and consistently made the right play. The Liberty commit finished with a game high 13 points and four assists.
Buford was next with 11 points that included three made triples, two of which came during Worthington Christian’s third-quarter run.
Kindberg showcased his athleticism with his active full-court play as he finished with nine points, a game-high seven rebounds and added three assists, two steals and a block.
Worthington Christian received additional production from their two starting posts, senior Isaiah Hazelwood and freshman Sam Johnson, who combined for 11 points and 11 rebounds. Junior Tommy Anthony had a fantastic first half in which he brought in four points, five rebounds and two back-to-back steals in the final minute of the second quarter.
Harvest Prep displayed admirable effort on defense, but failed to get into any offensive rhythm as they scored only 15 points after the first quarter. Senior Brian Beavers and sophomore Nyelle Shaheed led Prep with six points each.
The disappointing finish is a difficult conclusion on an otherwise fantastic Harvest Prep season and unbeaten streak that reached 30 games over two seasons. The loss also ends Harvest Prep's three-year run of a district championship.
Meanwhile for Worthington Christian, Friday night’s win marks their first district title since 2017 and gets them one step closer of meeting preseason expectations to reach the state tournament.
Worthington Christian's next test is the regional semifinals against Wheelersburg at Southeastern High School on Wednesday at 5:30pm.