Healthy Hammerstrom keys LCA win


Healthy Hammerstrom keys LCA win

By John Bombatch -

Legacy Christian’s Keano Hammerstrom (30) puts up a 3-point shot at the buzzer ending the first half, Jan. 23 at Yellow Springs High School. Hammerstrom was fouled and made all three shots — twice — at the buzzers ending the first and second quarters.

YELLOW SPRINGS — Three buzzer beating scores at the end of the first three quarters — all by Legacy Christian’s healthy Keano Hammerstrom — proved to be the difference in the visiting Knights’ 65-58 win over Yellow Springs, Jan. 23 in a Metro Buckeye Conference battle.

Coach Brad Newsome said Hammerstrom and Legacy Christian teammate Erik Uszynski were finally back to full strength, after Hammerstrom had been sidelined with two sprained ankles and Uszynski was out with the flu bug for a little over two weeks. Having the Knights’ top two scorers healthy again was a big plus for LCA against the host Bulldogs.

Uszynski finished the game with a game-high 22 points while Hammerstrom was next with 20 in the win.

Hammerstrom’s late-quarter heroics may have been the difference, however.

First, he fired a 3-pointer from the right wing as the buzzer sounded to end the first quarter and was fouled. The 6-foot junior guard calmly drained all three free-throw tries with no time left in the period to pull the Knights within three points, 13-16, of Yellow Springs.

Then, Hammerstrom put up a three-point try from the left side as the buzzer sounded to end the first half, and again he was fouled. And once again, Hammerstrom calmly drained all three free throws with no time left on the clock. This time, Hammerstrom’s heroics earned LCA a 36-33 lead at the break.

But he wasn’t done.

Hammerstrom missed a shot, but got the rebound and scored as the buzzer sounded to end the third quarter. That buzzer beater gave the Knights a 49-43 lead after three quarters of play.

“We had those two late fouls at the end of the first and second quarters, and we had some crucial turnovers in the second half, and those hurt us,” Yellow Springs coach Bobby Crawford said. “So losing by seven points — with bonehead turnovers and those fouls at the end of those two quarters — you take those away and it’s a different ball game.”

Three Bulldog players finished with double-figure scoring: Andrew Clark led the team with 18 points; James Browning had a solid 15-point effort; and Tony Marinelli finished with 13 for Yellow Springs (4-9, 3-5 MBC), which plays next at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 26 at Miami Valley.

Yellow Springs has now lost six straight.

Newsome was happy to get out of the Bulldogs’ gym with a win, but felt that his team still had some work to do in getting that team chemistry back. The Knights snapped a four-game losing streak with Tuesday night’s win.

“We don’t like to use that as an excuse, but yes. We are healthier now and that made a big difference tonight. We had several guys who had stepped up in their place, but those two are hard to replace,” Newsome said.

LCA is now 10-5 overall, 5-3 in the conference. They’re also back in action on Friday. The Knights will host Jefferson Township for a 7 p.m. game.