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Blues come from behind to claim victory, third place
Posted: February 7th, 2014 @ 2:18am
By CLAUDE SCILLEY
The Kingston Blues' season is starting to look like one of their basketball games.
For the second game in a row Thursday, KC overcame a halftime deficit to defeat an opponent - this time the Holy Cross Crusaders, who fell 44-37 to the visiting Blues in a Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association contest.
These two games may come to represent the KC season in microcosm. After winning their first six in a row, the Blues lost two straight and faced games against Regi and Holy Cross, two teams over .500 that had a chance to push KC deeper into the standings.
By rallying to win those last two games, the Blues also rallied from their previous two defeats to finish third, and gain a home date for a quarter-final game Tuesday.
In its first game coming out of the exam break, KC trailed Regi by eight points at halftime before claiming a 49-40 win. In Thursday's game, the Blues would have been facing another eight-point deficit at the break had Reilly Lacasandile not hit a three-point shot at the buzzer.
The Blues took a one-point lead in the final minute of the third quarter, one in which they outscored the home team 14-8, with Isaac Foley coming off the bench to score six of those KC points, including the go-ahead basket.
In the fourth quarter the lead changed hands four times and the score was tied when Thomas Ronson scored to put KC ahead 39-37 with 2:48 to play. The score stayed that way until Foley hit a free throw with 34 seconds left. He missed a foul shot with 18 seconds to play and it was still a three-point lead when the Crusaders called timeout with nine seconds remaining.
Holy Cross promptly turned the ball over, however, and Sayre Powers scored a basket and both free throws after he was intentionally fouled to seal the Crusaders' second loss in a row after a 6-1 start.
Blues coach Sam Miller said the two games this week were remarkably similar.
"Holy Cross and Regi I find quite similar," he said. "They each have two big kids who are quite dominant for them and in the first half of each game we struggled handling those kids."
As Holy Cross took an early 8-1 lead, it appeared the Crusaders' dominance inside might turn the game into a rout. "I was worried at the end of the first half because their bigs are good," Miller said.
"We put our smaller, athletic kids on them and helped from the back side. We left the big kids in and said if we're going to perish, we're going to perish with them shooting threes - and they hit a couple.
"If you're going to live on the edge, it's hard to watch but - our smalls did a good job on their bigs, Sayer Powers and Roy MacInnes took on those two big kids and it's not like we neutralized them but compared to the first half, their looks didn't come quite as comfortably."
Miller said he was proud of the way his players battled in the second half.
"Our kids are getting tougher," he said. "Offensively we got baskets when things weren't going (well). It wasn't pretty but we'll take what we can."
Lacasandile led KC with 12 points, while Ronson and Powers each scored eight, with Powers getting all of his in the second half. Brent Martindale and Jeremy Pendergast each scored 10 points for Holy Cross, all but four of them in the first half. The Crusaders finished the game with just five points in the fourth quarter.
With its third-place finish, KC will host the Regiopolis Notre Dame Panthers Tuesday. Regi, in a game that decided fifth place Thursday, dropped a 58-38 decision to the Golden Eagles at Sydenham.
In games that confirmed what was expected, the La Salle Black Knights completed a 9-1 season with a 70-24 win over the winless Granite Ridge Gryphons in a game that was postponed from Wednesday due to the storm. The Frontenac Falcons defeated another team not bound for the playoffs, the Napanee Golden Hawks, 62-28.
The Falcons also finished 9-1, but were placed second by virtue of having lost the La Salle in the regular season.
The Bayridge Blazers, destined to finish seventh regardless of the outcome of their game with Queen Elizabeth, beat the Raiders 58-32. Playing at home, the Blazers got 13 points from Jordon Fehr and 11 from Austin Macklem. Alex Reid scored 10 points for QE.
The Holy Cross game with Napanee scheduled for Friday has already been forfeited by the Golden Hawks.
In Tuesday's other quarter-finals, Sydenham, 6-4, will visit Holy Cross, 7-3; La Salle will entertain Loyalist, 3-7, and Bayridge, 5-5, will travel to Frontenac.
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