By CLAUDE SCILLEY
But for two relatively brief spurts in their game Thursday afternoon, the Frontenac Falcons were a very ordinary basketball team.
Thankfully for the Falcons, however, they did enough damage in those two stretches to overcome two significant deficits and defeat the Holy Cross Crusaders 53-48 in a Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association senior basketball game.
The win stretched the Falcons’ season-long undefeated streak to six games, but don’t ask coach Suche James to explain how they did it.
“I still don’t really know how we won that game,” James said, after his team overcame a pair of seven-point deficits: 17-10 at the end of the first quarter and 34-27 after Holy Cross opened the second half with an 8-2 run.
Frontenac overcame the first by scoring nine points in the first three minutes of the second quarter, part of a 14-3 run that had the Falcons leading 24-20. Trailing by a point, 41-40, going into the fourth quarter, Frontenac scored the first eight points—six of them on back-to-back threes by Kyle Casford—to take the lead for good.
“It was pretty streaky,” James said, “but it was enough offensively to deal with things.”
Such has been the nature of Frontenac’s performance this year, James said.
“That’s the way we are," he said. "We go through those valleys and peaks offensively in every game. It lasts for a brief moment in time and it’s gone again, but it’s enough right now to grind out some wins.”
Are such spurts the basis for encouragement, suggesting to a coach that better things are in the offing, or a cause for concern because it denotes inconsistency?
“It’s encouraging,” James said, “because we weren’t grinding out wins at the beginning of the season and now we are.”
The other thing that pleased James about Thursday’s victory was the fact that it was achieved with just six points from his best player, Carter Matheson.
“It’s not like it’s anything particular with him; it was just one of those games where he only scored five or six points,” James said. “We had an issue at the beginning where we were relying on him way too much. He sat for a lot of December because he got sick and it ended up that other kids had to step up.
“Now we’re in a scenario where we’re fine if he’s either here or there. He’s clearly our best player and everyone knows that, but now we’re able to grind out a win without him having to carry the whole team, which is a really big thing for us.”
The Falcons had eight three-point baskets from six different players, but James said the long ball is not his team’s trademark. “We really didn’t shoot the ball particularly well,” he said.
“(Holy Cross) always play us tough. I thought they shot the ball well, especially in the first half. We had to adjust a little bit and wake out of our slumber defensively, which we did in the second half.”
Frontenac led 50-45 with about a minute and a half left in the game. A basket by Brayden Norris cut the Holy Cross deficit to three points, but the Crusaders couldn’t get closer, despite two Frontenac turnovers in the final minute. On the first the Crusaders threw the ball out of bounds and on the second, they immediately gave it right back.
Still three fouls from putting Frontenac in a bonus foul-shooting situation, the Crusaders were stymied when the Falcons made three of four shots from the free-throw line once they finally did get them there.
Casford, who had three three-pointers, Tristan Halladay and Brendan Steele, who came off the bench to do so, each had 11 points for Frontenac.
Holy Cross, which slipped to 2-2, got 11 points off the bench from Norris, who scored all seven of his team’s points in the fourth quarter. Jeremy Pendergast scored eight of his 10 points in the first half while Luciano Troiani and Sam Pierson, who hit three three-point baskets, each finished the game with nine points for the Crusaders.
In other senior games Thursday:
• The Queen Elizabeth Raiders made the long trip to Sharbot Lake worth their while, as they gained their first win of the year, 57-31 over the Granite Ridge Gryphons. Tyler Bark led QE with 12 points, while Evrold Watts and John MacDonald scored 11 points apiece for the Raiders. Kyle Kinkley-Dale led all scorers in the losing cause, with 15 points for the Gryphons, who slipped to 0-6.
• At Bayridge, the Blazers won their fourth game in a row, 78-48 over the Loyalist Lancers. Austin Macklen, with 23 points, and John Harper and Michael Powley, with 12 points apiece, reached double figures for the home team. Kaelan Ingersoll scored 21 points for the Lancers, 1-6, who got an 18-point performance from Taylor Pettingill.
Play resumes Tuesday with three games, including Regiopolis Notre Dame, 4-0, at Bayridge, 4-2, and Kingston, 4-2, at Frontenac.