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Blues stay unbeaten with come-from-behind victory over Sydenham
Posted: December 16th, 2013 @ 10:37pm
By CLAUDE SCILLEY
One team persevered through their difficulties Monday afternoon and figured out how to make their game plan work. The other did not.
On the basis of that alone, it shouldn't take a scholar to figure which team won the basketball game.
After spotting the Sydenham Golden Eagles an eight-point lead, the Kingston Blues rallied for a 41-37 victory in a Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association senior game at the Queen's University Athletics and Recreation Centre.
The Blues did it by disrupting the Eagles on the perimeter. In doing so, they thwarted Sydenham's plan, which was to get the ball inside.
It didn't go that well at the start of the game, as the visitors took an 8-0 lead. Tom Withey and Ben Lusk hit three-point baskets in the spree, and the Eagles owned the offensive glass.
"The defence that we were playing is new," Blues coach Sam Miller said. "We knew (Withey) was the key for them so we went box-and-one and we haven't run much of it. The kids had to make some adjustments.
"Down (eight) to start is not great but the kids responded well in terms of making adjustments and taking away their perimeter game."
KC cut the lead to 10-5 by the end of the first quarter and Sydenham still led, 17-14, at halftime. The Blues led 26-23 going into the final period, when the lead changed hands a couple of times before KC took a lead that fluctuated between one and three points until Sydenham tied the game 35-35 with about two minutes to play.
It was a two-point game going into the final minute but KC's Reilly Lacasandile, shooting in a bonus situation, hit four straight free throws around a Sydenham field goal, the final two with 11 seconds to play.
"We didn't defend the perimeter very well in the second half," Sydenham coach Shaun Kennedy said. "They put a lot of pressure on us. We didn't get a lot of chances to feed our post guys, which would be one of our advantages.
"We didn't respond to pressure the way we should have. We didn't stick to our game plan. We wanted to utilize our post play but they took us out of that."
While Steve Kennedy scored 12 points for Sydenham, Kurt MacComish ended the game with just three as the Blues slowly began to rebound better.
"We came out flat-footed and didn't box out and weren't tough," Miller said. "In the end we showed some toughness, not just grit to play through some bad execution -and some unintelligent execution - but to tough it out and play more physically on the boards."
Wes Laird led KC with 12 points, including a pair of threes, one that tied the game at the start of the second half, and another later in the third quarter that gave KC its first lead of the game at 22-20. Sayre Powers, playing not at full strength after getting nicked in a weekend tournament, scored eight points for the unbeaten Blues, who moved into a first-place tie with idle La Salle at 4-0.
Sydenham fell to 2-2.
* * *
Some unconventional work in practice last week helped the Loyalist Lancers to reach .500 with their second win of the season, a 57-50 verdict over the visiting Queen Elizabeth Raiders.
Rookie coach Brock McArthur, tired of his players not communicating on the floor, literally blindfolded them Friday in an effort to get them talking. "We could be one of the best defensive teams (in the league) but it comes down to work and talking," he said. "They're really quiet right now."
In the drill, each player was paired with a teammate. One of them was blindfolded and the other had to give directions to guide him to a ball that was placed somewhere on the gym floor.
"I said, 'If you guys don't talk you're going to get hurt,'" McArthur said. "That's all we did for 40 minutes. (If it was) me and you - I'd blindfold you and I'd say, 'Go left, go left. Go right, go right. Take five steps forward.' Then you find the ball, you have to walk it all the way back to your guy, and then you're sent out to do a new one.
"We talked today so I guess it worked. We'll see about next game."
Loyalist led by as much as nine points in the first quarter and eight in the second but couldn't put away the pesky Raiders, who cut the gap to 24-21 at halftime. The Lancers, quite unafraid to shoot from anywhere on the floor, hit five three-point baskets in the third quarter - seven in the second half - as they built the lead to 19 points midway through the final period.
LC had 10 threes in the game, from five different players.
"They shot really well from (three-point range) in the second half," QE coach Denis Aseltine said. "That really killed us. They hit a couple of shots that were contested and they still hit them. That hurt."
McArthur, only three years removed from playing for the senior Lancers and now studying police foundations at St. Lawrence College, says his players have latitude to shoot. "If they're taking smart shots and they're open, I can't get mad at them," he said.
McArthur is confident the team will evolve over the course of the season.
"We're not there yet," he said. "If we work every day and continue to work, we can do things. We can be a good team."
The Raiders, though winless after four starts, had their best offensive performance of the season. Aseltine was pleased with the way his team scored 13 of the game's last 14 points.
"They didn't give up. They played right to the end," he said of his players. "They've got some heart."
Indeed, QE had the game's top two scorers, Alex Reid, who scored 21 points, and Jordan Wilson, who came off the bench to score 17.
"We're struggling. We're young and we're inexperienced," Aseltine said. "We've got some stuff to learn. There's room to improve but it's going to be tough."
* * *
In Monday's other senior game, every player reached the scoresheet as the Regiopolis Notre Dame Panthers defeated the Napanee Golden Hawks 65-31. Playing at Napanee, Nick Savoie led Regi with 21 points as the Panthers improved to 2-1. Napanee slipped to 0-4.
* * *
Tonight, two of the league's top teams will clash at 6 o'clock at Frontenac, where the Falcons, 2-0, will host the La Salle Black Knights, 4-0. At 8 p.m. KC will host the Bayridge Blazers, 2-2, at the Queen's upper gym.
* * *
In junior play Tuesday, KC spotted Sydenham a 24-19 lead before coming back to claim a 47-44 victory. Logan Repath led the Blues with 11 points, while Quenten Lemmon led all scorers with 13 points for Sydenham.
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