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La Salle wins big over Holy Cross in high school basketball opener

December 4, 2013


For the final four minutes of the second quarter Tuesday, the La Salle Black Knights showed the kind of basketball they’re capable of playing.

A remarkable 13-1 run propelled the Knights into a comfortable lead over the visiting Holy Cross Crusaders, one they rode to a 61-39 victory on the opening day of the Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association senior boys basketball season.

“It was just defensive intensity,” Knights coach Karen Graham explained of the outburst. “We’ve been working a lot on defence. It always turns the offence around once we get the defence ramped up like that.

“We have to be able to bring that more, that kind of intensity. I thought they did a pretty good job at times with that. They have to learn how to maintain it for 32 minutes.”

Heaven help the rest of the league if they ever do.

La Salle’s domination of Tuesday’s contest was thorough. Playing with a decided height advantage, the Knights allowed Holy Cross to score only one two-point basket in the first half, and just five altogether. Despite outscoring La Salle in the third quarter, the Crusaders never reduced a 20-point halftime deficit to less than 16 points.

In addition to the pivotal streak in the second quarter that took an eight-point game out of reach, La Salle, which was unbeaten in six preseason games, also had runs of 12-3, early in the game, and 13-4, in the fourth quarter.

Graham said some of her team’s difficulties outside those impressive stretches could be traced to the kinds of things that are typical early in the season.

“Sometimes on offence they were scrambling,” she said. “ They need to decide when it’s time to settle it down … but they played pretty well for the first league game of the season. It was pretty good. We have a lot to work on, though.”

Jesse Graham led La Salle with 21 points, a performance that included 7-of-8 shooting from the free-throw line. Bruce Burns scored 14 points on a day when he would hit four three-point baskets, and Tanner Graham added 11 points.

“We’re lucky because we have an inside and an outside game,” coach Graham said. “We’ve got guards who can hit from the outside but then we can go inside as well. A lot of high school teams can go in or out but they can’t do both. We have that advantage.”

Already at a height disadvantage, the Crusaders had to keep big man Brent Martindale on the bench for long stretches after he got two early fouls. He fouled out of the game early in the fourth quarter having scored three points.

That problem was exacerbated by the fact that the Crusaders shot dreadfully from three-point range. Unable either to challenge the Knights under the basket or draw them out, Holy Cross was left with little else.

Jonathan Besselink scored 16 points to lead the Crusaders, 13 of them in the second half, nine of them coming from three three-pointers. Matt Biber came off the bench to score nine points for Holy Cross.

In other opening-day games Tuesday, the Bayridge Blazers got double-digit scoring from three different players in a 78-36 win over the Granite Ridge Gryphons and the visiting Queen Elizabeth Raiders dropped a 56-38 decision to the Sydenham Golden Eagles.

Playing in Sharbot Lake, Derek Platt scored 14 points, Austin Macklem had 12 and Matt Brash scored 10 for Bayridge. Dave Cox led Granite Ridge with eight points.

Play resumes Thursday when the Kingston Blues visit Napanee, the Loyalist Lancers play at La Salle, Bayridge entertains Sydenham, the Frontenac Falcons travel to Granite Ridge and Holy Cross plays at QE.




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