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Stirring fourth quarter gives Regi narrow victory over Bayridge

December 13, 2013

By CLAUDE SCILLEY

A basket by Duncan Lambert with seven seconds left in the game lifted the Regiopolis Notre Dame Panthers to a 57-56 win over the Bayridge Blazers in a senior high school boys basketball game Thursday afternoon.

Regi’s first win of the season was a stirring victory, as the Panthers completed not one but two dramatic comebacks in the fourth quarter to win a game they trailed by 14 points with seven minutes to play.

Lambert’s basket from the middle of the key completed a 20-point scoring performance, one that didn’t include any three-point baskets.

“Duncan wasn’t hitting from outside,” Regi coach Ed Kenney said. “He’s a very good shooter but he was smart enough to go inside and his last basket was a good example.

“Sometimes shooters get it in their head that if it’s doesn’t go in from (three-point range), then it’s not going to drop at all but he was good about it. He went back inside and went to work and got his twos.”

Playing at Regi, Bayridge, 2-2, led by five points at halftime and by nine after the third quarter. When Matt Brash scored the first five points of the fourth quarter the Blazers had what appeared to be a comfortable 14-point advantage.

From there, however, Regi scored 12 straight points and 15 of 16 to tie the game 49-49 with three and a half minutes to play. Bayridge had restored the lead to five points, 54-49, when the Panthers called time out with 1:39 on the clock.

A pair of free throws and a basket by Connor Santoni cut the gap to one point and then Austin Macklem hit a pair of foul shots for Bayridge to take the lead back to three.

After Eli Deluzio scored for Regi, Bayridge still led by one but the Blazers turned the ball over near mid-court and the Panthers called time out with 19.3 seconds to play. After Lambert’s basket put Regi in the lead for the first time since the first quarter, the Blazers had one last chance. After a timeout Bayridge put the ball in play with four seconds left but they didn’t get a good look at the basket and Santoni got a hand on a three-point attempt from the top by Derek Platt to seal the victory.

Crucial to the win, Kenney said, was the way his players “kept their heads” after “losing their cool” in the third quarter.

“We haven’t played a lot so we hadn’t been in that situation and it’s like a lot of things — you don’t learn how to deal with a situation until you’re in it,” he said. “We walked out of La Salle (after we lost) last week and said the best thing for this group is to beat somebody who is as good as they are or better than they are. Bayridge is a very good team. They shot the ball very well. They looked a lot like La Salle after a while … but the fact that we were able to overcome it, that’s a good thing for what we were struggling with, which is keeping our focus, staying mentally tough and trying to remain positive when bad things happen.”

The veteran players, Lambert and Santoni, were instrumental in settling the team down, Kenney said.

“Our load was very well shared,” Kenney said, “(but) in the middle of the game, to hold it together, Duncan and Connor were our go-to guys.

“We were having a hard time keeping it together and the Grade 10 (players) are looking around. Your Grade 11s and your 12s should collect the group and they should get them organized and they should get them focused and the 10s should follow. They did. They followed their lead and that was good.”

Santoni finished the game with 18 points as Regi outscored Bayridge 23-13 in the fourth quarter. Macklem finished with a game-best 26 for Bayridge, with a pair of three-point baskets and 6-for-8 shooting from the free-throw line. Platt’s 10-point effort also included a pair of threes.

• • •

In other Kingston Area Secondary Schools Athletic Association senior games Thursday, the Holy Cross Crusaders defeated the Loyalist Lancers 60-28, the La Salle Black Knights remain undefeated after a 63-33 win over the visiting Napanee Golden Hawks and the unbeaten Kingston Blues made their trip to Sharbot Lake worthwhile with a 92-33 victory over the Granite Ridge Gryphons.

At Holy Cross, Loyalist didn’t score a basket until the game’s 10th minute and the Crusaders, 2-1, held a startling 17-1 lead after the first quarter. From that point, however, to the middle of the third quarter, Loyalist outscored Holy Cross 19-18 as the home team struggled.

A 14-3 run through the early part of the fourth quarter — fuelled at the start by a pair of three-point baskets by Eric MacRow — left the outcome no longer in doubt but it remained clear that the Crusaders, 2-1, have some work to do to establish a consistent game.

“If you watch La Salle play, they defend hard. If you watch Frontenac play, they defend hard. You watch Sydenham play, they defend hard,” Crusaders coach Robin Dzierniejko said. “That’s something we prided ourselves on the last six, seven years. It’s always been defence first. We haven’t had the greatest basketball players in the city. We’ve had some very talented ones, sure, but our guys worked hard. They prided themselves on their defence.

“This year, it’s like we haven’t figured that out yet. We’re good, but we’re not good enough to win without working hard.”

Dzierniejko said little things have been irritants, like Thursday, when nine of his players arrived for the game out of uniform. “That’s one of our procedures,” he said. “You come to the game in uniform, not with the wrong shoes or no tie.

“Realistically we should have stuck to our guns, benched nine guys and played with five.”

Dzierniejko has just one fifth-year player on his team this year — MacRow — and though he says he has more “actual basketball players” — as opposed to athletes playing basketball — “they’re young.”

“We’ve got half Grade 12s, half Grade 11s. We’re young and we’re tying to find our identity. I really hope our identity is a defence-first basketball team come February.”

Dzierniejko’s objective each game is to hold the opponent to less than 30 points — “then, no matter how bad we are offensively … you have a decent shot at a win, right?” he said — but it’s also necessary to make the other team work.

“We were keeping track of offensive possessions,” he said. “A lot of them in the first half were two, four, nine, 11 (seconds). If you look at LC’s possessions, 21 seconds, 30 seconds. I think we only had two possessions that were 30 seconds, we had maybe four or five that were 20 in the whole game. You’re not going to win if you do that, unless you have five guys who can shoot the lights out consistently. You need to make the defence move, you need to make them shift, you need to make them work.”

Brent Martindale led Holy Cross with 16 points, including eight in the first quarter. Brayden Norris came off the bench to score nine points on a day when nine different Crusaders would hit the scoresheet.

Arsalan Ijar scored nine points to lead Loyalist.

Play resumes Monday when Sydenham, 2-1, plays KC, 3-0, at the Queen’s University upper gym, Regi, 1-1, visits Napanee, 0-3, and Loyalist, 1-2, hosts the Queen Elizabeth Raiders, who have yet to win in three starts.

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