In boys basketball: UCA defense propels Crusaders to victory

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UCA boys Webster

Marquel Taylor-Webster (right) provided a dominant presence around the basket during UCA’s 55-29 win over the visiting Massey-Vanier Vikings from Cowansville, Quebec. Taylor-Webster accounted for 24 of the Crusaders’ points. Trying to contain Taylor-Webster is Massey-Vanier’s Aidan Neil as UCA’s Jon DeLaBruere looks on (background left). Photo by Richard Creaser

by Richard Creaser

copyright the Chronicle 1-13-2013

NEWPORT —  In the second game of a varsity double header at the Newport Municipal Building against the visiting Massey-Vanier High School Vikings from Cowansville, Quebec, the United Christian Academy Crusaders boys avenged the UCA girls’ loss in the opening game.  The Crusaders boys would top the Vikings boys 55-29 for the win.

The victory started and ended with solid team defense, UCA Coach Tony DeLaBruere said after the game.  The Crusaders’ defense also generated plenty of scoring opportunities for the home team, which had 25 points in the first half.

“We held them to nine points in the first half,” Coach DeLaBruere said.  “If you can do that you have a good chance of coming out on top.”

The Crusaders played the game hovering on the brink of disaster throughout, a fact due not to  lack of talent but simply a lack of bench depth.  With only six players dressed for Wednesday’s contest (January 9), UCA was only a tweaked knee or a foul-out from losing control of the game.

“Luckily the boys are pretty well conditioned, having played soccer this fall,” Coach DeLaBruere said.  “Sure, they tire out at the end of the game but they can give it their all for all four quarters.  Injuries and fouls are what we need to worry about more.”

On a night when everything seemed to be going UCA’s way, Marquel Taylor-Webster stood head and shoulders above the competition — often quite literally.  Taylor-Webster’s presence under the net gave the Crusaders command of the basket.

“Inside we had a pretty good game,” Coach DeLaBruere said.  “Marquel was able to do pretty much whatever he wanted.”

Taylor-Webster’s prowess around the basket did not go unnoticed by his opponents.  Throughout the second half, two Vikings were assigned to guard him.

“I didn’t even notice that they had two guys on me until late in the game when I was dribbling down the sideline and saw them,” Mr. Taylor-Webster said after the game.  “Knowing they were there really didn’t change my game.  I just did what I had to do.”

What he did was provide a steady presence to snatch rebounds and bury baskets whenever he was given the chance to do so.  He credits his teammates with generating those opportunities.

“They were the ones that gave me those chances,” Mr. Taylor-Webster said.  “They set up those baskets by giving me good screens.”

UCA boys Saaman

UCA Crusader Paul Saaman bursts out of a crowd to land a basket during Wednesday night’s 55-29 victory over visiting Massey-Vanier High School. Guarding the net for the Vikings are Matt Delorme (left) and Timothy Lefebvre (right). Photos by Richard Creaser

The Crusaders established a 16-point lead in the first quarter and carried that into the half despite slowing down the scoring pace somewhat.  As the second half opened up the Vikings appeared to show renewed life, adding ten points in one quarter where they had managed only nine through the first half.  UCA responded to the challenge late in the quarter and expanded their lead to a full 20 points.

Though Massey-Vanier’s second half would more than triple their output from the first half, the Crusader scoring and defensive machine would keep on rolling to a 55-29 victory.

Marquel Taylor-Webster would lead all scorers with 24 points on the day.  Also scoring in double digits were fellow Crusaders Paul Saaman with 14 and Chris DeLaBruere with 10.  Aidan Neil led the visiting Vikings with 11 points while Timothy Lefebvre posted 10 in the contest.

      Contact Richard Creaser at nek_scribbler@hotmail.comFor more free sports stories, look in our sports category on this site or subscribe to our print or online editions.  Click on this link for a full winter sports schedule.

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In boys basketball: Falcons top Thunderbirds in high scoring affair

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North Country’s Kendrick Gray (center behind number 22) jumps to block a shot by Missisquoi Valley’s R.J. Machia as Falcon Jason Hatin (right) and Thunderbird Alex Deuso look on. In mid-flight Machia would execute a maneuver that enabled him to bounce pass to Deuso for the basket. Photo by Richard Creaser

by Richard Creaser

copyright the Chronicle 12-15-2012

NEWPORT — It was a wild and wooly affair as the host North Country Falcons staved off a late run by the visiting Missisquoi Valley Union Thunderbirds to snag the 94-90 win.  Late foul trouble allowed the Thunderbirds to claw back into contention in a fourth quarter that saw the two teams score a combined 64 points.

“My boys delivered what I promised at the beginning of the year — an entertaining team,” North Country Coach Brian Bonvechio said after the game.  “We kept trying to attack, attack, attack.  We don’t play the slow game very well so we need to keep up the tempo.”

The tempo was clearly something the Falcons needed to build toward.  Through the first half of the game the Falcons rarely had the lead, often finding themselves chasing down MVU on the score sheet.  What kept the Falcons in the contest throughout the game was a barrage of three-point field goals and solid shooting from the foul line.

Sophomore Matt Duncan was among North Country’s most proficient shooters on the day.  Though held to a single three-pointer in the first quarter, Duncan came alive in the second notching nine of the Falcons’ 27 points heading into the half.  He finished the night with six of the team’s 13 three-pointers as well as going eight for 11 from the free throw line and adding in a couple of two-point baskets for good measure.

“You gotta run and gun and hit the shots,” Duncan said after the game.  “I really gotta give credit to the team for giving me those shots.  I just went out there and did what I had to do to get the win.”

North Country’s Matthew Duncan (center, number 21) springs in for the lay-up through a defensive screen on Missisquoi Valley Union defenders Alex Deuso (left), Matthieu St. Amour (right) and Alex Larose (obscured right) as Falcon Colton White (background left) moves in for the rebound. Duncan would finish the game with 30 points including six three-point field goals and shooting 8 for 10 from the free throw line. Photo by Richard Creaser

The Thunderbirds battled intensely under the net limiting North Country’s opportunities for rebounds.  MVU’s tight control around the net enabled them to establish a first quarter lead of 18-14.  As the Falcons settled into their outside shooting routine, however, control of the net became less of an issue for North Country.

With Rejean Roberge, Tyler Paxman and Matt Duncan landing three-pointers in the quarter, North Country managed to remain in contention. Paxman’s buzzer beating three-pointer to end the second trimmed MVU’s six point lead and finished the half with North Country down 44-41.

Though the third quarter wasn’t as productive as the second in terms of total points scored, 24 points in the third compared to 27 in the second, MVU’s own offense faltered to a game-low 11 points.  For the second straight quarter the home team outscored the visitors.  Duncan poured in three more three-pointers with Paxman and Tyler Sanville also contributing to the cause.

Foul trouble caught up to both sides in the final quarter of play.  It also contributed to an offensive explosion on the part of both teams.  Matthieu St. Amour, the Thunderbirds leading offensive contributor, would foul out in the final quarter.  After recording 45 of his team’s points, his loss to the MVU cause could not be underestimated.  St. Amour finished the game with ten two-pointers, five three-pointers and shot 10 for 17 from the free throw line.

“We drew way too many fouls at the end,” Coach Bonvechio conceded.  “They went to the line a lot and that really cut down our lead.”

As the Thunderbirds likewise ran into foul trouble the Falcons managed to maintain their lead.  Duncan shot 3 of 4 in his final two trips to the free throw line and Jason Hatin shot a perfect 5 for 5 on foul shots in the game, including 4 for 4 in the final quarter alone.

Duncan lead all North Country players with 30 points in the win while three other players contributed with double digit figures — Hatin with 15, Colton White with 11 and Paxman with 10.  St. Amour was the clear top offensive player for the Thunderbirds with his 45 points accounting for half of his team’s output on the evening.  Tyler Cooper scored 17 points for MVU while Nathan Lumsden contributed 13 in the losing effort.

Contact Richard Creaser at nek_scribbler@hotmail.com

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UCA vs CA boys basketball game decided in final quarter

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by Richard Creaser

copyright the Chronicle 12-9-2012

Craftsbury Academy Charger Austin Masi (left) bolts down the sideline as UCA Crusader Ji Hwan Kim tries to cut off his avenue of attack. Photos by Richard Creaser

NEWPORT — The balance of the game hung on every basket as the well-matched United Christian Academy Crusaders hosted the visiting Craftsbury Academy Chargers on Saturday afternoon.  An unbroken run of 11 points in the final quarter of play helped propel the Crusaders to a 46-41 win over Craftsbury.

Throughout the game fans from both schools watched as their team battled back to take or retake the lead.  The Crusaders came out strong in the first quarter after allowing Craftsbury to open the scoring.  UCA responded with 14 straight points before the Chargers clawed back onto the scoreboard.  At the end of the first, UCA took the lead 19-13.

The second quarter belonged solidly to the Chargers despite UCA recording eight of the first nine points in that quarter. Craftsbury would record the last 14 points to take a 28-27 point lead into the half.

Coming back from the break the third quarter boasted the least amount of scoring of the entire game.  Both sides managed only nine total points between them with Craftsbury padding their lead to 34-30 entering the final frame of play.

Craftsbury Charger Austin Masi (center) leaps for the basket as UVCA defender Marquel Webster (right) and Chris Delabruere (left) try to stop the drive.

That’s when the Crusaders came to life and racked up their 11-point run including going 5 for 6 from the foul line.  The Chargers battled back to within four points only to send the Crusaders back to the foul line time and again.  Though the Crusaders would not enjoy quite the same degree of success as they had earlier, shooting only 3 for 9, those extra points helped round out the 46-41 victory.

Chris Delabruere paced the Crusaders with 18 points and closely followed by teammate Paul Saaman who recorded 17 points on the day.  Ctaftsbury’s Kyle Adams recorded 17 points followed by Alex Vetere who scored 11 points in the losing effort.

Contact Richard Creaser at nek_scribbler@hotmail.com

The members of the United Christian Academy Crusaders boys varsity basketball team for the 2012-2013 season are, back row from left to right: Dale Martel, Jon Delabruere, Marquel Webster, Marc Quirion and Coach Tony Delabruere. front row from left: Chris Delabruere, Ji Hwan Kim and Paul Saaman.
Photo by Richard Creaser

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