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 girls basketball: Rough first half sinks UCA Crusaders 59-30

UCA Crusader Moriah Lafoe (center right) blocks the progress of Massey-Vanier high Viking Jasmine Heon as Lafoe's teammate Hannah Piette (obscured left) and Heon's teammate Brooke Stoddard move into position.  Photos by Richard Creaser

UCA Crusader Moriah Lafoe (center right) blocks the progress of Massey-Vanier high Viking Jasmine Heon as Lafoe’s teammate Hannah Piette (obscured left) and Heon’s teammate Brooke Stoddard move into position. Photos by Richard Creaser

by Richard Creaser

copyright the Chronicle 1-13-13

NEWPORT — A strong first half by the visiting Massey-Vanier High School Vikings girls basketball team led to defeat for the home team United Christian Academy Crusaders on Wednesday night, January 9.  The visitors from Cowansville, Quebec, would emerge on top with a final score of 59-30.

“We are definitely a second-half team,” UCA Coach Molly Smith said after the game.  “We don’t start as aggressively as sometimes we should.”

The Crusaders hung tough through the early goings keeping pace with Massey-Vanier.  Then the Vikings turned up the heat and recorded ten straight points before UCA could rally.  At the end of the first quarter the home squad found themselves down 22-10.  Though UCA’s defense tightened and limited the Vikings to just 12 points in the second quarter, that defense came at the expense of UCA offense.  UCA would only post seven points of their own and enter halftime down 34-17.

“I think we had a little bit more drive coming out in the second half,” UCA’s Hannah Piette said after the game.  “Everyone was giving that little bit extra and I think it showed.  Everyone stepped it up and not just a few girls but the whole team.”

Coach Smith commended her team on the newfound aggression they displayed in the second half.  Their willingness to take a foul to break up Massey-Vanier’s momentum derailed what had been a smoothly operating offensive machine.

“In the second half we had more movement in our offense,” Coach Smith said.  “Our man-to-man was solid and we started taking away scoring chances.”

With a tremendous deficit ahead of them, UCA focused on playing the best game they could, Ms. Piette said.  The second half became less about a team desperate to win a match and more about a team displaying its pride and its confidence in its ability.

“I think we had the mindset that we just wanted to close that gap,” Ms. Piette said.  “We wanted to get 30 points and we weren’t going to give up.”

UCA girls layup

UCA Crusader Amy DeLaBruere (right) goes in for the basket after outpacing Massey-Vanier’s Rikki-Lee Blumenfeld (center) and Erika Champigny-Rolfe.

Though the Lady Crusaders were outscored 25 to 14 in the second half, it was clear that Massey-Vanier no longer ruled the court unchallenged.  At every turn and on every pass or shot a Crusader was there.

“We need to remember that this game has four quarters and we can’t just be a second-half team,” Coach Smith said.  “We just need to dial it up through the whole game.”

Viking Rikki-Lee Blumenfeld led all scorers with 22 points while Azizza Goyette also added 14 points for Massey-Vanier.  Hannah Piette recorded 11 points for UCA while Amy DeLaBruere and Kathryn Daigle each added six points.

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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