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.”
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.
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