The old saying “We didn’t lose. We just ran out of time.” definitely applies to this game. KVHS was on the ropes, down 15 points at one point with their best players struggling to score and the team dealing with foul trouble.
But then something clicked. They began to get some stops which turned into fast break layups. They were also able to solve the Rothesay full court pressure for more easy scoring opportunities. And finally, Liam McKee, who had been on the bench for a good portion of the 3rd and 4th quarters due to foul trouble, was able to find his scoring touch.
With about 4 minutes remaining in the game, Cole DeFazio, on one of his many full court acrobatic drives was able to cut the Rothesay lead to single digits at 69-60. Colin Downey, the Rothesay point guard, would respond with an aggressive drive of his own but could only covert one free throw to extend the Rothesay lead to 70-60.
As it turned out, that would be the last time the Red Hawks would score as KVHS would use a combination of good defense and some lucky bounces (unlucky if you’re a Rothesay fan) to hold Rothesay scoreless for the final 3:45 remaining in the game.
Over the next two and a half minutes, the Crusaders were able score on four of their five offensive possessions to cut the Red Hawks lead to 70-69. Following a tough Cohen Fisher rebound in traffic off a Rothesay miss the Crusaders had the ball looking to take their first lead of the game with about 50 seconds on the game clock.
Rothesay stayed in their man to man defense and KVHS continue to run a series of ball screens looking to attack the paint. Finally, with only 6 seconds on the shot clock, KVHS was able to free a shooter for a clean 15 foot jumper. Unfortunately it rimmed out and Rothesay’s Nick MacDougall went to the floor to out wrestle a 50/50 ball from Nick Hersay and to preserve their 1 point lead.
With about a 4 second differential between the game clock and the shot clock, KVHS decided to play out the defensive possession instead of fouling. The strategy seem to work as Rothesay was unable to get any ball movement or dribble penetration which forced Rothesay to fire a contested long 2-pointer as the shot clock was expiring. Despite having inside position, and 5 seconds on the game clock, KVHS was unable to grab the defensive rebound which allowed Rothesay to run out the clock for the 70-69 victory.
Leaders for KVHS were:
- Cole DeFazio with 27 points, 14 rebounds
- Liam McKee with 20 points
- James MacDougall with 9 rebounds, 5 blocks and 2 steals
Leaders for Rothesay were:
- Colin Downey with 23 points
- River Lanz with 15 points
KVHS drops to 3-1 in league play, tied with Sussex for 2nd place who are also 3-1 on the season. Rothesay remains in first place at 4-0. KVHS and Sussex will face each other in the final game of the season on Wednesday February 16 at the Sonic Dome in Sussex.
KVHS Player of the Game
Today’s player of the game was 6′ 2″grade 12 guard Cole DeFazio. During the second half of the game with KVHS struggling to score and with key players in foul trouble, Cole carried the team, scoring 16 of his 24 points. Many of those points came off acrobatic finishes at the rim after he broke through the Red Hawks’ full court press.
The Crusader will have a well deserved rest on Sunday after tough back-to-back games. On Monday they will host the Simonds SeaBees who are coming off a solid win over Saint John High School. Game time is 7:15 pm at KVHS.