The Crusaders make a statement in their last regular-season game with a 73-55 road win over the Rothesay Red Hawks. The Red Hawks, who had already clinched first place in the Southern Conference, finish the regular season at 9-1 while the Crusaders finish in second at 8-2.
This was a very well-played game with both teams trying to dictate their style of play. The Crusaders wanted to make it an uptempo game with full-court defense and transition offense, while the home team was looking to play through their big man with pick and roll, half-court offense and physical half-court defense on the other end.
The first two quarters saw both teams having success, for the most part, with their defensive game plans. The Red Hawks kept the Crusaders on the perimeter with no second-chance points, while the Crusaders kept the Red Hawks pick & roll game in check. The Crusaders came away with a slight edge winning both quarters 16-13 for a 32-26 lead at half time.
At the start of the 3rd quarter, the Red Hawks looked like they were going to impose their will on the younger Crusaders team, but after a quick timeout by the visitors, the two teams played the third quarter even with Rothesay winning 17-16 cutting KVHS’s lead to 48-43 after 30 minutes.
Rothesay continued to chip away at the Crusaders lead, cutting the advantage to 55-53 on a Thomas MacDonald layup with about four and half minutes remaining. On the next possession, it appeared the Red Hawkes got the stop they needed with a deflection out of bounds with on 5 seconds remaining on the shot clock. Following a Crusaders timeout, Gavin Trites hit a tough short corner jumper that was well contested, then Jonah Peterson stole the ball leading to a pair of made free throws for the visitors. This was the beginning of an 18-2 run for the Crusaders and a confidence-building win for a young Crusaders crew coming off a lacklustre effort against Woodstock on the weekend.
Leaders for the Crusaders were:
- Gavin Trites with 28 points, 6 rebounds & 6 steals
- Ryan Pollard with 17 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists & 6 steals
- Keegan Miller with 12 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists & 3 steals
Leaders for the Red Hawks were:
- Thomas MacDonald with 19 points
- Jack Hovey with 11 points
The Crusaders finish up their regular season exhibition schedule this weekend at the Riverview Tournament. They kick-off the weekend against Harrison Trimble at 4 pm on Friday, then face Fredricton and Three Oakes (PEI) on Saturday.