By Adam Gorski
The Crusaders hopes to avenge their previous loss to Timon were dashed thanks to a strong second half, as the Tigers left Koessler Athletic Center with a 63-55 win on Canisius senior night.
Early on in the opening quarter, it was Canisius who jumped out to a 6-0 lead thanks to their ability to drive on the Timon defense. Master Radford finally got the Tigers on the board with a put back and helped get some momentum going, as an Adrian Baugh 3 tied things up at 7. The teams traded baskets until the dying seconds, as another Baugh 3 at the buzzer gave Timon the 14-12 lead after one.
Colby Moultrie kicked off the scoring for the Crusaders to knot things up at 14 all, but Davion Warren swiftly answered with a 3 to give Timon back the lead. The teams went back and forth throughout the 2nd until Nick MacDonald buried the first 3 of the game for the Crusaders, and it was a big one as it gave them a 21-19 advantage. But yet again, the Tigers had an answer, as a couple tough pull up jumpers went down to give them back the lead, 23-21. It wasn’t until late in the quarter that an impressive off balanced Ryan Bradley jumper beat the shot clock, and sent the Crusaders into the break with a slim 27-25 advantage.
It seemed as though the contest was one scoring burst from getting blown open, and that theory reigned true for the Tigers. An 8-0 run to open the 3rd powered by a Joe Harrison 3 and William Lamar three point play saw Timon go up 33-27, a lead they would not relinquish. Despite 8 third quarter points from Colby Multrie, who almost single handedly kept the Crusaders in the game, the Tigers took their 6 point lead into quarter four, as they held a 44-38 advantage.
An Adrian Baugh floater opened the fourth quarter to give Timon an eight point lead, and seemed to set the tone for the rest of the game. Despite their best efforts, the Crusaders were unable to get over the hump and bring it any closer than six. Big free throws down the stretch for the Tigers, including Juston Johnson going 8 for 10, and strong defense helped them close out the big win.
With playoffs fast approaching for both sides, Timon is looking to continue their strong play, as they currently sit tied for first in the Monsignor Martin League with St. Francis at 11-2 in league play.
“We just need to keep playing the same way we’ve been playing,” said Timon head coach Desmond Randall. “We’ve played a good brand of basketball the past couple games, and we just have to keep playing championship basketball. No matter who we play we’re top and bottom in the toughest league, so we have to be ready to play whoever.”
“We just got to keep fighting and keep our heads straight,” added Timon forward Alero World.
The Crusaders on the other hand now sit at 8-5 in league play and are looking to make things happen in the playoffs, but head coach Kyle Husband thinks there is still work to be done.
“We just have to keep working, everything is still right in front of us,” said Husband. “We haven’t put 32 minutes together yet, so we need to figure out how we can do that.”
Davion Warren led the Tigers with 18 points, closely followed by Joe Harrison and Juston Johnson, who both had 14 to help secure the win.
“We made a couple adjustments and changed it up at halftime,” said coach Randall. “The things that we asked our kids to do in the second half I thought they did a great job of.”
“We executed our plays and did everything coach asked us to do,” said Timon’s Joe Harrison after the win. “That’s a good team win heading into the playoffs.”
Ryan Bradley led all scorers with 22 for the Crusaders, 11 of which coming in the fourth quarter alone. Colby Moultrie followed behind with 12 in the loss.
As said before, MMAA playoffs are just around the corner, and both teams have one final game to help boost their seeding.
Timon welcomes Archbishop Walsh on February 21st, and with a win and St. Francis loss to St. Mary’s Lancaster, they can clinch the MMAA regular season title outright.
As for Canisius, they finish off the regular season at Cardinal O’Hara, as they take on the Hawks who sit at 8-6 in league play.