By Tom Patrick
Considering that the Vanier Crusaders girls’ team suffered an 83-26 loss the night before to the FH Collins Warriors, a 52-41 loss to the Porter Creek Rams Wednesday must be a bit of a confidence builder.
“We’ve been having a lot of injuries and we’ve been getting defeated by 40 to 60 points, so it was quite a bit closer in this game,” said Crusaders head coach Jane Londero. “My girls were playing a lot better than they have been, so I was actually very pleased with the outcome.”
In fact, the Crusaders led the game for the first half and looked to be running away with it early in the third quarter until game was turned on its head.
Starting the third up 22-17, a couple of steals by Crusaders’ Ateca Mills and a basket by Melanie Tait moved the score to 28-17 and kept the Rams from even having a shot on net for the quarter’s first 3:40 of play. However, a fast break by Cat Lane, giving the Rams their first shot and basket, marked the start of the end for the Crusaders. The Rams then started a 19-1 run while the Crusaders finished the quarter missing 11 straight field goal attempts.
“We started throwing the ball away and panicking,” said Londero. “They were pressing really well against us and we were having problems getting the ball out. That’s where we lost the lead; we were trying to dribble the ball out instead of passing the ball out.”
The Crusaders shot-percentage continued to suffer in the fourth, going 3-for-17 from the floor.
“The first half we were trying to get everybody in,” said Rams coach Mark Hureau. “Six of our better players didn’t play today (and) we were just trying to get everyone some minutes.
“We weren’t really paying attention to winning or losing until the fourth quarter.”
The Rams were led by Lane with 10 points, while teammates Devon Hanson and Kersten Burnette helped out with six and five.
The Crusaders had some higher scores with Courtney Wheelton putting up 16, twice as many as the team’s number two scorer, Tait.
“Our philosophy is, if you’re trying as hard as you can, that’s all we can hope for,” said Londero.
Crusaders waiver but hold on for win
Twice letting sizable leads shrink to just a few baskets, the boys’ Crusaders team managed to keep the Rams at bay, eventually taking the game 91-76 Wednesday.
“I think that’s natural in any sport that when you get up it’s sometimes hard to keep that momentum,” said Crusaders head coach Sean McCarron. “You surprise a team and then you layoff a little bit.”
Up 37-17 in the second, the Rams clawed their way back to a single-digit deficit at 42-35 just before half. Nearing the end of the third, the Crusaders let a 67-48 lead slip to a 79-71 lead in the fourth, prompting McCarron to pull his five starters.
“I just wasn’t happy with their effort,” said McCarron. “I pulled them out of the game with the possible intention of sitting them for the rest of game.
“(With 3:05 left) I asked them, ‘Do you want to finish this game?’ And they wanted to finish it.”
For Rams coach Logan Wedge, a slow start made the difference more than momentum shifts in the game.
“We’re giving up too much of a lead and we’re playing catch-up the whole game,” said Wedge. “We get too tired — our guys run out of gas.
“There are still a couple mental problems. They’re great kids, they work hard, but they just make simple errors by not playing enough.”
Top scorers for the Crusaders included Logan Gray with 28, Ryan Sutherland with 24 and Bryson McLachlan with 12.
Jamie Milligan lad the charge for the Rams with 16 points followed by Zack Young with 12.
Although this marks the second straight loss for the Rams, Wedge is not too concerned.
“Even though the other teams have proved they can beat us, I still believe in my heart of hearts if we play our game we will win,” said Wedge. “I’ve got to get these guys to buy into that.”
The previous night the Crusaders were defeated by the Warriors 62-53.
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