February 9th, 2014

St. Nicholas rallies in championship game

Matt Young 

Staff Writer

St. Nicholas rallies in championship game
The Panthers celebrate after beating St. Andrew Academy 45-36 / photo by Sharron Hilbrecht

The title game in the CSAA’s boys’ #2 “A” Division matched teams with contrasting styles. The St. Andrew Academy Jaguars’ size advantage gave St. Nicholas Academy fits early in the game, but the Panthers’ speed and pressure defense came through in the second half as they pulled away for a 45-36 victory Sunday at Trinity High School.  

“We needed to keep it close at halftime, and then their bigs would get tired,” St. Nicholas head coach Gary Love said.  “Then we would start forcing turnovers.  Our fast guards and pressure wears teams down towards the end of games.”

Early in the game, the size of the Jaguars’ bigs in their 2-3 zone stopped the Panthers’ quick guards.

St. Andrew point guard Kevin Davidson scored seven first-quarter points and the Jaguars’ defense limited the Panthers to two free throws as they built a 9-2 early lead.

Evan Wegenest started the second quarter with a three-pointer to make it 12-2. But the Panthers woke up, and Nolan Borders’ eight points in the period helped pull the Jaguars within 20-15 at the half.

After the break, Jordan Powell hit a jumper followed by two three-pointers to tie the score at 27 heading to the fourth quarter.  

“He is our go-to guy,” Love said.  “Once he gets hot, we just keep feeding him the ball because we know once he gets into the groove, he is going to hit them.”

Powell started the fourth quarter with another three to give the Panthers their first lead of the game at 30-27. Powell nailed another three later in the quarter, and Noah Phillips hit one of his own to give the Panthers some breathing room.  

St. Andrew had trouble with the Panthers’ press late and was outscored 18-9 in the fourth quarter.

“This is for the kids,” Love said.  “I’m glad to see a smile on their faces.”



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