By MEL PERKINS
Northgate (0 – 13, 4 – 17) played host to Sewickley Academy (11 – 2, 16 – 4) last Friday night, and it was tough sledding for the Flames who are still winless inthe section. The Panthers were coming off a 60 – 58 loss to the first place Crusaders from Canevin, and the Flames were unfortunately next in line, getting topped by the panthers 72 – 25.
The Flames struggled mightily in the first quarter as they came out in their 3 – 2 zone defense, hoping to deter the Panthers’ perimeter shooting, but the Panthers were hot, inside and out, and were up 9 – 0 with 5:50 on the clock. That’s when Malcolm Randall put the Flames on the board, knocking down a 15-footer to make the score 9 – 2.
Stefon Adams and Ray Mangone would both contribute from the foul line before the first quarter would end, but the damage was done, and the quarter ended with Northgate down 32 – 5. After the game Coach Joe Cangilla said, “They [Sewickley Academy] are a good team. Especially coming off of a tough game aainst Canevin, they are primed for a big play-off run. And, their coach, [Win] Palmer picked up his 600th win this season, which is amazing.”
The second quarter saw the Flames pick up a little offensively, with Adams getting to the rack to score seven of his team-high 11 points. Randall got in on the action too, and the Flames went into the locker room at half time down 52 – 14.
The third quarter started with Northgate attempting to break the Panthers’ stubborn 1-2-2 zone defense by running some different sets, but the Sewickley Academy defense just held tough. Jacian Sustayta got fouled shooting and calmly went to the line and sank both shots, and again, Randall contributed in the third quarter. But, the Flames were only able to muster four points in the quarter and the fourth quarter started with Northgate down 64 – 18.
The Panthers went to their reserves early in the fourth quarter, but the Flames battled them tough. Cangilla has been using his time wisely by allowing his younger players to see a lot of play all through the game. Adams, Mitch Denes, Patrick Weimett and James Eubanks all got on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter, but the Panthers’ defense just couldn’t be cracked.
Cangilla said later, “This is a process. It’s good experience for the young kids, and they’re seeing they have to ball fake more. One ball fake bounce pass doesn’t work against Sewickley. You have to change up your attack as a player.” Cangilla never stops teaching during the game, and he never stops motivating his veterans. “I told the kids we have one week left, and you have to look at yourself as a senior or underclassman, how do you want to finish?”
The Flames wrap up the season tonight when they take on the Vikings from Sto-Rox.