Northgate loses close one to Bishop Canevin

Northgate’s Jacian Sustayta gave the Bishop Canevin defense fits during Tuesday night’s game, which ended up sending him to the foul line any number of times. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

By MEL PERKINS

The Northgate Flames (0-2, 0-5) played host to the Crusaders (1-1, 1-4) from Bishop Canevin this past Tuesday in their section opener, and both teams entered the game looking for their first win. The Flames battled hard, taking a 36 – 35 lead into the fourth quarter, but they were unable to hold it, and lost to the Crusaders by the score 57 – 47.

The Flames scored first on a Patrick Wemette lay-in to go up 2 - 0, but the Crusaders quickly answered back. Canevin applied full-court pressure from the start, and they would utilize the press most of the game. But, with 3:54 left in the first quarter, the Flames broke the press and Malcolm Randall drilled a three-pointer from the corner to give Northgate a 7 – 6 lead.

However, the lead was short lived, and the Crusaders proceeded to go on a 9 point run to finish the quarter with a 15 – 7 lead. But, Northgate settled in to their game plan in the second quarter, and with the help of a little pressure defense, they managed to give the Crusaders a taste of their own medicine. After the game Coach Joe Cangilla said, “Once we settled down a little bit, we were able to take better care of the ball.”

Daijon McCall knocked down a bucket to start the second quarter, and then with 5:05 left in the half, Jacian Sustayta got loose on a fast break to put up two and make the score 13 – 18, allowing the Flames to close in on the Crusaders lead. With 2:51 on the clock, Randall hit Kevon Lowry under the basket and he laid it in for two and the score was 17 -23. With just 53 seconds left in the half, Wemette went coast to coast, laying it in to close the gap to five points with the score 19 – 23.

After a Crusader three-pointer and Randall hitting one of his two free throws, the Flames went into the locker room down 26 – 20.

The pressure that the Northgate defense was applying allowed them to sneak back into the game. The Flames had outscored the Crusaders 13 – 11 in the third quarter. Speaking about the Flames’ defense Cangilla said, “We extended a diamond press up, and tried to get some traps around half court and in the corners, just to try and pick up the pace of the game. We really just wanted to make their offense uncomfortable.”

The third quarter began with Sustayta driving to the hoop and drawing the foul. Unfortunately he could not capitalize, but he would use the third quarter to show what he is capable of, as he wreaked havoc inside the key driving to the basket. Canevin’s only recourse was to foul him, and they sent him to the line, but he only went 4 of 10. Cangilla said afterwards, “On offense, our guys are starting to be a little more aggressive, Sustayta was able to get to the line a lot tonight, he just has to finish.”

The Flame defense stayed strong in the third quarter, and with 1:35 left in the quarter, McCall drilled a three-ball to give the Flames a 36 – 35 lead. Northgate outscored the Crusaders 16 – 9, and held the lead entering the fourth quarter.

The Flames would not maintain the lead for long, but with 5:39 left in the game, Wemette hit a deep three and the score was tied 41 – 41. After that, the Crusaders managed to stretch their lead out to nine and with 3:57 left in the game they began to burn clock. When it was all said and done, they were able to escape with a 57 – 47 win.

Cangilla said later, “I think we got a little tired, I think we got a little gassed at the end. They went on a late run, and with us not getting those points from the foul line, it kind of hurt us. We went from down like five, to seven, and our kids got a little down which is natural. But, I think we just ran out of gas.”

Randall led Northgate with 15 points, 13 rebounds and 9 block shots. And behind him, the Flames had three players in double figures, with Wemette, Sustayta and McCall all scoring 10 points.