Lancer comeback secures victory
Josh Sierhuis of Kennedy Catholic produced great plays throughout the boys basketball match up against Kent-Meridian on Dec. 28, but it took one big time effort at the end to nudge the Lancers ahead for the final time at the 2012 Les Schwab Christmas Classic tournament held at Kennedy High School.
With 53.9 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Sierhuis was fouled after claiming a defensive rebound and then converted both ends of a double bonus free throw chance to send KC ahead 57-56.
The Lancers still had to survive some scrambling final moments of competition. Kent-Meridian's Royals had one more chance for victory following a turnover exchange that gave KM an inbounds play from the baseline behind their offensive basket as 12 seconds remained.
Eventually, Martel Taylor-Barone drew an open lane, but was called for a player controlled foul with 4.2 seconds showing. Drawing a foul with 1.8 seconds left, Anthony McCluskey drained the first free throw and was able to miss the second charity toss off the back rim. When the rebound was secured, game time ran out as Kennedy Catholic secured a 58-56 win to qualify for the championship game.
"We just pulled together in the fourth quarter like we did in our first game ( which was a 62-57 win against King's on Thursday)," said Sierhuis about the comeback. "We gave our all and made stops on defense."
Sierhuis provided key play with 6-for-6 first half shooting from the field en route to 19 points in a 31-27 Kennedy halftime edge.
Kent-Meridian turned its halftime disadvantage into a huge third quarter lead after the Lancers led 37-35 on the strength of two consecutive Cole Madison baskets.
Back to back three-point goals from Deandre Nagan and Calvin Edwards capped a 13-point Royal surge that pushed KM ahead 48-37 before McCluskey countered with a Kennedy Catholic three-pointer to cut the Lancer gap to 48-40 heading into the final stanza.
Kennedy trailed 50-40 when Sasonoff's driving basket as part of a three-point play ignited the rally. Drew Cusack clawed through the lane for another basket and the Lancers were close at 50-47.
It was a Sierhuis power drive basket followed later by a Sasonoff three-point goal that stirred the KC movement within 54-53. Kent-Meridian regained the lead at 56-53 ahead of a Madison to Sierhuis feed, producing two Sierhuis charity toss points with 2:01 remaining in regulation game time.
Both teams earned possessions, but were unable to score points until Sierhuis was fouled with less than one minute left.
Sierhuis closed out his powerful production with with 27 points on 8-for-12 from the field and 11-for-13 from the free throw line while hauling in 12 rebounds. McCluskey notched seven points and Madison collected 10 boards to go with six points.
Calvin Edwards cashed in for 14 points and nine rebounds for KM. Taylor-Barone had 12 points and nine rebounds as another Royal leader.