Crusaders Slay Lions

Prologue
Off to Providence Academy for their Tri-Metro cross-division game with St. Croix Lutheran.  Gotta like A & W Root Beer but a C- on the hot dog.  The all-star officiating crew had to double-take at their "locker room" setup but they didn't take that on to the court.  Crazy story from the night though.  I've referenced my good friend The Caveman here.  His wife works at Providence and we've been meaning to get to a game there so I jokingly told him that I was in attendance and  kept some riff raff out of her classroom.  Kicker is that, unbeknownst to me, she wasn't even there today so it didn't come across as a joke.  Whoops!  Had to love the music selection on the public address with Fantastic Voyage, Stray Cats-Rock This Town and some ZZ Top but there's an even better tune for today.  But there is 1 caveat.  I will NOT dance if you want me to.

Song of the Day
Men Without Hats - The Safety Dance

Game Time
St. Croix Lutheran with 3 straight layups to open up a 10-4 lead in the first 5 minutes.  Providence would counter with 8 of the next 10 thanks to a pair of 3s including 1 from guard Joe Heck.  St. Croix Lutheran with a pair of buckets for an 18-14 lead and a Providence timeout at the 10:12 mark. Wesley Tucker with a block on 1 end and then cleans up the mess on the offensive glass for 2 and the Crusaders lead is 6. But Providence has another run in them.  Forward Jackson Canfield steps into a 3, post Eric Richelsen for 2 and then 2 more on a laser pass from Canfield.  Nick Schmitz with a pull up to end the 11-2 run that forces a St. Croix Lutheran timeout.  27-24 Providence at the 6:48 mark.  Back to back 3s help to open the lead slightly for the Crusaders.  41-38 St. Croix Lutheran at half.

Tucker gets called for a foul diving for a loose ball at the 16:36 mark and had to leave to check that everything on his face was in place (bloody lip or nose it looked like).  The Crusader offense was non-existent without him.  Providence scores the last 2 of the first half and the first 15 of the 2nd half.  53-41 Lions at the 13:11 mark and the Crusaders take time to regroup.  They break the run with a pair of free throws at the 12:36 mark.  Then Tucker returns at the 12:07 mark.  His putback at the 11:15 mark is the first St. Croix Lutheran field goal of the 2nd half.   Then Providence starts to struggle.

Goplin with back to back layups on turnovers but Schmitz buries a 3 to keep the lead at 10.  Canfield reaches around on Tucker for his 4th foul and has to sit at the 8:30 mark.  Post Ben Ratliff already on the bench with 4.  Richelsen productive inside on this night and his putback inside of 7 to play puts the Lions up 65-53.  Mark Lawrence drives for 2 and a layup for 2 more off a turnover.  Heck gets a putback at the 5:52 mark for a 67-57 Providence lead as they take time out to discuss the stretch drive.

Coach Schmalzbauer has seen enough and he rolls the dice to bring Canfield back out of the timeout.  Back to back Lions turnovers result in Crusaders layups.  Canfield with the cold blooded 3 at the 4:15 mark for a 72-63 lead.  Providence gets a stop but on the way back they turn it over and Tucker cashes it in for a 3 point play.  Lawrence with a steal for 2 free throws.  An ill-advised 3 by the Lions is an airball and Tucker scores on a layup on the other end.  Another Lions turnover gives St. Croix Lutheran a chance to tie but Tucker walks.  72-70 Providence with 2:47 left.  Providence turns it over again and Lawrence buries a right wing 3 to bring the Crusaders all the way back. Canfield gets a good look at a 3 that's around and out from the left corner.  Tucker lays it up at the other end.  75-72 St. Croix Lutheran on top with 2:10 left.  Canfield with another laser beam, this one to Ratliff for a layup at the 1:50 mark.  Crusaders hold vs the 2-3 zone.  Providence extends and Goplin drives for a layup at 1:12.  Canfield with a good look on the other end but that's no good with 45 seconds left.  The rest is free throws.  St. Croix Lutheran comes from 9 down in the last 4 minutes to win 81-76.

Post Game
For Providence Academy, guard Joe Heck with a pair of 3s and 23 points to lead the Lions.  Forward Jackson Canfield with 3 3s and 14 points (4-13 FGs).  Eric Richelsen 14 points inside, Ben Ratliff 13 from the other post spot.  All 5 starters in double figures, 2 points from the bench (which was a winner, read on).  The Lions would love to have this one back as 8 turnovers in the last 6:30 were a killer.  As much as I can't stand their version of THE WORLD'S WORST OFFENSE, it had its moments tonight.  But with their 2-3 zone base and that offense, they need to get leads as they aren't built to come from behind.  The Lions have now lost 5 of 7 to fall to 7-7.  They're now 2-4 in the Tri-Metro.  A tough home contest with St. Anthony is their next game next Tuesday. 

St. Croix Lutheran gets 23 from Wesley Tucker.  17 of those come in the last 11:15.  I also had him with 7 rebounds.  Mark Lawrence 21 points and 3 3s on the night.  Jackson Goplin with 17.  The Crusaders get all 81 points from their starters.  Their diamond press and staying in the backcourt on misses was just too much for the Lions to handle.  The Crusaders are now 8-4, 3-2 in the Tri-Metro.  3 of those 4 losses are at St. Anthony, Maple River (#3AA), and Concordia.  Trips to Trinity on Sat and then at Blake next Tuesday are up next.

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