The St Mary’s Dragons jumped to an early lead then hit key free throws down the stretch to beat the St Dominic Crusaders 62-55 in an AAA Conference game on Friday night.
Bolting out to an 8-0 lead in the opening minutes of the game, the Dragons built a 14-5 lead by the end of the 1st quarter. Jason Robinson scored 8 points, including two from beyond the arc in this quarter.
The 2nd quarter saw an early surge by the Crusaders but SM regained control and still held a 26-16 lead at the halftime buzzer. Scoring was spread around for the Dragons in this stretch of the game as Matt Causino, James Wiggins and Jared Pudlowski all provided some offense.
The 3rd quarter saw St Dom begin to score inside effectively. With Nathan Potts and Ryan Huerman posting up and Brendan Niggemeier driving to the basket, the Crusaders outscored SM 22-19 in the quarter but still trailed 45-38.
The 4th quarter provided plenty of exciting moments. The Crusaders scored the first 8 points of the quarter and grabbed a 46-45 lead. The teams exchanged baskets and it was 48-48 when Josh Robinson took over. He scored the next 6 points of the game and when Matt Causion knocked down a 3-ball, it was 57-48 SM on top. With just under 4 minutes remaining in the game and the the Dragons on top 57-51, Josh Robinson fouled out as he was called for his 3rd charging foul of the night. On the next possession for SM, Vern Rulo drove and scored from the right wing to make 59-54. At this point, there was about 3:25 left in the game. The Dragons defense stepped up and forced the Crusaders to burn almost 40 seconds on their next possession. Sent to the free throw line frequently in the waning minutes of the game, SM converted these key free throws. James Wiggins and DeShawn Wilson carried the load in this phase of the game as SM finished the game with 11 of 15 from the line.
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Leading scorers for St Dominic were Nathan Potts, who scored all of his points in the 2nd half, and Brendan Niggemeier, who also scored all of his 14 points after the halftime buzzer. Niggemeier drained four 3-balls for the night. Ryan Huerman, displaying a soft left-handed baby hook often, finished with 11 points. Josh Robinson led the Dragons with 30 points, just a tad below his metropolitan area leading scoring average of 32.1 ppg. Matt Causino finished in double figures with 10 points and DeShawn Wilson and James Wiggins each tallied 8 points. The Dragons shot 50% from beyond the arc as they hit 9 of 18 for the night.