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Red Knights get revenge, defeat Crusaders in OT

HEAVY TRAFFIC — Toronto’s A.J. Clegg attempts a layup past Catholic Central’s Isaac Hough, left, and Luca Connor on Tuesday. -Joe Catullo

TORONTO — Shane Keenan missed 5 of his first 7 free throws in Tuesday’s rematch with Catholic Central. When the game was on the line, however, the sophomore delivered.

Keenan went 5 for 6 from the stripe in overtime, and senior A.J. Clegg knocked down a couple of key jumpers, as Toronto earned a thrilling 47-45 victory over the Crusaders before a full house inside the George J. Kunzler Gymnasium.

“It was more of a heart thing,” Keenan said when describing his shooting turnaround. “Whenever your teammates need you, you just have to deliver. I rushed some shots earlier. Then, I just took my time and was able to get it done. I can never help my teammates enough.”

The Red Knights, who improved to 4-11 and avenged a 47-40 loss to the Crusaders earlier this year, led 8-6 after the opening quarter. Sean Tucker’s crew opened the second with an 8-0 scoring run. Clegg got it going with a layup after a steal. Keenan scored twice in the paint, and Brant Reeves knocked down a jumper.

Toronto’s lead moved to 11 (19-8) thanks to an Anthony Myslinsky hoop. Central finished the half with a 9-1 run of its own, with Charles Miller scoring just before the buzzer to put the score at 20-17.

Luca Connor’s conventional 3-point play knotted things at 20 to open the third. From there, the rivals went back and forth. Central took a 32-31 led into the final quarter.

A basket by Miller put Don Ogden’s Crusaders ahead, 37-35, with less than a minute to play in regulation. Keenan and Brendan Matyas tied it with free throws to force the extra session.

Clegg opened the overtime with a jumper. Central went up 40-39 on Miller’s 3-point play. Another Clegg hoop and three Keenan free throws gave Toronto the lead for good.

“Tonight, I’m the proudest coach in the valley because my boys got rewarded for all their hard work,” Tucker said. “I can’t be any happier. It was a great basketball game. If you stayed home and missed this game — shame on you. It probably was one of the best basketball games that I have coached in. I can’t wait to watch it on film. Everyone got their money’s worth tonight.

“Don (Ogden) does an excellent job, he’s a great coach. We have much respect for each other. I love everything he does. Both teams played really hard tonight.”

Clegg and Keenan paced Toronto in scoring with 13 each. They also pulled down seven rebounds each.

“My point guards do a great job of getting me the ball down low,” Keenan said. “Both of our seniors (Clegg and Matyas) are always there for me no matter what.”

Central (3-10) finished with 17 field goals compared to 16 for Toronto. The Crusaders went 8 for 10 from the line, while Toronto was 13 of 25 (6 for 8 in overtime).

“We’ve been on a bad losing streak — things just weren’t falling our way,” Tucker said. “Our guys, however, gave us 100 percent day in and day out at practice and in games. As a coach, you’re wanting your kids to get their reward for all they hard work they’ve put it, and tonight they got it.

“We’ve practiced hard, and we’ve focused on finishing. We finished at the free throw line tonight. We struggled in the first half, but we corrected things in the second. We had some guys really step up. With us being young, our seniors have shown they are solid leaders by allowing our younger guys to mature, and they are. They’re doing a great job of maturing and getting better as basketball players.”

Central’s Connor took game-scoring honors with 16 points. He also snared a team-high nine rebounds. Jack Rook and Miller evenly divided 22. Nine of Rook’s points came via the long ball.

“Give Toronto credit,” Ogden said. “They are well-coached and they were ready to go. This is what happens when five guys play as one guy.”

GAME NOTE

Anthony Venditti tallied 13 points and Andrew Dorsey contributed eight, as Central collected a 31-23 victory in the junior varsity contest. Nathan Chociej paced the Red Knights with nine.

UP NEXT

Central: Hosts Madonna Friday

Toronto: Idle until Tuesday when it entertains Buckeye Local.

Toronto 47, Catholic Central 45

Central 6-11-15-5-8 — 45

Toronto 8-12-11-6-10 — 47

CENTRAL (3-10): Rook 4 0-0 11; Connor 6 4-5 16; LeFever 0 0-0 0; Anderson 0 0-0 0; Hough 0 0-0 0; Miller 4 3-3 11; Venditti 0 0-0 0; Maragos 1 1-2 3; Carapellotti 2 0-0 4; Dorsey 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 17, 8-10: 45.

TORONTO (4-11): Hanlin 0 0-0 0; Reeves 2 2-2 6; Matyas 1 2-4 4; Myslinsky 1 1-2 3; Clegg 6 1-4 13; Anderson 3 0-0 8; Keenan 3 7-13 13. TOTALS: 16, 13-25: 47.

3-POINT GOALS: Central 3 (Rook 3); Toronto 2 (Anderson 2). REBOUNDS: Central 23 (Connor 9); Toronto 25 (Clegg, Keenan 7 each). TURNOVERS: Central 14; Toronto 10.

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