Red Knights sneak past Wildcats
TORONTO — The Toronto Red Knights cashed in at the foul line late and then held on for a thrilling 41-39 win over Edison Friday night inside the George Kunzler Gymnasium.
The victory gave coach Sean Tucker’s beat up crew a four-game win streak along with a third win in four days, but they had to work hard to earn it with three key players either ill or injured. Tucker got bad news during the pregame warmups last night when Shane Keenan came up limping and was unable to play.
“This group of kids have dealt with adversity all year long and we’ve had to have others step up and tonight it was Brant Reeves,” said Tucker. “The thing we pride our program about is that we’re family and we try to instill those values. They are values our great parents instill in these kids and we try to instill it in our program.”
The Red Knights trailed Edison through three quarters and the game came down to the final 20 seconds with a tie score at 39-39. With 19.9 showing on the clock, Reeves, a junior who grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled as he went back up with a shot. He calmly stepped to the foul line and made both free throws for the 41-39 score that held up the rest of the way.
“I work on my foul shot every day,” Reeves said after the game. “I kind of knew I was going to make those free throws. We didn’t have a couple of our key guys tonight so we had to have guys step up. Brendan (Matyas), our senior leader was driving to the basket.”
Edison led 22-15 at the break, but the Red Knights cut that lead down to a single point after three quarters and took the lead for the first time at 29-28 when Reeves, who along with Jay Hanlin scored 11 points, swished a jumper to start the fourth period.
The game was nip and tuck the rest of the way with the teams exchanging the lead five times.
“In that final quarter, we were limited with the offensive sets we could run,” Tucker said. “What they (Edison) were doing was switching on defense and doing a fantastic job of it. Brendan Matyas is one of the fastest kids in the Valley and when he could get to the rim good things were going to happen. And Brant also does a good job getting to the rim. That’s something he has really worked on and you can see that it is paying off.
“We thought we could spread their defense out and drive to the basket, make the shot or get to the foul line. It was going to come down to free throws and we told them that.”
The Red Knights got to the foul line 28 times, but had trouble cashing in as they made only 11 of them, but Reeves made the two big ones and another earlier in the fourth quarter.
After Toronto’s Nathan Chociej missed a pair of free throws that would have sealed the game with 5.7 seconds left, Wildcat senior, Andrew Pugh grabbed the rebound and Edison coach, Nate Moses got a time out. It was one of seven time outs called in the final 20 seconds of the game. On the in bounds play, a Toronto player got a finger tip on the ball and knocked it out of bounds underneath the Wildcat basket with 2.8 seconds remaining.
Both coaches used their final time outs and when Edison put the ball in play it Moses got what he wanted, Alec McBane with the ball in the lane. He made his turn to the basket, but the ball up, but it rolled off the rim as time ran out.
“That’s life,” said Moses, whose club now is 4- “That’s just one possession. You can go back through the game and find other plays. We got the shot we wanted it just didn’t fall tonight. It’s disheartening. McBane is the hardest worker. He deserved for that ball to go down. This is a game where the ball has to go through the hoop and when it doesn’t you try to generate offense in different ways. Tonight, the ball just wouldn’t fall.
“This is the kind of season we’re having. We’ve had numerous games where these kind of things happen. We just can’t get over that hump. It’s a frustrating feeling.”
McBane led all scorers with 17 points and hauled in eight rebounds. Andrew Pugh drained three treys and scored 11 points for the Wildcats.
Besides Hanlin and Reeves with 11 points each, Toronto had Anthony Myslinsky in double figurges with 10.
The two teams had a two-quarter reserve game with the Red Knights winning their first Jayvee game of the season 26-17. Hanlin scored 7 for Toronto while Gage Cline netted 8 for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats now are 4-12 and play again today at home against Union Local.
The Red Knights (7-10) don’t play till Friday at Madonna.
Toronto 41-Edison 39
Edison 9 13 6 11 39
Toronto 6 9 12 14 41
EDISON (4-12): Woods 2 2-2 6; Mayle 0 1-2 1; Connelly 0 0-0 0; Sanders 0 1-2 1; Moses 1 0-0 2; Cline 0 1-5 1; Fluharty 0 0-0 0; McBane 6 5-8 17; Pugh 4 0-0 11. TOTALS: 13 10-19 39. Three-pointers: McBane 3; Rebounds: 25 (McBane 8); Turnovers 17.
TORONTO (7-10): Chociej 0 0-4 0; Hanlin 4 2-5 11; Reeves 3 5-6 11; Matyas 3 0-1 6; Myslinsky 3 4-12 10; Anderson 1 0-0 3; Ellis 0 0-0 0. TOTALS: 14 11-28 41. Three-pointers: 2 (Hanlin, Anderson); Rebounds: 21 (Myslinsky 5); Turnovers 9.