Stingy defense helps City win home opener

No. 5 City 52 Cardinal Gibbons 39

December 15, 2007|By Stefen Lovelace | Stefen Lovelace,Sun Reporter

Playing in its home opener last night, the City boys basketball team wanted to make an early statement and set the tone for the season.

Holding Cardinal Gibbons to 10 points in the first half did just that. No. 5 City used a quick start and tight defense to earn a 52-39 victory.

"It was our first home game, so we just wanted to come out real strong," sophomore forward C.J. Fair said. "Our defense had good momentum."

The Knights (2-0) held the Crusaders to two points in the first quarter. That momentum carried into the second quarter, as City held Gibbons (3-4) to 3-for-18 shooting in the first half and led 26-10 at halftime.

"Defensively, we can do a lot of things," Knights coach Mike Daniel said. "We can play both zone and man-to-man well."

City mostly used a 2-3 zone defense to frustrate Gibbons early, forcing the Crusaders into bad shots far from the basket. Gibbons was unable to pull itself out of the hole.

Fair came out hot, scoring 11 of his 20 points in the first quarter. He was also a pest on the defensive end with four steals, including one where he grabbed an errant pass and raced coast-to-coast for a one-handed dunk that brought the spectators to their feet.

Gibbons didn't stop fighting, though. With about six minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Crusaders trimmed the deficit to nine points after a 12-5 run, with most of their points coming in the paint.

That's as close as they would get, though, because the Knights made their free throws, knocking down 18 of 25 overall, including seven of 10 in the final two minutes.

Last night's home opener was a good start, but Daniel said the Knights still have a long way to go.

"We played fair, but I think we have potential to play a lot better," he said. "We got the win, and we just have to keep working so a lot of the good spots we have, we can capitalize on."

stefen.lovelace@baltsun.com

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