Star-Bulletin Sports

Sunday, December 30, 2001


California team blocks
Crusaders’ last gasp

By Jason Kaneshiro

The St. Louis basketball team has proven adept at playing catch-up during its preseason schedule, but the Crusaders couldn't muster one last comeback last night as the Crusaders lost to La Habra (Calif.) 54-53 at McCabe gym.

Marcelus Robertson blocked a shot by St. Louis' Jason Rivers with three seconds left in the game to give La Habra the win on the final day of the three-day Walter Wong Holiday Classic.

La Habra tied Northwood (Calif.) for the top spot in the tournament's blue division with 3-0 records.

St. Louis finished 1-2 in the red division, but the tournament provided much needed experience for the Crusaders, who got a late start this season due to the football team's state tournament run.

The team practiced with just five players for three weeks while the rest of the team, including their head coach, was finishing football season.

"This was just what we were looking for, a good test to see where we're at," said St. Louis coach Delbert Tengan, who is the football team's defensive coordinator. "We're definitely young, but we'll try to improve and grow as the season goes along."

In addition to making the key defensive play of the game, Robertson led La Habra offensively by scoring a game-high 22 points and hitting the game-winning free throw with 45 seconds left. Tyler McShane hit three 3-point shots and finished with 13 points. The duo combined to score all 10 of La Habra's points in the fourth quarter.

Rivers led St. Louis with 17. points. Timo Paepule added 12.

La Habra jumped ahead 10-3 in the first quarter, but St. Louis battled back to tie the game at 28 late in the second period. The Crusaders took their first lead at 37-36 on a Rivers free throw with 3:33 left in the third quarter.

La Habra took a 44-41 lead into a fourth quarter marked by three ties and four lead changes.

Jonah Lakatani gave St. Louis a 53-51 lead with a layup with a minute left in the game. But Robertson scored on a putback with 45 seconds left to tie it. He was fouled on the play and hit a free throw to give the Highlanders the lead.

St. Louis worked the clock down on its next possession before Rivers took the ball at the top of the key and drove to the basket. But Robertson was there to block his attempt and La Habra was able to run out the clock and escape with the win.

"We didn't design a special play for (Rivers) so to speak, but that's the guy you want to have the ball in that situation," Tengan said. "So we had the right guy with the ball and we'll live or die with that. Either our guy is going to make a play or their guy makes a play. Tonight their guy made the play."

St. Louis opens Interscholastic League of Honolulu play Friday by hosting Kamehameha and face Punahou the next day.

"We're three weeks behind everybody else in our league," Tengan said. "We probably only have abut 30 percent of our offense in, but what we're trying to do is perfect what we do and not throw a whole bunch of things at them."

Northwood (Calif.) 73, Father Duenas (Guam) 57: Drew Terry scored 17 of his game-high 24 points in the first half as the Timberwolves finished undefeated in the tournament.

Northwood opened the game by taking a 24-9 lead in the first quarter and cruised to the win.

Vince Estella and Seve Suisuico led Father Duenas with 14 points each.

Colony (Alaska) 53, Kailua 38: Landon Swank scored 20 points to lead Colony past the Surfriders.

The teams were even through the first half and went to halftime tied at 21. But Colony outscored the Surfriders 17-6 in the third quarter to take control.

Colony finished 2-1 in the blue division. Kailua went 0-3 in the red division.

Swank hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to finish as the tournament's leading scorer with 70 points. Terry was second with 69.

Friday's scores

La Habra 72, Kailua 51
Colony 80, Father Duenas 59
Northwood 62, St. Louis 56

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