NEWPORTâ€“If you caught the second half of the UCA double-header on Wednesday, you had to be impressed with the skill set of the Masse Vanier Vikings boys team, as they built a 42-15 lead at the half, and then cruised to an 80-46 over the Crusaders.
"They are the best team we are going to face all year," said coach Tony DeLaBruere, "They are better than Websterville. they have five seniors, two juniors, and they are all big, can jump, and they can all play ball."
They were electric on the court. They scored points on their lightning quick fast break as well as on the numerous turnovers they created, going on runs of 10 and seven in the first, one for sixteen in the second.
The prettiest moment for UCA in the first half was a nice alley-oop play as Mitchell Roy hit Paul Saaman, who went up and laid it in nicely.
"So far this year, if we have been out scored in the first half of games we come out of the break with the philosophy of breaking the game into to two and trying to win the second half," said DeLabruere.
The Crusaders almost did that, as they fell just short of their goal, being out scored by just seven, 38-31.
Chris DeLaBruere, who could not buy a bucket in the second quarter after scoring 5 in the first, came on strong in the final sixteen minutes, scoring sixteen points, to bring his total to 21 on the afternoon.
"Chris had his best offensive game of the year," said the coach, "We worked on free throws this week in practice, and it paid off as Chris was 8/8, and as a team we went 14/18."
Paul Saaman also played well, contributing fifteen points in the loss, and the sophomore is showing signs of being an up and comer for the Crusaders.
Said DeLaBruere, "Paul has that special thing.. he can do all the little things right, and he does them while still continuing to grow as a point guard."
Tony knows that while his team may not beat Masse Vanier, they can certainly learn form the games against the Vikings, and teams of their nature, and then apply the lessons learned against teams that match-up more closely to UCA
"If we continue to get better and sure up our defense, we will have success, and I can not wait to get to Burlington and face Trinity Baptist."
Well, we will have to see if mother nature will let the UCA boys get to Burlington, and if she does, we will have results of how they fared in Monday's Express.
Game time is 6:30.