The United Christian Academy Crusaders enter the 2011-2012 campaign under the guidance of Tony DelaBruere. This is Coach DelaBruere’s first foray into the coaching world, and about this season, “We are going to go out and try our best, but the most important thing is for the boys to have fun.”
This year’s team is down in numbers, with only 8 guys on the roster and only 1 senior: Edward Wang. Coach DelaBruere said that, “even though our numbers are down it isn’t going to change anything. I am still going to coach the same way. We will just need to be careful not to get into foul trouble, and try to stay healthy throughout the season.”
With Wang being the only Senior on the roster, Juniors Dale Martell and Ji Kim, Sophomore Paul Saaman, Freshmen Chris and Jon DelaBruere, and Eighth-Grader Mitchell Roy provide a young core, which Coach DelaBruere can rely on for years to come.
“The boys elected Paul Saaman and Jon DelaBruere as captains, but that does not mean that they are the leaders of the team. I expect everyone to contribute, and for everyone to be leaders both on and off the court.”
Saturday afternoon, UCA took to the court to face off against the Trinity Baptist Kings and the tone for the contest was set early as Chris DelaBruere blocked the first Trinity shot of the game with thunderous force.
Marcus Van Wyle would start the game on a personal 6-0 run to put the Kings on top with 4 minutes to go in the first quarter. Chris DelaBruere and Paul Saaman could not buy a basket for UCA with each shot hitting back iron or rimming out.
With 2 minutes to go in the 1st, UCA finally got on the board as brothers Jon and Chris DelaBruere worked the give-and-go to perfection, with Chris knocking down a long 3 from the corner. On the next possession Chris would pick the pocket of a Kings player and go untouched to the basket, going on a personal 5-0 run, and making it a 12-5 game in favor of Trinity. Saaman would knock down a free throw at the end of the 1st quarter, putting the at 14-6.
Saaman was on a mission for the Crusaders to start the 2nd quarter, reeling off 4 quick points on quick dribble-drives through the lane to cut the lead down to 4 two minutes into the 2nd quarter. But, Trinity would go on a 9-0 run over the last 5 minutes for the half, to push the game back to a 23-12 score before Jon DelaBruere would knock down a 2 of his own with an easy lay-up inside to send the game to the half with the Crusaders trailing 23-14.
Saaman would start the 3rd quarter the same way he would the 2nd, using his quick drive through the lane, he would rack up 4 more points, and after 3 minutes the lead was back down to 7, at 25-18. But, just as they had all game long, Trinity would go on an 8-0 run due to sloppy passes and quick transition points, sending the game to a 33-18 margin with 2 minutes left in the 3rd.
The Crusaders would not give up though, after a Chris DelaBruere 3 from the top of the arch, the score was 33-23 entering the final quarter.
But, it was just too much Trinity Baptist in the 4th. The Kings would go on another 6-0 run, to extend their lead even further, and with frustration mounting and tired legs beginning to take their toll, the game was over for UCA. Final score, Trinity 48 United Christian 32.
When asked about the game, Coach DelaBruere said that, “it wasn’t as close as I would have liked it to be, but I thought we played really well. They didn’t have anyone with size that could compete with Jon inside; I wish we would have been able to get the ball into him more because he really could have done some damage. Paul really drove [through the lane] well today and the shot that you saw today isn’t the type of shooting that he usually has off that drive. And it isn’t the one that you will see later on.”
He would go on to add that, “all the boys played great today, and we will go after the next one.”
Marcus Van Wyle led the Kings with 12 points and Jonny O’Blake added 11 of his own.
Chris DelaBruere scored 16, while Paul Saaman had 14, and Jon DelaBruere had 2 for the Crusaders in the losing effort.
UCA will travel to Richford for their next contest on Thursday, December 15th, when they face off against the Falcons. Tip-off is set for 7:00.