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Big night for the Loyalist Lancers basketball teams

By Melissa Murray

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Loyalist’s Damone Donaldson takes a shot during Wednesday night’s basketball action. Despite a strong fourth quarter, the Lancers fell to the Vikings 71-63. Donaldson played all 40 minutes and scored 9 points. Photo by Sarah O. Swenson

The third quarter decided the game for both Loyalist basketball teams Wednesday night.

After 30-minutes of play, the men’s loss and women’s win were almost sealed during the Lancers’ final regular season basketball games against St. Lawrence College.

The women played with intensity leading the entire game and finishing strong against the St. Lawrence College Vikings, with a final score of 75-48.

“We wanted to finish them in the third,” said the women’s head coach Chris Eligh.

And they did with a lead of 24 points.

The men outscored the Vikings 26-14 in the fourth quarter, but they never got within six points of the Vikings to overcome the 20-pont lead by St. Lawrence College after the third quarter. The Vikings still won 71-63 guaranteeing them a home play off game.

“The fourth quarter was phenomenal,” said the men’s head coach Richard Whitfield. “They played a more physical game than us. They played a full 40 minutes of basketball and we only played a good 10.”

Eligh said he felt it was the women’s intensity that won them the game.

“They played hard basketball,” he said. “They brought intensity and pressure to the game.”

Turnovers were a huge contributor to the final score. The Lady Lancers snatched 31 turnovers while the St. Lawrence Vikings only produced seven points off of stolen chances.

“The morale has been really decent all year,” said Eligh. “They are a positive group and a good group.”

Eligh believes if the team keeps their consistency, their intensity and their communication open, they’ll thrive during the playoffs. “They’ll also need to finish their lay-ups,” he added.

Top scorers for the ladies were guard Amber Burton, guard and forward Haley Sisler and guard and forward Sierra Cauley. The ladies also used three-pointers to their advantage banking seven three-pointers, while their competition scored four.

The ladies end their season in fourth place in the east division of the OCAA.

The Lady Lancers host the fifth place Niagara knights in their first play-off game on Saturday.

The men’s team saw their chance at entering the playoffs slip away after their loss to Centennial this past weekend. This loss was just as disappointing.

“The morale is the same as when we lost games at the beginning of the season. They underachieved and the players know it,” said Whitfield.

“No coach is happy when their team underachieves. It’s disappointing, but they are a team of great guys.”

Patrick Kalala, Matt Miller and Calvin Chevannes contributed 44 of the 63 baskets made and Kalala and Damone Donaldson played the entire 40-minute game.

The status of the men’s team next year is still up in the air as up to five players could be leaving Loyalist this year, said Whitfield.

With this loss, the men finished ninth in the East Division.

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