WATERTOWN, Wis. – Missing two key starters and a bevy of players, the Crusaders played a solid game despite losing 68-65.
Both teams defended well to open the game, as Maranatha held an 8-7 with 12:52 left in the first half. Kasey Clark hit a trio of three-pointers in the first half to help Maranatha keep close to Kuyper.
In the waning seconds of the first half, Kuyper’s Andy DeKam was fouled from beyond the arc, sending him to the line, as he capitalized by nailing all three for a 34-32 Kuyper halftime lead.
In the second half, the Crusaders were down by eight before junior forward Joel Borchardt (Watertown, Wis.) and center Brett Cashner (Urbana, Ill.) led the team to a 48-47 lead.
The backups showed resilience again as sophomore forward Kasey Clark (Indianapolis, Ind.) hit a key three-pointer to tie it at 54 apiece.
The game went down to the wire before Kuyper’s DeKam’s three point play halted any comeback by the Crusaders.
Center Brett Cashner was a key reason for the close game as he finished the game 6-8 from field goal range with 12 points and 8 rebounds. He also played excellent defense guarding Kuyper’s big men.
Coach Ring stated,
“I hate losing, but our effort was a winning effort. We had great play from guys who are normally bench players and it was encouraging to watch them respond and play well without our starting backcourt.”
That starting backcourt of junior guard Matt McGivern (Milwaukee, Wis.), and Matt Hunter (Pontiac, Ill.) watched freshman guard Tanner Moses (Lodi, Wis.) and several others control the Maranatha offense.
“Kuyper made plays when they needed to and really we have to learn to take care of the ball offensively when we turned it over before DeKam’s three,” Coach Ring stated.
The Crusaders play at Concordia Wisconsin at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 12.