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Prep basketball: Cowboys use range

Canyon closes out Knight with clutch 3-pointers

Posted: December 24, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: December 24, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Knight power forward Daron McConnell, right, fouls Canyon forward Clay Kasdorf on Friday at Canyon HIgh. The Cowboys completed a come-from-behind win to defeat the Hawks 56-52.

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For the first 16 minutes, Canyon couldn’t find the bottom of the net, especially from long range.

Yet it was clutch 3-pointers in the last two minutes of the game that helped Canyon boys basketball escape with a 56-52 win over Pete Knight High of Palmdale on Friday night at Canyon High School.

It was a back and forth game in which the Cowboys (10-1) trailed by as many as 14 points early in the second half before they figured out how to deal with Knight’s zone defense.

“We usually start off either really flat or really strong, but it always comes down to the end,” said Canyon forward Alek Golden. “We feel safe even if we’re down by 20. It’s kind of bad.”

With his team trailing 47-45 with 1:59 to go in the game, Golden knocked down a go-ahead 3-pointer, his team’s first field goal of the frame, to make it a 48-47 lead.

After Knight answered back with a quick layup from Vondel Faniel to re-take the lead, the Cowboys hit another three, this time from Coley Apsay to go in front 51-49 at the 1:29 mark.

Apsay would later hit another three with 25 seconds left to seal it.

“We know our guys, Coley and (forward) Clay (Kasdorf), are going to make plays for us, and I think they did that,” said Canyon head coach Chad Phillips.

Canyon was led by Apsay’s 19 points followed by 18 from Kasdorf.

The Hawks (3-3) stuck to a 1-3-1 zone most of the game which left the perimeter wide open.

Basically, the best counter to it was hitting shots, especially after Canyon finished the first half shooting just 19 percent from the floor including just 3-of-19 from beyond the arc.

“I think our coach kind of scared us at half after we couldn’t make any shots,” Golden said.

Knight used a 10-0 run at the end of the half to take a 31-19 lead into the break, doing most of its damage in the low post with Faniel, who led all scorers with 23 points on 11-of-12 shooting.

“I didn’t think we came prepared mentally, but we made up for it in the second half and we came out strong,” Phillips said.

It was a clear size advantage for the Hawks, who opened up a 35-21 lead early in the third before the comeback began.

Using pressure defense and better shooting, Canyon put together a 14-0 run to take a 44-39 lead late in the third.

Apsay scored 11 points during the run.

“They made some of those same shots that they weren’t hitting in the first half,” said Knight head coach Tom Hegre.

“They were able to get to the free-throw line too, which kind of took a toll on us as well.”

Despite fighting back to take a 44-41 lead headed into the fourth, the Cowboys went cold again in the final frame, missing their first nine shots before Golden’s 3-pointer.

He ended up with eight points on the night and Canyon shot 33 percent as a team compared to Knight’s 53 percent clip.

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