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Cowboys beaten down the stretch

Game was tied at the end of third

Posted: December 12, 2008 11:15 p.m.
Updated: December 13, 2008 4:55 a.m.
 
Lancaster made just a couple more plays down the stretch Friday to defeat Canyon 58-53 in the semifinals of the Canyon Classic at Canyon High.

The Cowboys (3-2) held a 49-46 lead with three minutes to play, but Lancaster hit four clutch shots and simply refused to be put away.

“Ultimately, it came down to execution, and we didn’t execute tonight,” said Canyon head coach Chad Phillips. “But my boys played hard, and for an early preseason game, you take the effort and then the execution process will only get better.”

Lancaster’s Tre Mauldin scored on a drive to the hoop, and after Cowboy Tere Adams split a pair of free throws, Mauldin and Brandon Legnon nailed 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to give Lancaster a 54-50 lead.

Erik Gould brought Canyon within one with a trey of his own, but Matt Trabold hit a runner and Canyon missed a game-tying 3-pointer at the other end.

The Eagles’ energy carried them the entire game, and while Canyon certainly played with its share of determination, Lancaster came in with the attitude to unseat the tournament hosts.

“Energy is important when you’re playing the host team of a tournament,” said Lancaster head coach Sid Melvin. “We’ve got a lot of players that can do a lot of things. We’re not very big, but our front line is aggressive and that makes up for the lack of height.”

It also masks certain weaknesses, including a fast-paced, individual-oriented offense that spaced the floor well but essentially ignored the shot clock. Canyon did a good job waiting out Lancaster’s whirlwind offense and pushing the ball right back up the floor off misses.

Second chances, however, hurt the Cowboys as Lancaster crashed the glass all game long.

“They rebounded well,” Phillips said. “Obviously, that affected us. If we don’t rebound the basketball it’s going to hurt.”

A pair of Legnon threes stretched the lead to 41-33 in the middle of the third quarter, but Canyon closed the period on an 8-0 run to tie the game heading into the fourth.

“The effort, you can’t teach,” Phillips said. “It was there tonight. (Lancaster) deserved a win. They hit big shots down the stretch and we didn’t.”

Canyon will face Kennedy at 4 p.m. today in the consolation game of the Canyon Classic.

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