(LONDON, ON) – The St Clair men’s basketball team (6-9) squeaked out a 72-71 win over the Conestoga Condors (3-13) in Kitchener Saturday night, making significant progress toward a post season berth. St Clair is currently in 8th Place and holds the final playoff position in the West Region.
The Saints were ahead 18-15 after the 1st quarter and increased that advantage to 39-33 by halftime. But, a poor 3rd quarter saw them lose the lead and trail the home team 49-48 heading to the final period.
St Clair recovered and seemed to be in control with an 8-point lead (64-56) partway through the 4th quarter, but Conestoga would not go away, tying the game at 66-66 and then regaining the lead 69-66 with a triple.
Down 71-68, the Saints went to the basket in the final minute, getting a pair of dunks from Gil Atencio to secure the win. The last jam from Atencio came with just two seconds remaining and proved to be the winner.
Atencio was the player of the game, finishing with 25 points and 12 rebounds for the double-double. He also made his mark defensively with 4 blocks and 3 steals for St Clair.
No other Saint reached double figures, but brothers Jermaine Lynch and Juwan Lynch each scored 9. Jermaine distributed well from the point guard spot with 7 assists.
Last night in London, the Saints dropped a 71-69 loss to Fanshawe to go 6-10 on the season.
After falling behind 18-12 in the opening quarter, the Saints took the lead in the 2nd on the strength of an 8-0 run held a 36-28 advantage at halftime. The Falcons chipped away at St Clair’s lead in the 3rd and trailed by just 2 going into the final period.
Fanshawe quickly took the lead in the 4th but the Saints tied the game at 68. After Fanshawe again went in front, St Clair had a chance to draw even with two chances from the free throw line and 3.5 seconds on the clock, but fell short of the mark.
Atencio again had a strong game for St Clair as he put up 15 points and pulled down 16 boards for a double-double.
The Saints will take on the 5th place Niagara Knights (10-6) on February 11 at the SportsPlex with the tipoff at 3pm.
-with files from Ian Shalapata.