Brothers get even in OT, 52-50

The Big 10 title race isn’t over just yet. Christian Leppanen scored all eight of Christian Brothers

The Big 10 title race isn’t over just yet.

Christian Leppanen scored all eight of Christian Brothers Acad­emy’s points in a redeeming overtime effort, and the two-time defending league champs kept their hopes alive for another with a dram­atic 52-50 win at Troy Tuesday night before a standing-room-only crowd.

“Joe [Krong] said to me before we went out there, ‘This is your hometown. This is your time,’ ” Leppanen said. “He said OT, it’s going to be me. Joe, Chaz [Lott] and some other guys carried us through four quarters, and it was my turn to do something.”

The senior guard certainly did, but only after his three-point attempt from the top of the circle missed at the buzzer, and left the contest tied at 44-44.

“We were asking him to do that earlier,” Brothers coach Dave Doemel said after watching his team leader go scoreless in regul­ation before he delivered on a scoop shot, nailed a three-pointer and sank three foul shots in the extra session. “It’s a good thing he did that. We needed it.”

Lott had 18 points and four steals, and Krong netted nine points as CBA (14-1, 16-1) took a half game lead over the Flying Horses (13-1, 14-2). Should CBA win its final game against Bishop Maginn, and Troy get past Amsterdam and Albany, a special one-game playoff will be held to determine the Big 10 champion.

CBA defeated Schenectady in the last league playoff in 2006 for one of its four crowns over the last six seasons.

“We’ve got Bishop Maginn Friday. We get by them, it’s us and Troy again,” said Leppanen. “I see it as a win-win situation. If we win, we’re Big 10 champs. If we lose, that will give us a lot of motivation for the sectionals.”

CBA survived Tuesday night despite making just two of 17 shots from the field in the fourth quarter. Leppanen’s miss from long range, and a Nate Robinson miss from close range, came after Troy’s Trahmier Burrell hit one of two from the line to tie the game at 44-44 with 50.6 seconds left.

“I think that says we’ve got good defensive players, and that they’ve got the mentality that they’re not going to quit,” said Doemel. “I don’t know if people realize how tough Chaz Lott is. I don’t know if people realize how tough Christian Leppanen is.”

Leppanen gave CBA to lead for good on two from the line with 1:18 left, 51-50, and padded the lead on another foul shot with 19.3 seconds to go. After Javion Ogunyemi missed two for Troy, Krong had a chance to all but sew up the game, yet, he, too, missed twice from the line with 7.1 seconds on the clock.

Dyaira Holt raced down the court and missed a contested layup as time expired.

“We had our chances,” said Troy coach Rich Hurley.

Troy went 16-for-31 from the free-throw line. The state’s

No. 6-ranked Class AA team was also outscored from three-point territory, 18-0.

“We’ve got to make free throws,” said Hurley. “That’s hurt us all year long. Even when we were winning by 25 points, we were 12-for-26.”

Despite its line woes, Troy rallied from a 12-point third-quarter deficit. Greig Stire had given CBA that 34-22 advantage with 5:10 left in the period.

“We did what we had to do to come back, but we didn’t finish,” said Hurley. “That’s been our trademark, finishing.”

Troy rallied in the first meeting between the teams early last month and prevailed, 45-43, on Burrell’s three-pointer with 18 seconds left. That bucket capped a 12-0 game-closing run as the Flying Horses ended CBA’s 40-game Big 10 win streak.

“We were up by nine with three minutes, and they came back and beat us,” said Leppanen. “We learned from that.”

Leppanen dropped in his scoop shot to give CBA a 46-45 overtime lead, and after Ogunyemi converted a three-point play for Troy, Leppanen knocked down his three. Jarrell Reid’s tip-in gave Troy its last lead, at 50-49 before Leppanen’s free throws.

“Coach said I wasn’t being aggressive. He got on me, and that helped,” said Leppanen. “It also helped that the guys had my back. They kept telling me it was going to fall.”

Reid had 18 points and three blocks for Troy, Burrell had 11 points and three steals, and Ogun­yemi snared 12 rebounds to go with eight points. Reid gave Troy leads late in the fourth quarter at 41-40 on a putback and 43-42 on a jumper.


Leppanen 2-3-8, Lott 7-1-18, Krong 2-4-9, Robinson 1-0-2, Cancer 1-0-2, Ricketts 2-1-5, Brundige 1-0-3, Stire 2-1-5. Totals: 18-10-52.


Reid 5-8-18, Holt 1-3-5, Ogunyemi 3-2-8, Burrell 4-3-11, Brown 4-0-8. Totals: 17-16-5.

CBA 14 11 13 6 8 — 52

Troy 11  9 15 9 6 — 50

Three-point goals: Leppanen, Lott 3, Krong, Brundige.

Categories: High School Sports

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