Siner's double-double leads Patriots to big Monsignor Martin league win
By David Yarger
Niagara Catholic is at their best when they're running in transition and making teams play up to their speed. On Wednesday night at Cardinal O'Hara, that's exactly what they were able to do.
The Patriots defeated the Hawks, 64-50, in a big Monsignor Martin league game for both teams.
Niagara Catholic dominated three quarters of the game, but the Hawks' big second quarter kept them in it.
Haakim Siner was a stud for the Patriots, as his effort on the boards and in the paint were vital to Niagara Catholic's success.
Fans from both teams were into the game early. The Patriots ran out to a 12-5 lead, stirring up the NC fans, then the Hawks scored the next four, getting the Cardinal O'Hara fans to their feet. After a timeout, the Patriots scored the final 8 points of the quarter, capped off by a Jalen Bradberry floater, to lead 20-9 after one quarter.
With the score 21-11 in the Patriots favor, the Hawks embarked on a 10-0 run to tie it up. Justin Hemphill scored 7 points in the second quarter for the Hawks, on his way to a 14-point half. The Patriots held a slight lead at halftime, 27-26.
At the start of the third quarter, Jermaine Haynes made a bucket to give the Hawks their first lead of the game, 28-27.
With Cardinal O'Hara leading 30-29 early in the third, the Patriots began to take over. Niagara Catholic went on a 14-0 run, highlighted by a Siner dunk. Siner had 8 points in the quarter and Bradberry nailed the team's only 3-pointer to end the third quarter scoring, giving the Patriots a 46-38 lead going into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Patriots built of their success from the third and embarked on an 8-0 run to start the quarter. The lead got as high as 22, after Jaemon "Mookie" Turner's floater gave the Patriots a 64-42 lead. The Hawks scored the final 8 points, but it didn't matter, as Niagara Catholic won, 64-50.
In the second half, the Patriots outscored the Hawks 37-24. Along with that, the NC defense held Hemphill, the Hawks leading scorer, to 3 points in the second half.
Coach Guilio Colangelo praised Hemphill's talents, but was proud of his team's ability to guard him in the second half.
"We went to a zone in the second half, and that slowed him down a little bit. They had to work for shots and we were able to contain him. He's a heck of a player and we did a nice job on him tonight," Colangelo said.
In recent games, the Patriots got off to slow starts against teams like Christian Central Academy and Nichols. Tonight was the opposite, as the team seemed to have a new energy to play the Hawks.
"They new it was a big game. They came out ready to play and we played as a team," Colangelo said.
Sixty-two of the Patriots 64 points came from starters tonight, but Colangelo said, the guys that came off the bench were productive in many ways that don't appear on the stat sheet. With limited bench players, though, Colangelo was pleased at his starters efforts to gut it out.
"They gave everything they had; from start to finish. I'm proud of their effort and we just gotta move forward," Colangelo said.
For the Patriots, Siner led with a double-double; 19 points and 18 rebounds. Bradberry added 18 points and 8 rebounds, while Turner and Avion Harris chipped in 10 and 8 points, respectively.
For the Hawks, Hemphill led with 17 points, while Nasir Benton and Yeshuya Lee chipped in 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The win extends Niagara Catholic's record to 11-2 overall and 4-1 in Monsignor Martin league play. The Patriots next game is home at 7:30 p.m., Friday versus Bishop Timon. The Patriots are in for a fight, as Timon recently beat Western New York power, The Park School.