Monroe-Woodbury comes from behind to defeat Valley Central in boys varsity basketball, 50-47

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  • Photos by William Dimmit Conor Coffey hits a three-point shot in the second quarter.

  • Nick Memoli put the game away with two free throws.

  • Chris Lulgjuraj's strong second half kept the Crusaders in the game.

  • Jack Dembia scored six of his 11 points in the first quarter to help the Crusader keep pace.

MONTGOMERY — The Crusaders traveled to Valley Central High School on Tuesday night, Dec. 11, to face the Vikings in a non-league boys varsity basketball game.

The Crusaders entered the game with a 1-1 record, having lost in overtime to Washingtonville last Friday.

In a tight first period, the Vikings took a one-point lead but Crusader Jack Dembia’s six points in the quarter kept the Vikings from pulling away.

In the second quarter the Crusaders defense stepped up and held the Vikings to five points while Conor Coffey scored five as the Crusaders built a small half-time lead.

The Crusaders' 24-19 lead was quickly cut when the Vikings came roaring out of the locker room after half. But Chris Lulgjuraj’s six points kept the Crusaders on top 38-35 at the end of the third.

In the fourth quarter, the Vikings, with a very vocal home crowd behind them, took the lead with 7:14 left in the game.

But the Crusaders didn’t fold. With 3:18 left in the game, they retook the lead.

The Vikings had one last chance. With 49 seconds left in the game, they had the ball and were only down by one.

That's when Crusader Nick Memoli stole the ball and was fouled. With the Viking crowd at full volume, Memoli stepped to the foul line and he calmly hit the two free throws to give the Crusaders a 50-47 victory.

The win brings their season record to 2-1.

Their next game will be on Thursday when they host the Middies Middletown.

- William Dimmit

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