On Tuesday night, Feb. 4, the Crusaders traveled up Route 208 to take on the Washingtonville Wizards in search of a victory to help keep their playoff hopes alive.
The Crusaders and Wizards had already met twice this year, with the Crusaders taking a 52-49 victory in the first and the Wizards prevailing in the second game 44-31.
The crowed old gym in Washingtonville was packed with fans and parents, giving the game a real playoff atmosphere as the teams took the court.
The Wizards took a 9-8 lead in first quarter as the two teams dug in for a real defensive struggle.
In the second quarter, the Crusaders grabbed the lead on Pablo Quinones' three-point shot with 3:30 left in the half, but the Wizards retook the lead at the buzzer and went to the locker room with a 16-15 advantage.
The two teams picked up the intensity of the game in the third quarter with the Wizards surging ahead by four points halfway through the period.
The Crusaders then rallied as Will Fuchs scored five straight points and Jack Harris hit a big three-point bucket.
But it was Josh Castro who knocked down two free throws after the buzzer that put the Crusaders on top 30-29 at the end of the third.
In the final quarter, the Washingtonville's Ryan Graham hit two three-point shots to give the Wizards a six-point lead with four minutes left.
Josh Castro's drives to the basket during the final minutes kept the game close but Wizards pulled away to win 48-39.
The Crusaders' loss brings their record to 6-9 on the season. Their next game will be on Friday night when they travel to Pine Bush.
- William Dimmit