On Monday, February 5, the Monroe-Woodbury Crusaders boys’ varsity basketball team hosted the Tigers of Kingston in a battle for first place in OCIAA AAA Division. The Crusaders entered the game with a 13-2 record after beating Our Lady of Lourdes 69-55. The Tigers came into the game with a 12-3 record after beating Pine Bush 103-56. The Tigers also beat the Crusaders in Kingston when they met earlier in the season 70-52.
The Crusaders got off to a fast start with a 9-0 lead early in the game. Jayden Desir helped the team take the early lead by knocking down four free throws; the senior scored 6 points from the line and had 13 points in the game. The Tigers quickly responded and pushed ahead by a score 18-13 at the end of the first.
The Crusaders retook the lead in the second quarter, as their offense scored 23, led by CJ Pearson who scored 10 in the game. Unfortunately, the Crusaders lost co-captain Jankarlos Mendoza, one of their leading scorers, in the quarter when he recorded his second technical foul of the game. But the Crusaders still held a 36-34 half time lead.
The Crusaders came out of the half and stretched their lead to 7 points, with Kyle McDermott controlling the boards on both ends of the court. The Crusaders held the lead late into the fourth quarter, with Fabrice Ndja scoring 7 of his 17 points in the period. The Tigers hung on and when they hit a desperate 3-point shot at the buzzer, the score was tied at 57 and the game was forced into overtime.
In the overtime the Tigers outscored the Crusaders 6-4 and escaped with first place and a 63-61 victory. The Crusaders’ loss brings their record to 13-3 for the season. The Crusaders picked up a victory on Tuesday when Pine Bush forfeited their scheduled game. The Crusaders will have a 14-3 record when they travel to Albany on Saturday to face the Green Tech Eagles.