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March 20, 2012 > Cougars come close in semi-finals

Cougars come close in semi-finals

Submitted By Mike Heightchew

In a well fought contest, Newark Memorial's dream season finally came to an end when facing a powerful Archbishop Mitty Monarch team in CIF semi-final action. The final score was close, 63-58.

In a brush with victory, the Cougars flirted with an upset of top-seeded Archbishop Mitty-San Jose. Neither team was able to hold a sizeable lead and control the game.

The Cougars held the lead early 8-6 when Sultan Siddiq, a big spark off the bench, hit a 3-pointer. Newark Memorial trailed 13-10 after a quarter but was still in the game and regained a lead with 4 minutes, 48 seconds left in the second quarter on a great 3-point basket by great shot by Casey Norris. A fall back shot by Kenneth Jones of Mitty made it 23-20, but Mitty scored the final five points of the second quarter, controlling the paint, to take a 25-23 lead. Paramvir Singh and Damien Banford played just six minutes of the first half due to foul trouble.

In third quarter action, the Cougars took the floor with fire in their bellies and, with a small lead, looked like they might pull of a big time upset. A seven point run and an 8-2 run late in the period gave Newark a 42-37 advantage entering the fourth quarter. Cougar 6'1" Norris, guarded most of the night by Mitty's 6'8" star Aaron Gordon, had eight of his 17 points in the quarter. Newark had its biggest lead at 45-39 early in the fourth after a 3-pointer by Norris. After the game he said, "I was trying to stay aggressive, just play the game, I wasn't trying to force too many shots."

The Cougars still led 53-50 with 3:44 left on the clock after a free throw by Siddiq (11 points). But Mitty finally found a way to take control of the paint and the Monarchs scored the next eight points as part of their 10-1 push to take a 58-53 lead. They held a two-possession advantage over the game's final two minutes.

Mitty coach Tim Kennedy commented on the tough win saying, "That was a little closer than we wanted, but Newark kind of forced us into that with some of our play - a lot of turnovers and a lot of offensive rebounds on their part. They were the hungrier team to start."

Newark Memorial coach Craig Ashmore said, "I'm proud of our effort. I wish it went the other way; the team is disappointed. We came to win and didn't get it done."

Gordon (Mitty) finished with 21 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks. He struggled to a 6 of 18 night because of a great effort by Newark men in the middle, Paramvir Singh and Damien Banford, who kept pressure on him all night.

A great Cougar season!

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