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Crusaders put Poetry Christian out to pasture early on

Facing a team they had already defeated soundly and with the toughest stretch of district play coming up, Friday was a time for the Crusaders to take the court and bury their opponent swiftly.
St. John (13-13, 5-1) was up to the task and then some to take an outrageous 34-4 halftime lead over Poetry Country Christian School of Terrell. The blue team cruised against the visiting Pioneers in the second half for a 43-13 victory.
“We knew this should be an easy win and wanted to set the tone by jumping on them early,” said coach Cody O’Daniel.
“We’ve got a big game on Monday vs. Balch Springs and I wanted to have the chance to work on some things.”
The Crusaders exhibited a balanced scoring attack led by Nolan Vrana (10 points, two rebounds, three assists, two steals) and Thomas Phillips (10 points, four rebounds, steal, block). Thomas Miller posted a gigantic stat line with eight points, 11 rebounds, three assists, seven steals and three blocks, while Kenny Janousek (six points, three rebounds, assist, three steals) and Cody Zmolik (five points, five rebounds, steal) also played some good ball.
The Pioneers enjoyed a 2-2 ballgame in the opening moments before their wagon wheels fell off. Janousek assisted Miller on a wing three as Vrana later found Phillips for an alley-oop layup.
Miller tallied two steals and a block in the first and converted a three-point play, while Janousek attacked for five free throw attempts as St. John shot 8-10 at the stripe in the frame for a 17-2 lead.
It was easy to see the home team has made significant progress where its free-throw shooting is concerned.
“We shoot about 20 free throws per person each day in practice and you have to run when you miss them, so it’s helped us get better,” Vrana said.
“I was proud to see the free throw shooting improve after we’ve stressed it all season,” O’Daniel added.
“It’s nice to expect two points after a foul. Kenny attacked the basket and got to the line like I hoped he would. That was a great find by Nolan [on the alley-oop] and [Phillips] was able to finish.”
Phillips opened the second quarter with a block as Miller, Janousek, Vrana and Paul Fuqua all snagged steals before halftime. Vrana drilled back-to-back threes and assisted Zmolik on a layup as St. John poured it on for the 30-point lead heading to the locker room.
“I’ve been practicing my threes a lot and it was a big boost when I got the start [at point guard] tonight,” Vrana said.
“After a few shots, I got comfortable. We wanted to work on our man defense and I thought we did really well.
“It was a big achievement to hold them to four points at halftime. Cody is getting used to the physical game as a freshman and looking like Thomas Miller getting those rebounds.”
“Nolan made some outstanding passes and shot the ball well also,” the coach added.
“We passed around the perimeter to break down their zone and also protected ball. Defensively, we gave them a lot of different looks.”
O’Daniel called off the dogs offensively in the third quarter, but there was still defense to be found as Poetry could only muster two points yet again.
Miller manhandled the Pioneers with two blocks and two steals in the quarter. Phillips hit a runner and made a putback while John Sampson blocked a shot at the buzzer for a 38-6 advantage through three.
“Thomas [Miller] really understands what his role is and he was all over the floor,” O’Daniel said.
“He’s so good at getting steals in zone defense. With the game in hand, I just told the guys to protect the ball and we didn’t want to hammer them anymore.”
Sampson opened the fourth with another block and Miller grabbed his last-two steals after assisting Zmolik on a corner three. It was a great night for the youngster off the bench and his coach took notice.
“This was the best I’ve seen Cody play and I’m really proud of him, especially his aggressiveness and the way he boxed out,” O’Daniel said.
“It will be a tough game in a hostile environment at Balch Springs [Monday] and I’m hoping we play well to get the win.”

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Posted by on Jan 28 2008. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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