Champs Come Up Short in Pool Play

WEST DEPTFORD, NJ – Raising Champions held a lead in their second game of the afternoon at the Tri-state Memorial Weekend Tournament.

Ravi Rozier
Mariega Clarke

They were able to build up a double digit lead in the second half, but unfortunately for Raising Champions, they weren’t able to keep it. The Keystone Blazers were able to go on a 10-3 run to end the game to steal a 61-60 victory away from Raising Champions.

The game was tied at 41 early in the second half when Raising Champions were able to gain a little momentum and score 10 straight points. They were exploiting the fact that their opponents didn’t have anybody at all able to guard the middle. So the guards constantly put pressure on the defense and attacked the rim.

One of the guards who attacked the soft middle was 6’1″ Marquise Moore (Holy Cross). He penetrated a few times, using his dribble to get into the paint and force the issue. Moore was able to finish inside a couple of times and also got to the free throw line. Moore scored 13 points. However, when the game was winding down, Moore wasn’t able to get the ball. Moore is a good free throw shooter, but one of his teammates was fouled and ended up missing both free throws.

Another player who played well early in the game was 6’5″ Mariega Clarke (Holy Cross). He scored a game high 17 points and hit all of his field goals in the first half. He was very active getting the ball in close for inside lay-ups, and he also knocked down a 15 foot jumpshot. He didn’t make a basket in the second half, but Clarke did score from the free throw line.

Still, that wasn’t enough to hold off the Blazers. A series of fouls by Raising Champion players allowed their opponents to methodically whittle away the lead they held for most of the second half. The go ahead basket by the Blazers was a dunk with 6 seconds left in the game. That was the first lead that the Blazers had since extremely early in the game.

Raising Champions will be playing in the playoff round on Sunday.

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