Campbell rebounds for win
Grand Valley can’t hold lead
By Greg Gulas
Down nine points after the opening quarter, Campbell High School boys basketball coach Nick Canterino didn’t panic.
Neither did his team.
With starters Nick Kouros and Brandon Liggin relegated to the bench due to the flu, the Red Devils built a three-point halftime lead, then weathered a fourth-quarter Grand Valley charge for 55-46 victory.
Trae Edwards scored 15 of his game-high 21 points in the second half. Liggins and Eric Van Cobb added 10 apiece as the Red Devils (7-7) forced 26 Mustangs turnovers for the sixth victory in their last eight outings.
“Coach Canterino told us before the game that in order to win, we would have to ‘D’ up,” Edwards said. “Tonight we hustled.
Edwards said the Devils got on the floor for all loose balls and played defense “like we do in practice,.
“After the first quarter, we stepped it up on the defensive end and that was big,” Edwards said.
Elevating his offensive game in the second half also proved big.
“I felt like I was letting my team down in the first half offensively,” Edwards said. “I then concentrated on getting the ball to the hoop.”
Leading 7-6, the Mustangs (8-7) reeled off the next eight points to open a 15-6 advantage. Michael McGovern led the way by scoring eight of his team-high 12 points in the first quarter.
Facing a 19-8 deficit on back-to-back hoops by Grand Valley’s Dante Acettola, Edwards, Liggins, Van Cobb and Rayshawn Hicks each scored four points to key a 19-5 run by the Red Devils for a halftime lead.
“We just kept fighting and pushed ourselves at both ends of the court, especially after the first quarter,” Van Cobb said. “We picked up the pace after the half.”
Seven points by Edwards and six more by Liggins keyed a 13-6 run to start the second half as the Devils opened a 40-30 margin.
Jake Cunningham’s two buckets helped the Mustangs on a quarter-ending 9-0 run as Grand Valley cut the deficit to 40-39.
Two free throws by Cunningham pulled Grand Valley even at 43-all, but eight points by Edwards and six more from Van Cobb helped Memorial pull ahead, 55-45.
“We play four games this week and the tournament draw is coming up, so this is a big week for us and we started it out on the right foot,” Canterino said. “We had a tough time finding our rhythm in the first quarter, but our pressure helped get us back in the game.
“We’re nine players deep and anyone on any given night can score 20 points, so I am not surprised with what Trae and Eric gave us. We’re a defensive team and that’s our strength so when we’re aggressive defensively, everyone feeds off of that energy.”
Committing 26 turnovers was costly, according to Mustangs’ head coach Justin Turk.
“When they pressed us, we weren’t ready,” Turk said. “We gave up eight or 10 points off of turnovers and when we tied the game at 43, we had a couple of lapses, they made a couple buckets and we failed to execute on the offensive end. That has been our struggle the past few games.”