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Campbell holds off Struthers for 53-50 win

Correspondent photo / Robert Hayes Campbell senior David Moore shoots after driving during the first half of his 19-point performance. The Red Devils beat Struthers 53-50.

CAMPBELL — Senior night is always that one evening that every athlete looks forward to, and perhaps the best opportunity during the regular season to put on a show in front of the home fans.

At times the dance between Struthers and host Campbell displayed physicality more akin to a contest on the gridiron, but the Red Devils made the right plays down the stretch to earn a 53-50 victory in front of an energized audience at Campbell Memorial.

Red Devils coach Nick Canterino appreciated the way his team played with passion during their regular season home finale.

“The energy was great tonight, any time it’s a rivalry game there’s more to it. The fans were really into it, our kids were really pumped for it, it was huge just getting this win on senior night to get these seniors sent out on the right track,” Canterino said. “We executed what we wanted to do early, and then we kind of let them get in the paint too much. Too many paint touches really hurt us there down the stretch, it felt like it was us being out of position a little bit.

“We got to work a little bit harder, talk a little bit more, but we let them right back into the game, but we were lucky to make enough plays to get out of here with a win.”

Campbell (15-6) jumped on the Wildcats early, leading 15-5 following a 8-0 run at the end the first quarter, capped off by field goals from seniors David Moore and Aziyah Flores. They only allowed a single shot from the field in the first eight minutes of play, which was a three from Struthers junior Jason Dukes.

After Campbell led by as much as 22-9 following a three-pointer in front of the Struthers bench, then a bucket in transition Flores, the Wildcats rallied for an 11-0 of themselves. Wildcats seniors Lucas Patti hit a three to begin the run, his first of four made treys.

A Campbell 8-0 run was the reply, including a buzzer beater from Moore on the right end of the arc following an inbound play with only 2.1 seconds left in the period.

“Honestly, that’s a practice shot. I do that everyday, all the time at practice, so it felt good to actually go out there and attempt that shot,” Moore said.

Struthers (9-10) increased its physical intensity during the third quarter, diving for loose balls and disrupting the Red Devils’ offense while slowly chipping away at the lead. Campbell’s first points of the third quarter wouldn’t fall until Moore completed an and-1 at the 2:20 mark.

Moments later, threes from senior Adnrew Kopnicky then Patti gave Struthers its first edge of the night at 36-35, but that was short lived. Seconds later, senior Adyn Vazquez nailed the Red Devils’ second buzzer beater from beyond the arc of the contest, then followed up with another three to start the fourth quarter, to rebuild the host lead to 41-36. Campbell managed to keep enough of a pace throughout the fourth to stay ahead.

Moore credits his team for matching what Struthers tossed at them during the third quarter.

“We felt a lot of energy, we felt like we were unstoppable, but then when they got physical with us, we had a let down. Once we matched their physicality, it was all good for us,” Moore said.

Flores added, “When we were down, the crowd definitely helped us get up to tempo, push more, best one so far this year. We had (Josue Rodriguez) out, so we had to step up, take the lead and score. (Moore) scored and I scored, bucket for bucket to try and get the tempo up and get the score up quickly.”

Moore led all scoring with 19, Flores with 15, Vazquez adding eight. Patti paced Struthers with 17, Dukes also finding double-figures at 13.

sports@vindy.com

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