The Canton Charge team members gave the shirts (jerseys) off their backs in a charity silent auction after the game but lost their shirts against a powerful Los Angeles D-Fenders team 125-111 on Friday night at the Canton Memorial Civic Center as 3,085 looked on. The loss drops Canton to 25-17 as they fight to hold onto first place in their division while Los Angeles improved to 24-15.
Los Angeles came out smoking hot in the first quarter hitting five three-pointers in a 21-5 run to start the game. In all, LA was good for 8-of-13 long balls or 62% as seven LA players in uniform contributed. Things looked grim on the scoreboard as it read 40-26 at the buzzer. The second quarter saw no relief as the D-Fenders shot ahead by as much as 26 points leading 71-56 at the half.
In spite of the lopsided score of 93-77 going into the fourth quarter, Canton never slowed or gave up. With cunning defense and hard driving offense they were able to climb to within eight as they rolled off an 8-0 run in the first 1:30 of the fourth quarter. It was at this point that half of the lights in the Civic Center suddenly went out as well as the scoreboard. After a bit of a break, the scoreboard returned to life and play resumed in dimmer light, but by this time it was lights out for the Canton Charge who is dealing with loss of key players due to injury and 10 day contracts.
Cleveland Cavaliers assignment Sergey Karasev led Canton with 21 points on 6-of-12 shooting and nine rebounds in 34 minutes. Will Cherry scored 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting with seven rebounds, eight assists and a steal in 34 minutes from the point guard position. Steve Weingarten added 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting in 19 minutes of relief, while Olek Czyz scored 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting with nine boards in 27 minutes.
Los Angeles’ collective effort saw five players score 15+ points, spearheaded by Brandon Costner’s 24 with nine boards and two steals in 30 minutes. Shawne Williams netted 23 points with eight rebounds and three blocks in 39 minutes. James Southerland came off the bench to provide 20 points, six rebounds and two blocks in 28 minutes. The D-Fenders as a team finished 16-of-34 from long distance (47%) after coming into the game second in the D-League in three-point attempts and makes, while third in three-point percentage.
HEAD COACH STEVE HETZEL
(On tonight’s game):“They jumped us right at the beginning of the game. They went on an 8-0 run, hit their first two threes and never looked back. They were shooting over 50 percent from the field and from the three-point line. It’s not that we didn’t fight, it’s just that we didn’t execute the game plan as effective as I thought we should have to start the game and we were just playing from behind the whole night. Once again it was the same story; we exerted a lot of energy just to cut the lead. There was nothing left in the tank. They just kept coming, kept hitting shots. A lot of credit to (Los Angeles), especially being down in numbers. Their guys fought. They fought harder than we did, definitely at the beginning of the game. They attacked the game like they wanted to win. They’re fighting for playoff spots just like we are. All the credit goes to them. “
(On finding the right mix of players with new additions, injuries, and call-ups):“It’s just trying to find the combination of players that are giving the best results and working. At that time in the game, there really is no excuse that we can make because it’s what we want as a team. We want our players to move up and move on. That’s the nature of the league. You’ve got to step up and if we are going to feel sorry for ourselves, then we can watch the playoffs (from home). We have got to win games.”
G WILL CHERRY
(On Los Angeles’ hot start):“They just started hitting tough shots and there’s nothing you can do about it. I can count on hands and feet, how many times they just pulled up in our faces and it was nothing but the net. We were just staring at the rim like, ‘how big is it for them tonight?’ In the second half you kind of think, ‘they can’t shoot like that in the first half,’ but tonight they did. That’s just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. Tonight, they were just on fire and there was nothing we could do about it. We did all of our help-principles, our switch-principles; everything we practiced defensively all week, we did. They were just making shots. Great offense beats great defense any night and that’s just what it was tonight.”
Charge forward/center Arinze Onuaku was injured after receiving an elbow to the head with 9:32 remaining in the second quarter during the March 11, 2014 game against the Sioux Falls SkyForce. Medical examination and CT scan has revealed a right orbital fracture. Arinze will be out for approximately two to three weeks as he receives treatment and continued evaluation. Onuaku has been placed on the inactive list and will be updated as appropriate.
As for the Los Angeles D-Fenders and the Canton Charge, the two teams will meet again to cap off Canton's five-game home stand today, March 15 at 7:30 p.m. for Fan Appreciation Night! Guaranteed Cavs/Monsters/Gladiators tickets for everyone through the door, Pozzie's Prize Balloon Drop for cash & prizes, Fan App Frisbee Frenzie sponsored by Dunkin's Diamonds for a $2,000 piece of jewelry and more all starting at just $7!
For tickets, game day promotions and links to live stats and YouTube game streams, head to www.CantonCharge.com.