It was like changing deck chairs on the Titanic…you had a slightly different view, but the results were the same. For the second time in as many nights, the Los Angeles D-Fenders ran rampant over the Canton Charge in front of a sellout crowd of 3,942 at the Canton Memorial Civic Center during fan appreciation night. In spite of the loss, it was a happy crowd of fans that left the center that night as thousands of dollars of prizes and tickets for Monsters, Gladiators and Cavaliers games were distributed during the game.
Only twenty-four hours after the D-Fenders had dominated the boards by hitting eight of their first three point attempts , this contest had both teams pretty even for the first quarter as Canton clamped down on defense keeping LA at 31% for 8-of-26 while scoring 16 in the paint to pull ahead by 21-20.
The second portion saw four ties and three lead changes early one until the score hit 38-38 with 5:02 left when the D-Fenders shot off a 16-0 run in just 4:36 to take their biggest lead of the game at 54-38. Canton managed to hit two from the field after whiffing nine shots as the scoreboard showed 54-42 in favor of LA.
The D-Fenders came out crazy good in the second half scoring 76 points on 25-of-41 for 61% with 9-of-15 from three point land falling through the net. Canton’s relief players Re’mon Nelson and William Buford were notable for their scoring fifteen points each in the second half, but with shot after shot falling for LA while on our end it seemed that the rim had shrunk and the floor tilted to their favor.
Canton was led by Olek Czyz’s second double-double of the year with 14 points and a season-high 15 rebounds in 30 minutes. Kyrylo Fesenko added 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting, while Cavaliers assignment Sergey Karasev contributed seven points, nine rebounds and two steals in 23 minutes. The Charge got a huge boost from their reserves with 51 bench points in tonight’s game.
Shawne Williams poured in 34 points with seven rebounds in 34 minutes to lead Los Angeles. James Southerland netted 26 points on 10-of-17 shooting with eight boards in 26 minutes off the bench. C.J. Williams added 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting with five rebounds and four assists in 32 minutes.
HEAD COACH STEVE HETZEL
(On tonight’s game): “They’re a high-powered offensive team. We struggled mightily defensively. I thought our inability to put the ball in the basket started to weigh heavily on us mentally. We couldn’t turn it around and start making our own luck by playing harder. It’s just one of those things that snowballed into a big mess. For us, we have got to pick up the pieces. We have a long week of practice and we have got to get better. There’s no time, room or reason why we should be feeling sorry for ourselves. We have had a great season up to this point. We can’t let a bad weekend affect that. We have got to keep pushing forward.”
(On if his coaching philosophies change with player movement): “We still want to be a defensive team, I’m not going to change that by any means. It’s definitely hard when you have got new pieces for everybody to be on the same page right away, but that’s my job, the staff’s job and the players’ job to buy-in this week in practice and the short amount of time that we have. We have to make it happen to the best of our ability. Things like this happen across the board in sports with injuries, it’s just more prevalent in this league. Like we said all along, we want this to happen when our guys move on to better things and we have to be prepared to move forward ourselves.”
F SERGEY KARASEV
(On his time in Canton on assignment): “I’m definitely enjoying this time. We have a pretty good team and the guys are very good teammates. Now, we have the week to prepare for the last games, so we’re going to work in practice. We have the chance to go to the playoffs and I think if we can forget all the injuries and just be who we think we can be, we can go really, really (far) and play for the championship. Now, we must play like a team and go back to work.”
Charge forward Gilbert Brown left Friday’s game with 6:09 remaining in the third quarter after receiving a knee to the head while diving for a loose ball. Upon being taken to Aultman Hospital and receiving examination and a CT scan, he was diagnosed with a concussion and was off the roster for Saturday’s game versus Los Angeles. His status is listed as day-to-day and will be updated as appropriate as the team follows league concussion protocol.
Canton will finish the 2013-14 campaign with six of their final seven games on the road, beginning with an East Division matchup with the Springfield Armor on Friday, March 21 at 7:00 p.m. For tickets, game day promotions and links to live stats and YouTube game streams, head to www.CantonCharge.com<http://www.CantonCharge.com.