Knights men can’t hold on in thriller against Christendom

By Andrew Hunter

Knightly News Sports Reporter

The Central Penn College Knights fell in an exhilarating contest against Christendom by a score of 75-74 in a United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) match-up on Saturday afternoon at East Pennsboro Area High School.

The defenses came to play at the beginning of the contest, with both teams going a combined 0-for-9 in the first two minutes. The game’s scoring started at the 2:46 mark with a basket made by Christendom guard Peter Ethridge.

The Crusaders took advantage of their size with their big man, Daniel Schultz, who had three key offensive rebounds in the first half. With these rebounds, the Crusaders created several second-chance opportunities and converted on their chances.

Even with these second-chance opportunities, the Knights were playing stellar defense, with junior point guard Rodney Ross leading the way. Ross recorded a steal and 2 rebounds in the first half, and was active in the passing lanes, forcing bad passes from the Crusaders.

Offensively, neither team had a solid half, with Christendom shooting only 33% from the field and the Knights managing only 32%. The Knights would go into halftime down by 11, 37-26.

The Crusaders came out of the locker room ready to play. They came out and started firing threes, and the first one fell from John Paul Vander Woude, and then Ross came down for the Knights and responded with a midrange jumper.

Riley Young, who got the start, was huge on both ends of the floor, getting a pair of offensive rebounds and taking a charge on the other end. Forward Jordan Strickland hit a big 3-pointer at the 14-minute mark to force the Crusaders to take a timeout to stop the Knights’ momentum.

The Knights’ impressive defense continued, but they found their rhythm on offense by cutting the Crusaders’ lead down to four. The Knights were led again by Ross, who contributed 17 points in the second half alone.

Even with the Knights’ defense ability, the Crusaders were knocking down 3-point shots effortlessly. John Paul Vander Woude made an exceptional 3-point basket from deep at the end of the shot clock.

After the big shot, the Knights’ defense started to pick up again. Two huge blocks by Strickland were crucial in the comeback for the Knights. Ross continued his stellar performance with a 3-point play to keep the Knights within striking distance.

With the Knights down only five points with 3:45 left in regulation, both teams kept trading shots. Then, career 1,000-point scorer Quadere Allen hit a huge 3-pointer to pull the Knights to within three points with only a minute left. Then, seconds later, Strickland had a creative assist to Allen for an easy layup to bring the Knights to within one.

After a missed 3-point shot from the Crusaders, Strickland secured the rebound, and the Knights called a timeout with only seconds left. But the inbounds play did not go where the Knights wanted, leading to an immediate timeout. With only .8 seconds remaining in the game, Allen attempted a fadeaway jumper that ultimately was off of the mark. Even with an exciting conclusion, the Knights were unable to regain the lead late in the contest and came up short, 75-74.

The Knightly News Player of the Game was Ross, who scored 22 points and added 8 assists and 4 rebounds. Allen chipped in 12 points, while Strickland contributed 7 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks.

For Christendom, John Paul Vander Woude led the scoring attack with 21 points, while brother Bobby Vander Woude poured in 20 points. Shultz also added 12 points and 12 rebounds.

With this loss, the Knights fell to 2-15 on the season, while Christendom improved to 6-4.

The Knights return to action on Jan. 19 at Patrick Henry College. They return home on Jan. 31 for a second contest with Patrick Henry.

Comment or story idea? Contact KnightlyEditors@CentralPenn.Edu.