Leopards Cancel Aviators Flight to Sectional Finals 63-45
Louisville 63, Alliance 45
For years Canton Memorial Field House has haunted Leopards basketball. Maybe its the depth of the arena or possibly the double-rimmed hoops, but none of that phased the Louisville Leopards Wednesday night as they dominated their third meeting of the season with the Alliance Aviators for a 63-45 victory. Owen Gramoy made 15 of 16 free throw attempts and led all scorers with 23 points, while Toby Minster and Michael Schooley complimented him by combing for 26 more in the win.
For the first four and half minutes of the game, the two teams seemed to be playing copy cat with each other. A three-ball by Vernon Martin was followed up by a three-ball by Gramoy. Baskets were exchanged until Mitch Sluss grabbed a steal and scored to tie the game at 11-11 and jumpstart a 13-0 Leopards run. Mike Kelly hit 2 three-pointers, Gramoy added another, and Rocco Buccasso hit a deep jumper during the offensive explosion.
However, Alliance did not go quietly into the locker room. They put together a 9-2 run in the final 1:54 to trim the Leps lead to 30-24.
Louisville opened the game up in the third quarter by tripling up Alliance. The Leopards held the Aviators to just 6 points in the period, while scoring 18 of their own. The Leps hustled after loose balls, got plenty of steals, attacked the basket, and seemed to continually have the ball bounce their way. Gramoy poured in 9 for the quarter, which included making 7 of 8 free throws. The Leopards led 48-30 after the third quarter buzzer sounded.
Alliance equaled their third quarter total in the first minute of the fourth period. Two of the three buckets were made by freshman sensation Parrish Martin who scored half of his team-high 16 points in the final quarter. But 48-36 is as close as Alliance would get. Louisville reeled off 7 straight points and never looked back cruising to their biggest tournament win since a 50-30 victory over Akron Springfield in 2005.
From one round three battle to another, Louisville’s win over Alliance earns them a spot in the Sectional Final against the Northwest Indians. The Leopards and Indians split the season series with neither team defending home court. Louisville won 72-62 earlier in the season, while Northwest took home a 56-54 win over the Leopards on January 21. The two teams will battle each other at the Canton Memorial Field House at 8:00 PM Saturday.
LEOPARDS: Gramoy 3 15-16 23, Minster 7 1-3 15, Schooley 4 3-3 11, Kelly 3 0-3 8, Sluss 2 0-0 4, Buccasso 1 0-0 2, TOTALS 20 19-25 63.
3PT (4): Gramoy (2), Kelly (2)
TEAM FT: 19-25 76%
AVIATORS: P. Martin 8 0-0 16, V. Martin 3 0-0 7, Mays 3 0-1 6, Mayle 2 0-0 4, Scott 2 0-0 4, Cundiff 0 3-3 3, Kukura 1 1-2 3, Hanley 1 0-0 2, TOTALS 20 4-6 45.
3PT (1): V. Martin (1)
TEAM FT: 4-6 67%
NEXT GAME: The Leopards will compete for a Sectional Title against the Northwest Indians on Saturday, March 5 at 8:00 P.M. All district tournament games will be played at Canton’s Memorial Field House.