Charge defeated by red hot D-fenders
The Los Angeles D-Fenders used a red hot offensive game to lead wire-to-wire in a 125-111 win over the Canton Charge in front of 3,085 at the Memorial Civic Center on Friday night. Canton is now 25-17 in the thick of the postseason push, while Los Angeles improved to 24-15.
The D-Fenders came out the gates firing by nailing five three-pointers in a 21-5 run to start the game and never looked back. LA hit 8-of-13 long distance attempts in the first quarter (62%) with seven of eight players in uniform getting in the scoring column to pull ahead 40-26. The visitors led by as many as 26 in the second and double digits for the entire duration of the quarter to cruise to a 71-56 lead at intermission.
Canton's deficit didn't dip into single digits for the entire third, but they never let it affect their resolve or character. Trailing 93-77 to start the fourth, the Charge rolled off an 8-0 run in the first 1:30 to get within single digits at 93-85. The D-Fenders' collective shooting hand proved to be too precise, as they immediately responded with a 6-0 run of their own and maintained steady control the rest of the way.
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."
The two teams will meet again to cap off Canton's five-game home stand tomorrow, 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.
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