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The Watchmen play strong defense, but never get on track offensively in 46-40 home loss

SETH GORDON - C.S. Lewis Academy sophomore Jacob More stretches to lay the ball in during the Watchmen's 46-40 home loss to Perrydale Friday night. After his team essentially took the first half off in a disappointing road loss to Livingstone Adventist Academy earlier in the week, C.S. Lewis Academy boys head basketball coach Brett Vernon was looking for a full 32-minute effort Friday night in a key Casco League clash versus Perrydale.

The Watchmen certainly delivered, at least on the defensive end, where they were often forced to fight through long possessions that lasted between one and two minutes thanks to offensive rebounds or near turnovers.

Unfortunately, C.S. Lewis simply wasn't sharp at the other end and was forced to play catch up for most of the game, eventually falling 46-40.

"Perrydale is just attack, attack, attack, so for our guys to hold their ground, it was probably our best defensive performance of the year against a good team, especially when we had some turnovers that led them to having several possessions that were very long," Vernon said. "I was just super proud of the guys. They worked their butts off the whole game."

The Pirates opened the game on a 9-0 run, but the Watchmen answered right back to knot the contest at 9-9 at the end of the first.

Perrydale pulled away in the second quarter thanks mostly to Dustin Silver, who nailed three 3-pointers to lift the visitors to a 25-14 halftime advantage.

"Last time he hit five wide-open threes and this time was kind of the same thing, we had defensive lapses," Vernon said. "I think those were the only three times we had a complete mental lapse on defense. They scored on us, but we were kind of doing the right thing. They hit some tough shots, too."

The Watchmen never got in a rhythm offensively, mostly because the Pirates did an excellent job defending their top two scorers, Micah Grobey and Jacob More.

The offense usually runs through Grobey, but senior Cooper Butler did a masterful job defending him one on one and the rest of the team did well to prevent kick outs to More, the team's best 3-point shooter.

"He's the best defender in our league, I think, by far," Vernon said of Butler. "They made Micah work for every shot he took. Sure he had a couple that didn't fall that usually do, but every shot was tough for him and he usually gets four or five easy ones a game. They did a great job on him and Jacob More."

A strong start to the third quarter pushed Perrydale's lead to 33-17 midway through the third quarter, but CSLA closed on a 9-2 run to cut the deficit back to nine points entering the fourth.

That run included a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Taylor Dovers, who added two more triples in the fourth quarter and finished with a team-high 15 points.

"Dovers really stepped up today," Vernon said. "He's been inching towards that for a while and he finally put everything together and we've started to see some real improvement from him again. He was all over the place tonight."

The Watchmen, however, weren't able to get closer than seven points until the final minute, when Grobey hit a jumper with 26 seconds to go to make it 46-40. By then it was just too late.

"The kids are getting better," Vernon said. "I was pretty upset after the Livingstone game just because I didn't think we played to our potential. Our effort was there versus Perrydale and that's what we can build on."

The two losses this week dropped C.S. Lewis (13-8, 7-4) to fourth place in the Casco League with three games to play, while the Pirates (17-5, 10-2) solidified their grip on second place.

The Watchmen will travel to play the Oregon School for the Deaf (8-11, 3-9) Tuesday before finishing the regular season with games against league-leading Crosshill Christian (18-5, 11-1) and third-place Falls City (12-8, 8-3).

"We're just going to take care of business and see what happens," Vernon said. "You never know in 1A basketball what's going to happen next."

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