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Nichols Takes Care of Business Against St. Joes

By Adam Gorski

Off the back of a strong TJ Banaszak shooting performance, the Nichols Vikings defeated St. Joes 53-44 in Monsignor Martin Athletic Association league play at St. Joes. Both teams came out of the gates playing fast, and a Kevin Durkin three pointer put Joes ahead early 5-2. As the quarter continued, the shooting for both sides worsened, and a low scoring first quarter ended with a 12-10 advantage for the Marauders. Nichols was able to turn their shooting woes around in quarter two, as they scored on their first three possessions to open the second and took a 16-14 lead. Nichols continued their dominant play, which included a 9-1 run to open up their lead to 23-15, as the Vikings took a ten point lead into the break, 27-17. Abysmal play on the offensive end for Joes killed them, as they put up a mere five total second quarter points. Nichols dominated the paint throughout the contest, and their presence underneath lifted them to a 12 point advantage as the second half kicked into gear. The Marauders finally got some momentum going around the middle of the third quarter with the help of a Naseer Jackson circus shot three point play. Jackson’s miraculous layup cut the lead to six, and a Jack Capen three cut the lead to 35-32. But Nichols stayed with what was working, and a late put back shoved the Vikings ahead 37-32 after three. Joe’s put a half-court trap into place during the second, which led to turnovers for Nichols. The three point deficit was as close as the Marauders would get in their comeback efforts, as Banaszak went to work in early minutes of the fourth quarter. His two three pointers on back to back possessions followed by a Myles Hervey layup powered a 12-1 Viking run to open the final eight minutes. Hervey continued to dominate in the paint, as all six of his fourth quarter points came below the basket, which opened up a 15 point Nichols lead, their largest of the game. The Marauders put a few baskets on the board in the dwindling minutes of the fourth, but in the end it wasn’t enough. “We found our open shooters,” said Banaszak following the victory. “Our ball movement was good and we played well.” Banaszak had a game high 21 points in the matchup and Will Johnson chipped in 10 points to give the Vikings the MMAA win. “We kept working our system,” said Nichols head coach Darren Fenn. “We’ve been preaching it the whole year and we’re finally starting to execute it. We need to keep the ball moving.” As for St. Joes, the Marauders were led by Jack Capen, who put up 13 points in the loss. Naseer Jackson had 10, including going 8 for 11 at the foul line. Jackson’s ability to drive and draw fouls was a key asset for Joe’s. Marauders head coach Mark Simon had a simple answer to explain what went wrong in the loss. “We didn’t score enough. It’s a tough game to play when you can’t score.” The win puts Nichols at 7-8 on the year as well as 4-3 in MMAA play. The Vikings are back in action on February 3rd, as they head to Olean to take on Archbishop Walsh in another Monsignor Martin matchup. St. Joes now sits at 6-9 this season and 1-6 in the MMAA standings. They take on Cheektowaga on February 2nd in their next contest.

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