After turning the ball over on its first five possessions and allowing St. Joseph CC to score the game's first nine points, Danbury fought back and engaged in an exciting, back-and-forth contest with the Crimson Streaks.
Ultimately, though, it wasn't enough as SJCC defeated the Lakers 66-56 in non-conference action at The Thunder Dome.
Behind a combined 42 points from seniors Ryan Williams and Hunter Harrison, SJCC (3-1) took control of the game in the third quarter before holding off a couple of Danbury rallies in the second half to hold on for the victory.
Williams, a 6’3” forward, scored 12 of the Streaks' 22 points in the third quarter to help them build a 13 point lead that dwindled to five as the Lakers (1-6) cut it to 54-49 on a three-pointer midway thru the fourth quarter. Williams was able to get to the hoop and score inside and hit some jumpers as SJCC pulled away. Andy Harrison, a 6’4” center, scored 10 of his 20 points in the first period as the Streaks jumped out to an early lead before Danbury closed to 23-21 at the end of the quarter.
Holding a 52-44 lead heading into the fourth, the Streaks were able to answer every Danbury rally before they pulled away.
Junior guard Ben Linke finished with 10 points and Lucas Michael finished with five, connecting on a three-pointer just before the half that tied it at 30 heading into the intermission.
The Lakers had a balanced scoring attack that saw three players finish in double figures. Dominic Manuella and John Rhodes scored 14 points apiece and Caleb Gerber chipped in with 11, seven of which came in the second half. Manuella was instrumental in leading Danbury back from a 9-0 deficit as he was able to break the press a few times and scored seven points in the first quarter. Ten of Rhodes' 14 points came in the second half as he hit a number of long-range jumpers to help get his team back into the contest.
"Our guys did a fantastic job fighting back," said Danbury head coach Drew Davie. "We talked about St. Joe's and said if they make a run; just take it one possession at a time. Our kids did a good job fighting and battled back."
After playing three tough games to open the season, the Lakers have played much better as of late, challenging both Toledo Christian and Maumee Valley CD deep into games before defeating Bettsville earlier this week.
"We've played well lately," Davie said. "We've just got to keep playing hard and the results will take care of itself."
Davie acknowledged that SJCC's post presence was a key factor in deciding the outcome.
"We knew their post play would be a challenge for us," he said. "In order to get a win, we'd have to hone in on (Williams and Harrison)."
In the first quarter, the Streaks held opened up a 9-0 lead and held a 19-10 advantage before a jumper by Gerber helped the Lakers go on an 11-4 run to close out the period.