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RAIDERS DOWN EAGLES FOR A TITLE SHOT

The St. Anthony Raiders defeated the Harvest Eagles Thursday night to set up a championship game against the St. John’s Knights for the boys middle school basketball’s best team.

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By Robert Balajadia

The St. Anthony Raiders needed to defeat the 7-0 Harvest Eagles at home to set up a championship game between the 7-1 St. John’s Knights. Thursday night, the Raiders did just that while getting an all-around effort from Alschea Grape (pronounced ‘gra-pay’) to beat the Eagles 33-21.

St. Anthony’s Grape finished with a game high 18 points as the Raiders dominated the Eagles from start to finish. Grape scored 13 points in the second quarter and played the facilitator role down the stretch which got the whole crowd going.

“I wanted to get my teammates involved because they were all relying on me. We just wanted to finish off the game and kill the time and we ended up doing that,” said Grape.

A slow first quarter, that presented a 4-2 score with the Raiders leading, quickly changed after Grape’s constant scoring. Grape scored off two transition layups and hit a spot-up three from the corner to go up 17-8 heading into halftime.

The Eagles were in the comeback trail in the fourth quarter and had just cut the lead 25-15. Grape then sliced trough the defense on the baseline and found a wide open Kenny Cheon under the basket.

A play later, Grape created a turnover on the defense end and hit teammate Daryl Delos Santos with a no look bounce pass through two Eagles’ defenders to go up 31-17 with less than a minute left in the game. Grape then tossed a half court heave to Athan Yatar for another score to final the game 33-21.

Wide open Raiders’ Jose Taimanglo attempts for a three point shot. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Wide open Raiders’ Jose Taimanglo attempts for a three point shot. (photo by Jesse Castro)

It’s not secret the Raiders offense runs through Grape and the Raider plan of attack has not change all year.

The only team that was able to beat the Raiders thus far has been the Bishop Baumgartner Opispos, a loss that coach Danny Payumo believes the team really needed.

“That loss really helped these guys wake up. The first part of the season was easy flowing and that loss really woke them up and I hope it carries on to the next game,” said Payumo.

With only not more game to go, Grape is ready to tackle the Raiders toughest opponent yet in the Knights.

” I’m going to go hard in that game,” assured Grape. “Tonight we felt really good and we were happy, but we still need to take on the Knights. We’re going to stay confident and play our best.”

PHOTO GALLERY:

Surrounded by Raiders defenders, Eagles’ Kai Akimoto passes the ball back out to an open teammate. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Surrounded by Raiders defenders, Eagles’ Kai Akimoto passes the ball back out to an open teammate. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Eagles’ John Paul Dungca drove the baseline to setup for this short jumper. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Eagles’ John Paul Dungca drove the baseline to setup for this short jumper. (photo by Jesse Castro)

. Eagles’ John Paul Dungca attempts for two with this long jumper over Raiders’ Alschea Grape. (photo by Jesse Castro)

. Eagles’ John Paul Dungca attempts for two with this long jumper over Raiders’ Alschea Grape. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Raiders’ Alschea Grape drove up the lane and put two up on the board with this off-side shot. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Raiders’ Alschea Grape drove up the lane and put two up on the board with this off-side shot. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Wide open Raiders’ Jose Taimanglo attempts for a three point shot. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Wide open Raiders’ Jose Taimanglo attempts for a three point shot. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Raiders’ Alschea Grape attempts for two with this jumper from the free throw line. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Raiders’ Alschea Grape attempts for two with this jumper from the free throw line. (photo by Jesse Castro)

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