STEUBENVILLE – The Franciscan men's basketball team gave graduating senior Derrick David a night to remember as the team sent him off with an 80-70 over D'Youville in David's final game on Kuzma Court, Saturday.
"Derrick does everything that is asked of him all of the time," complimented head coach Joe Wallace. "Every day at practice he encourages the other guys; he is like the glue that holds us. He is a really big brick in the foundation that we are building. For him to be a guy in his last year and it wasn't what anyone would want at first and for him to keep coming and stay positive and encouraging, it really helped keep the guys together."
David will graduate as the program's all-time assist and steal leader with 218 assists and 121 steals with two more games to play.
"I don't pay attention to stats but I do pride myself on defense so to know that I am the steals leader is awesome," remarked Derrick David postgame.
David added a pair of steals and assists against D'Youville to help further his totals.
And it was defense like David's that helped the Barons power their way past the Spartans on Saturday.
Trailing 42-38 at the half, the Barons forced three missed shots on four different possessions and used a 10-4 run to take the lead 48-46 with 16:05 to play. After turnovers on either side of the court, freshman Matt Trent blocked a jumper and Joe Schriner collected the rebound and took it to the basket to push the Baron lead to four, 50-46.
The Spartans chipped at the Franciscan defense and used a 6-3 run to pull within one, 53-52, but junior Keoni Sablan made a layup and sunk a three on the next two Franciscan possessions to push the lead to six, 58-52.
D'Youville would get close to the Barons but Franciscan did not allow the Spartans to re-take the lead in the second half. With 5:51 to play, the Barons went on a 9-0 run to take a 12-point lead, the largest of the contest for either team, at 70-58 with 3:09 to play.
From there, the game became a free throw shooting contest and Franciscan came out on winning end of things to seal the 80-70 win for the Barons.
"To me, everything we have been working is starting to show," continued David. "We have been putting in the work and you could see little steps, glimpses in the stats of us getting better but now it's really starting to show. We are getting wins now and showing that we can play. It's great to see what we have been working for is not for nothing. Its showing. We are beating teams we should be beating and we are staying in games with teams a lot better than us. It's nice to see that we are getting somewhere."
The game opened with the lead changing hands six different times until the Spartans took a 17-16 lead with 13:24 to play. DYC pushed that lead to six points, 22-16, before Sablan drained a deep three to cut it back to three. Sablan and freshman Josh York made back-to-back shots on the next two Baron possessions to take the lead back, 23-22, but it would be short-lived as the Spartans answered with a pair of shots as well to lead 26-23.
The lead changed hands twice more before Sablan made a jumper at 6:01 to tie the game at 29-29. From there, the Spartans worked a 5-3 run to lead 34-31. Sophomore Juwan Perkins and York combined for three points to tie the game at 34-34 but the Spartans closed out the half on a 6-4 run to take the 42-38 lead into halftime.
After the Spartans shot 52.9% (18-for-34) from the floor in the first half, the Barons played shut down defense in the second and limited D'Youville to 29.4% from the floor (10-for-34) and 41.2% (28-for-68) for the game.
"We hang our hat on our defense," explained Coach Wallace. "The numbers have not been great overall for the year but tonight we locked them up. I thought for all of the second we did a great job limiting them to one shot and riding the dribbler. We played more physical. For the most part, the second half was great."
Franciscan shot 43.1% (28-for-65) for the game and was 20-for-34 from the free throw line compared to D'Youville's 9-for-25.
Sablan led all players with 29 points and was 11-for-15 from the floor. Sablan hit all three of his threes and dished out five assists to go with his four steals and five rebounds. Trent had another double-double with 15 points and 15 rebounds, 11 defensive. Trent was a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line. York posted 12 points and pulled down five rebounds for the Barons.
"Keoni played really, really well," complimented Coach Wallace. "It was nice to see to him have a game like that again. It wasn't just the 29 he had. He had four steals, five assists, and he was doing an unbelievable job driving and finding guys."
David finished his final game on Kuzma Court with two steals and two assists and was 1-for-2 from the floor.
"I've been here for a while and I have seen a lot of different things. This year has been a crazy way to end my career," commented David. "It's crazy to see us grow not only as basketball players and men but we have grown together and we are moving in the right direction. This is a great one to go out on. And Coach Wallace. I am not used to coaches liking me, I don't know why. I don't have the best track record. And he loves me and it's the greatest thing ever. To have the main guy have my back is the greatest thing ever."
"I just love our guys and this experience this last year has been amazing and I owe it all to Coach Wallace. He got everyone on board and I am so thankful for it," said David.
"He is my first senior," commented Coach Wallace of Derrick. "This is my first year. There will always be a huge soft spot in my heart for what he has done this year. These are huge shoes to fill because you have a guy that isn't afraid to take a back seat. He doesn't look to score, he is trying to find guys and he has to guard the best guy on the perimeter. We have just gotten everything out of him and it is going to be a big loss in a lot of areas. The loss isn't the numbers; it's everything else he has done."
The Barons finish out the year on the road as they head to Mt. Aloysius on Wednesday for a 8pm contest before going to Medaille on Saturday for a 4pm game to wrap up the year.