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BOYS' BASKETBALL: Allen Park holds off Anderson for win in league opener (PHOTO/TOUT VIDEO)

Allen Park's Jarett Shinault (3) had eight points in the winning effort against Anderson Thursday night. Photo by Dave Chapman

Allen Park survived a late surge from visiting Anderson Thursday night and hung on to earn a 43-41 victory in what was the Downriver League opener for both squads.

The Jaguars (2-0, 1-0) led all night, but in the final six minutes the Titans (1-1, 0-1) went on a run and nearly erased a 12-point deficit before Allen Park fended them off.

“We kept our composure as best as we could,” said Jags Coach Jim Victor. “It’s a good early-season test for us. I was happy with how they responded and we made plays when we needed to.”

Allen Park was up 40-28 after a three pointer from Richie Slate around the 6:30 mark of the final quarter.

However, the Jags were held scoreless for the next five minutes and during that stretch Anderson got five points from Dejon Matthews, four from Connor Phee and two from Richard Hodnicki. For the night, Matthews led all scorers with 22 and Phee was second for Anderson with nine points.

Richard Gamble finally got the Jags on the board again and was followed by one point from Slate, making it a 43-39 game with less than 1:30 on the clock.

With just 10 seconds to go, Matthews hit an easy layup and got the Titans back to within two.

On the ensuing inbound pass, Allen Park lost control of the ball and the officials gave possession to the Titans.

With just six seconds remaining, Anderson couldn’t cash in and it appeared the game ended. However, the officials called a foul against the Titans and put 1.5 seconds back on the clock.

Slate lined up for the Allen Park free throw and missed. Phee grabbed the rebound and in desperation heaved the ball down court. Unfortunately for the Titans it bounced off the ceiling and the attempt at a comeback officially fell short.

From the start Thursday night, Allen Park jumped on the Titans and led 13-8 after the first quarter. To help lead the Jags, Adam McJunkin netted six points in the first quarter and for the night had a team-best 10 points.

For most of the contest, Anderson struggled with controlling the ball and suffered several turnovers along the way.

“We were very sloppy tonight,” said Anderson Coach Dave Pratt. “We didn’t run much of what we normally want to run.

I always feel comfortable if we’re within eight (to) 10 points going into any quarter, especially the fourth quarter. I feel comfortable we can come back and win because we have those type of kids, but a lot of kids struggled tonight and it’s hard to win a basketball game like that.”

The struggles continued early in the second quarter for the Titans as the Jags’ Antonio Reviere cashed in on back-to-back steals and put his team up 17-8 with about 6:45 left. Reviere finished the game with nine points, leaving him second to McJunkin.

Despite falling behind, Anderson was able to close the gap and made it a 21-20 game at the half, courtesy of seven second-quarter points from Matthews, three from Phee and one each from Hodnicki and Blake Sloan.

Allen Park returned from the locker room and dominated the third quarter and before it was over led 35-26. A highlight came in the final seconds of the quarter, as Reviere came up with a steal and hit Jarett Shinault with a pass for an easy layup right before the buzzer.

Overall, the hosts got six third-quarter points from Shinault, as well as four from McJunkin and two each from Ryan Oakley and Jake Barann.

A quick bucket from Matthews early in the fourth quarter cut the Allen Park lead to seven, but two points from Reviere and Slate’s three pointer put the Jags up by 12, their biggest lead of the contest.

Two points from Hodnicki then kicked off the Titans’ stretch of 11 unanswered points, but ultimately it wasn’t enough and Allen Park walked off with the slim 43-41 win.

The Jags are in action again tonight as they will make a short trip across town to take on fellow Allen Parkers Inter-City Baptist in a nonleague game. Anderson won’t see action again until Tuesday, when the team will welcome in Roosevelt for a DRL battle.

Last Updated: 12/13/2013 12:35:27 PM EST

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