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St. Francis locks up spot in CL playoffs

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St. Francis' Storm Stanley puts up a shot before Clay's Stefan Gaskins, right, can get to him. Stanley scored 13 points. <BR> <img src=http://www.toledoblade.com/graphics/icons/photo.gif> <font color=red><b>VIEW</font color=red></b>: <a href="/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Avis=TO&Dato=20100220&Kategori=SPORTS12&Lopenr=220009998&Ref=PH" target="_blank "><b> St. Francis - Clay boys basketball photo gallery</b></a>

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A long-range shooting exhibition took place at St. Francis de Sales last night.

The host Knights drained 9 of 16 3-point attempts on their way to posting a 73-34 drubbing of Clay in a City League basketball game.

Kent Goldsmith swished four 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 17 points to lead St. Francis, which secured a spot in the City League tournament.

St. Francis will take on St. John's Jesuit Tuesday at Savage Arena. Central Catholic will play Whitmer in the other semifinal.

Brandon Focht pumped in 15 points, including three 3-pointers, while Storm Stanley provided 13 points, five blocks, and four rebounds.

Jordan Wamer led Clay with eight points, while Ross Achter and Austin Achter provided seven apiece.

"It was special for all five of the seniors," said Goldsmith about the Knights' final home game on Senior Night. "We wanted to come out and send a message."

The Knights certainly accomplished that by opening the game with a 13-3 run that included a pair of Goldsmith 3-pointers. They closed the opening quarter with a 17-7 edge and rode the momentum right through the half.

St. Francis led by 17 points after opening the second period with a

7-0 run that was capped by a Stanley basket from close range to give St. Francis a 24-7 lead with 4:40 remaining in the first half.

Goldsmith had 12 points and Stanley nine by halftime to help the Knights take a comfortable 36-20 lead into the break.

St. Francis coach Nick Lowe said the Eagles' attempt to pack it in against Stanley, a 6-11 senior post, led to outside shooting opportunities for the Knights, who entered the game shooting just over 38 percent from 3-point range for the season.

"We normally shoot it pretty good," Lowe said. "Nine of 16 [from 3-point range], we'll take that any night. We shot it extremely well tonight."

The rout continued after halftime, with the Knights outscoring the Eagles 21-7 in the third quarter to take a 57-27 advantage into the final quarter. The Knights sank four 3-pointers during the quarter, including two by Focht, a senior guard.

"It's pretty special," said Focht of the final home win. "We went out there and performed well and got a win.

"We just wanted to come out and get a W."

Taking care of Clay allows the Knights to play in the City League tournament and a chance to finish the season on an even higher note.

"One of our goals to start the season was to make the [City League] final four," Lowe said. "When you can make the final four in a league like we have, as competitive as ours is, that's a credit to us.

"We have other goals that we want to achieve that are bigger and better than making the final four, but there are a lot of teams that would trade places with us right now."

As far as facing the rival Titans, Lowe expects an exciting matchup.

"It's going to be a good crowd and a good atmosphere," he said. "Anytime St. Francis and St. John's meet in anything it's going to be tough."

Contact Donald Emmons at:

demmons@theblade.com

or 419-724-6302.

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