Ram cagers top Panthers to halt skid

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 24 January 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Cheryl Wertman – Roy-Hart’s Andy Xapsos (0) puts up a shot against Newfane defender Chad Gilson (15) during the Rams win over the visiting Panthers this afternoon.

Snapping a five league game losing streak, Roy-Hart used a big second quarter scoring burst to key a 63-53 victory over visiting Newfane this afternoon in a Niagara-Orleans makeup contest.

Andy Xapsos poured in a game high 25 points to lead the way for Roy-Hart. Sam White added 9, Justin Heschke and Chis Anderson 8 each, Ben Maynard 6 and Nelson Andrade 4 for the Rams.

Kyle Burdick scored 17 to pace Newfane as Kyle Guerriera and Chad Gilson both netted 8 and Max Weber 6.

Up 14-12 at the end of a sea-saw first quarter (seven lead changes), Newfane boosted its advantage to 10, 22-12, at the outset of the second period as back-to-back layups off turnovers by Sam Watkins capped a 8-0 Panther run.

However, Roy-Hart answered right back with what proved to be a decisive 20-0 scoring explosion to move into the lead for good at 32-22.

Xapsos erupted for 10 quick points on a three, a three-point play and a pair of buckets off turnovers, to lead that Rams uprising which also included a three by Andrade, a pair of baskets from close range by Anderson and a jumper by Heschke.

Newfane did rally back to within two, 32-30, at the outset of the third period after a layup off a steal by Burdick but the Panthers would get no closer.

Roy-Hart again answered right back, this time with 15-8 run, to close the period and open up a nine point, 47-38, lead at the three-quarter mark.

Roy-Hart’s Justin Heschke (15) fights for a rebound with Newfane’s Max Weber (10).

Back-to-back layups by Heschke and Xapsos capped off that uprising which also included a pair of baskets by White, a three by Maynard and a three-point play by Xapsos.

Newfane did come battling back again in the final stanza as the Panther used a 12-4 run to cut the deficit to five, 55-50, with 2:30 remaining. Gilson had a layup and three free throws, Weber a three and Guerriera a jumper to key that rally.

Roy-Hart though turned back that final challenge as a rebound bucket and two free throws by White, along with four free throws by Xapsos, put a lock on the Rams victory. The six free throws all came in the final 30 seconds.

The Rams and Panthers are now both 2-5 at the halfway point of the N-O season.