Vault’s run ends with title

By Dan Isenberg

For the Mirror

Second-seeded Comic’s Vault’s run to the championship game was something straight out of a comic book or a made-for-tv movie.

After losing the first game of the season, Comic’s Vault won its next 12 games, including the playoffs, to make it to Tuesday’s final against the No. 5 seed, Shoot for the Cause. By capitalizing on turnovers and passing miscues, it won the Division 5 championship of the Central Blair Recreation Mansion Park Summer Basketball League, 51-35.

Vault broke open the offense following an opening standoff where neither team was able to land a shot. Then, three buckets for Vault’s high scorer, Marquise Miller, who finished with a team-high 15 points, including eight in the first half and six in that opening sequence, got things going.

Mixing that with a flurry of ball-handling mistakes and turnovers from Shoot for the Cause, Miller said that kind of defensive pressure is something the team has worked on since that first loss.

“That’s something we do ever since the first game is put pressure on them and get out on a run, so we got the advantage doing that,” Miller said.

John Kantoski carried the offense for Shoot for the Cause, leading the game with 16 points, including a 3-pointer off an inbounds play in the final minute of the first half. He said that he’s happy that his team was able to get there, knowing they were helping out a good cause.

“I was talking to Dan (McCaulley) who put this team together. Shooting for the Cause … autism awareness. It’s the first time we made it here,” Kantoski said. “You can’t be upset about that.”

Miller said he and his team are already excited for next season, and a chance to defend their championship.

“We want to improve. We only lost one game this year so next year we’re trying to run the table,” Miller said.

Comic’s Vault finished the season 13-1 while Shoot for the Cause ends the year at 9-5.

COMIC’S VAULT (51): Miksich 2, Ball 11, Miller 15, Kauffman 2, Wansley 10, Block 6.

SHOOT FOR THE CAUSE (35): McClain 1, Finochio 2, J. Kantoski 16, Hagans 8, Tetanich 2, D. McCaulley 3, B. McCaulley 2.

Halftime: Comic’s Vault, 22-16.

3-point goals: Comic’s Vault 3 (Ball 3); Shoot for the Cause 4 (J. Kantoski, Hagans 2, McCaulley).