Not only was the Bishop Ludden boys basketball team seeking to repeat as champions of its own Rosemary Corcoran Holiday Tournament, it also was after a major career milestone.
Should the Gaelic Knights prevail in the tournament, Pat Donnelly, the team's head coach since 1987, would own 400 career victories.
When it was done, though, Donnelly remained stuck at 399 wins. Ludden easily handled St. Paul, from Niagara Falls, Ontario, 64-42 in the opener, but lost the final to St. Peter's (Staten Island) in a tight 54-50 contest.
Many Ludden alumni were on hand for what proved to be a memorable weekend at the tournament named in honor of Rosemary Corcoran, the school's late cheerleading coach.
Prior to Saturday night's opening-round game, the Gaelic Knights officially dedicated its 2008-09 season to Wes Valentine, the 2007 graduate who lost his life on Feb. 1. Valentine's parents were on hand to dedicate a plaque in his honor that will be placed on permanent display in the lobby outside the gymnasium.
From there, Ludden went on to handle St. Paul to give Donnelly win no. 399. They were tied, 11-11, after one period, but the Gaelic Knights used a 9-0 run at the start of the second quarter to go in front, then had a 12-2 third-quarter outburst to put it away.
Rick Montgomery poured in 19 points, setting a strong pace. John Rooney had 10 points, while Frank Smith and Jared Littlejohn earned seven points apiece. Omar Osbourne and Kevin Bullock each got six points.
Earlier, St. Peter's had ripped Central Square 70-37 in the other opening-round game. Though 3-0, the Red Hawks had not played in two weeks, and the rust showed as it got just 10 points in the first half and never recovered.
Central Square recovered to beat St. Paul 62-34 in Sunday's consolation game, setting up the final. By far, Ludden's biggest challenge was figuring out how to contain St. Peter's star player, O.D. Anosike, a 6-8 center going to Siena College next fall.