Dec 30, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
In order to claim the title of its own Rosemary Corcoran Holiday Classic, the Bishop Ludden boys basketball team had to not only knock off a Class AA opponent, but a team whose coach was quite familiar with the green surroundings.
The championship game Monday night pitted the Gaelic Knights against Liverpool — whose coach, Jerry Wilcox, won 214 games from 1973 to 1987 as he led Ludden to six Section III titles and a state finals appearance in 1982.
With all that as a backdrop, the game turned out to be an exciting affair, decided in the final seconds as Ludden fell to the Warriors 54-53.
Once leading by as much as 15, the Gaelic Knights watched Liverpool rally and claim the lead in the fourth quarter, setting up an exciting climax.
Down by three, 54-51, Ludden pulled within one when Mark DeAngelis sank a pair of free throws with less than a minute left, and when Omar Osbourne made a steal moments later, the Gaelic Knights had a chance to win.
With two fouls to give, Liverpool used them both. Then, as the clock ticked down, John Rooney, quiet all night, took a jump shot from 15 feet out — only to have the Warriors’ Richard Green block it. In the ensuing scramble, most of the clock ran out, and Liverpool regained possession to clinch victory.
Prior to all this, Ludden played, arguably, its best half of the season, roaring out to a 32-17 lead as DeAngelis struck for 10 second-quarter points (he finished with 17 points to lead both sides) and the defense frustrated Liverpool into all kinds of mistakes.
The Gaelic Knights were still up 40-30 when, late in the third quarter, the Warriors started to come back, taking away inside chances and forcing Ludden into low-percentage shots on one end while pounding it inside on the other end.
Liverpool went on a 20-5 run to grab the lead, only to have Ludden answer with an 8-0 spurt, punctuated by a pair of Tyler Young 3-pointers. Ian Hamm, with six unanswered points, pushed the Warriors back to the lead, setting up the wild finish.
All of Hamm’s 13 points came in the second half, while Jesse Gates also got 13 points to earn tournament MVP honors. Adam Misener added 11 points. On Ludden’s side, Young and Jared Littlejohn each had eight points in support of DeAngelis.
A night earlier, both first-round games had proven to be close ones. Ludden rallied late to beat Markham Prep (Toronto) 54-50, while Liverpool beat St. Joseph’s (Staten Island) 60-55.
Both Ludden and Markham started slow, but the Gaelic Knights sneaked into the lead in the second quarter and still protected a 38-32 cushion with one period left.
Refusing to surrender, Markham fought back and took a 48-47 lead as time wound down. But Tyler Young, who didn’t have a field goal on the night, sank a 3-pointer to push the Gaelic Knights back in front for good, and free throws from Rooney and Littlejohn provided the winning margin.
Dennis Kelly matched Rooney, each of them producing 13 points. Littlejohn and E.J. Beauford earned eight points apiece.
Before that, Liverpool overcame a 25-19 halftime deficit, seizing the lead by the end of the third quarter. The Warriors led by as much as 10, but still needed late free throws from Gates (who had 23 points) and Connor Rogers (who added 13 points) to hang on at the end.
With the loss in the final, Ludden fell to 5-4 as it hid the midway point of its regular-season schedule. It would stay home Tuesday to face East Syracuse-Minoa in its first 2010 action.
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