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.