Only one thing would make the boys basketball "Holy War" between Bishop Ludden and Christian Brothers Academy a must-see affair again -- a Gaelic Knights victory.
This had not occurred in 10 meetings between the two rivals when they gathered again Tuesday night at Buddy Wleklinski Court, and few expected that Ludden, at 9-6, would make the 11-4 Brothers sweat too much on its home court.
However, the Gaelic Knights had a lead early in the fourth quarter and were ready to break the long CBA spell before a late push by the hosts produced an 11th consecutive defeat in the series, this tone by a 48-42 margin.
Pace was important, and Ludden could not afford to speed things up. Thus, it had to be glad with a 9-9 first quarter as both sides probed, but did little to sway.
Then CBA attempted to get away, outscoring the Gaelic Knights 17-6 in the second period. As it went to halftime, Ludden stared at a 26-15 deficit and the prospect of yet another futile effort in a series where it once held the upper hand.
Sensing all this, the Gaelic Knights dominated the third quarter, playing strong defense and hitting on a series of baskets that erased most of CBA's lead. And when Omar Osbourne hit on a basket early in the final period, Ludden led 35-33, and the massive contingent of students that came from Geddes smelled long-awaited deliverance.
Once again, though, the team in purple and gold would prevail, inching back to the lead and getting a huge 3-pointer from Troy Bullock down the stretch to fend off Ludden's last comeback attempt.
Overall, John Rooney had 14 points, while Jared Littlejohn and Corey Hunter each got eight points and Osbourne earned six points. On CBA's side, Tbulloc had 16 points, while Jameel Balenton had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Greg Thomson added nine points and 15 boards.
The good news was that Ludden returned home Friday night. The bad news was that two-time defending state Class A champion Jamesville-DeWitt, with its 15-0 record and no. 1 state ranking, was waiting.