However they are termed, the rivalries Christian Brothers Academy and Bishop Grimes and have against Bishop Ludden are quite real, and both would find success.
And it culminated Friday night with the Brothers finally getting the best of the Gaelic Knights in the “Holy War”, a 56-50 victory at Buddy Wleklinski Court that ended the program’s longest-ever drought in this series.
Not since Dec. 11, 2011 had the Brothers beaten Ludden, and that Gaelic Knights team eventually won a state Class B title. An entire group of players had grown up in the CBA program never knowing the singular satisfaction of beating its rivals in green.
Having won four of five going into the game, the Brothers’ defense was superb early, especially after going out in front. Already up 17-10, it limited the Gaelic Knights to just four points in the second quarter
CBA maintained its solid lead into the fourth quarter when, trailing 38-28, Ludden made a belated push, only to have the Brothers answer it and record, by far, its most satisfying win of the season.
Nick Valenti led all scorers with 23 points, including three 3-pointers. Dan Melvin got 11 points, with Dan Anderson adding 10 points and Sam Haas eight points. Though Ludden was well-balanced, no one had more than the 12 points put up by Tyler Webster.
Before all this, it was Grimes against Ludden last Tuesday night, a rematch of the 56-45 defeat the Cobras took at home on Jan. 27. Just like CBA would, Grimes got even, topping the Gaelic Knights 71-53.
Unlike that first game, Grimes was able to hit shots early and played tremendous defense while gaining a 17-7 edge by the end of the first quarter. And it didn’t panic when Ludden answered with a big second period and took a 29-26 lead to the half.
Instead, the third quarter saw the Cobras pummel the Gaelic Knights on both ends, and it kept going until it had outscored Ludden 29-9 in that period, and T.J. Bradford had much to do with it.
Hampered by foul trouble in the first meeting, Bradford wasn’t quiet here, leading both sides with 28 points. Meanwhile, David Mo was earning 16 points and Nate Gay added 12 points. In defeat, Champ Reid led the Gaelic Knights with 14 points.
Grimes arrived at Ludden having won three times since falling to the Gaelic Knights on Jan. 27, including a 63-49 win over St. Francis (Buffalo), a rescheduling of one of the games lost when the MLK Tournament got snowed out.
The Cobras overcame a sluggish first half against St. Francis and, trailing 22-16, took over in the third quarter and pulled away late Bradford Mo each hit 10 free throws as Bradford got 20 points and Mo had 19 points, with Gay contributing 13 points.
CBA also had a strong win last Tuesday, taking out Syracuse Academy of Science 53-43. Again, it was due to its defense, which kept the Brothers in the game during a close, low-scoring first half.
Then CBA outscored the Atoms 14-7 in the third quarter and moved ahead for good, adding to that margin late as Valenti poured in 21 points, helped by Anderson (11 points) and Haas).
Manlius-Pebble Hill had its own private-school rivalry to contend with last Monday when it visited Faith Heritage, but just like the first time they met in early December, the Saints got the best of it, handling the Trojans 77-49.
Building a 42-21 halftime margin, Faith Heritage had Aiden Retzos amass 29 points and Gio Oliver add 24 points, the duo outscoring MPH by themselves as Kendale Thompson got held to 13 points, with Alex Abrams getting 13 points and Grant Lewis nine points.
Hosting LaFayette two nights later, MPH again struggled in a 63-39 defeat to the Lancers, who backed up its 14-2 record by getting double-doubles from Reid Jackowski (17 points, 10 steals) and Dylan Lyons (14 points, 13 rebounds), plus 16 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and six steals from Isaac Dow.
All of this helped LaFayette build a 33-13 halftime advantage, MPH seeing Thompson score 24 points and Matt Ficano add eight points, but the rest of the roster held to just three field goals.
On Friday, the Trojans were at Fabius-Pompey, and with superb defense down the stretch, MPH prevailed 53-52 as it gradually fought back from a 32-23 halftime deficit led by Thompson, who had 21 points, and Lewis, who got 14 points.
The Trojans held the Falcons to just five points in the fourth quarter and was tough right to the end. With 4.5 seconds left, F-P still had a chance to win, but strong Trojans defense forced a Nick Scanlon shot that fell well off target.