Paul Gilvary was leaving nothing to chance.
When his Holy Cross players broke from the huddle, they didn’t go far. Up four points after a Bishop Loughlin timeout with 1.7 seconds remaining in the game, all five Knights players stood a few feet from their bench. They watched as Lions guard Michael Williams ended the contest with an uncontested 3-pointer that had no bearing on the outcome.
“It was kind of fool proof,” Gilvary said. “The game had to end on whatever that shot was and there is no four-point shot.”
He was in position to make that call because his Knights showed extreme poise down the stretch and escaped Fort Greene with a 61-60 win over Bishop Loughlin in CHSAA Class AA boys basketball Tuesday night.
Holy Cross (15-3, 6-1 ‘AA’) saw a 12-point third quarter lead evaporate and Loughlin (8-6, 3-3) clawed its way back, taking two one-point leads in the fourth. The Queens school never flinched, making all the necessary plays on both ends to pull out the win.
“We knew they were going to put up a fight,” guard Terrell Williams said. “They weren’t just going to lay down. We had to stay strong.”
Loughlin tied the score at 57 on a Khadeen Carrington layup with 1:22 left to play. Cross went ahead for good when Williams, who had 10 points and nine rebounds, screened and moved in position for a rebound in the paint. He ended up being wide open and was fed by Anthony Libroia for an easy layup. Will Davis, who also led the way with 22 points, took a key charge on Khadeen Carrington (17 points). Loughlin coach Ed Gonzalez believed he flopped, but the referee thought otherwise.
“He likes to drive left,” Davis said. “I just moved my feet to try to get in front of him.”
“He can help you win games in a lot of ways,” Gilvary added of Davis. “Tonight he certainly did that.”
Holy Cross turned the ball over right back, but Williams was able to poke the ball away from Williams (22 points) on a breakaway to save two points. After a missed 3-pointer from Elisha Boone, Libroia made two free throws to make the Knights 8-for-8 in the fourth and give them a 61-57 lead with 12 seconds remaining.
It was a game decided on the backboards. Holy Cross won the battle in the first half. It went on an 11-2 second quarter run behind Davis and Eddie Roscigno, who hauled in 11 rebounds, to grab a 31-19 lead with 3:42 left before the break, despite Marquise Moore missing the game with a toe injury and Libroia on the bench with foul trouble.
The Knights held a 47-38 advantage after three, but forward Mairega Clarke went to the bench with foul woes. Loughlin took advantage, pounding the ball into the post and getting out in transition behind Carrington and Boone to rip off a 14-4 spurt that gave them a 52-51 advantage with 2:58 remaining in the contest.
“We have to learn how to not get ourselves in a deficit like we do and try to come back,” Gonzalez said. “We exhaust too much energy that way.”
Holy Cross kept itself from having to expend any energy in the final seconds with a victory finally assured. The players were a little taken aback when Gilvary told them to stay where they were, but knew the unorthodox move was the correct one.
“I was a little surprised, but I know he has a lot of tricks he pulls,” Davis said. “I knew he was going to do something.”