Fenwick received contributions from a number of guys, especially in the full-court press, as the team was able to generate some easy offense off turnovers. Luoni in particular had the hustle play of the night when he dove to save a ball that eventually ended up in the hands of Rishad De Silva, who dished it to Olivera for the big 3-pointer.
Considering Triton is just 3-8 on the season the Crusaders would have liked a more comfortable result, but still the team showed poise not crumbling on the big stage.
“All of them, they all turned it around,” Preziosa said praising his players. “We had our foot in a bear trap but we got out of it.”
The Eagles (10-2), meanwhile, never found their shooting stoke. The team failed to convert from long distance during the game and shot poorly from the free-throw line, hitting just around 50 percent of their freebies.
Still, St. John’s Prep was in position to win, leading by a bucket with two minutes to play. But the Eagles uncharacteristically stopped rebounding the ball on the defensive end. The Raiders’ (9-3) Malik Rochelle tied the game on a put-back before Aidan James did the exact same thing for what proved to be the game-winner with 26 seconds left.
“Rebounding is something we normally take pride in and we didn’t get the rebounds we needed down the stretch,” admitted Prep head coach John Dullea. “We were pretty good defensively and we got them in some looks we wanted, but we couldn’t get the rebound.”
Burt had two different looks to tie or win the game but he couldn’t get either to fall. The senior guard off-set a rough shooting night by showing some skill driving to the basket.
On the final play, with just over a second left, the Eagles ran a side-out play for Burt (13 points) who took a tough, 3-pointer falling to the sideline. The ball nearly went all the way down before popping back out to the delight of the Raiders.