Senior forward Tyler Sayre hit a tie-breaking lay-up with 47 seconds remaining to give the Albertus Magnus boys basketball team a lead with it would not relinquish as it beat Pearl River, 53-50, at home Wednesday.
“We knew we just had to attack the rim there and hopefully get to the free throw line,” Sayre said. “We were going up strong all game. We didn’t get the foul call but were just happy it went in.”
The Pirates (11-7) had a few chances to tie it late, but just couldn’t, giving the Falcons (15-2) a sweep of the two-game season series between the rivals.
After Sayre’s lay-up, Pearl River’s Sean Wilson was fouled, but missed the front end of a one-and-one. On the other end, the Pirates fouled Albertus’ James McEntee, who hit just one of two free throws, bringing Albertus’ lead up to three.
The Pirates had the ball at half court down three with 10.6 seconds to go, and Albertus elected to foul instead of let Pearl River try to tie. Pearl River’s Joe Clinton hit both free throws to bring the deficit down to one. Pearl River fouled Albertus’ Jack Sullivan while making sure to stick defenders on the Falcon’s two leading scorers, Sayre and Pat McGuinness. Sullivan hit both free throws to make it a three-point game.
“We’re all good free throw shooters, and we’re just trying to get the ball in bounds,” Sullivan said said. “They took away Pat and Tyler, and then I flashed to the ball was open. It’s just whoever can get the ball, we’re confident in anybody getting the line. Tonight it was me. Tomorrow it can be anybody else.”
With 8.6 seconds to go, Pearl River inbounded underneath its own basket, with Clinton racing up court to the right of the hoop, where Kevin Degnan was standing in the corner. Degnan raced to the top of the key, a little bit behind the three-point line, and Clinton dished it to him. Degnan put up the would-be game-tying shot, but it rimmed in and out of the basket to give Albertus the win.
“I thought it was a deep three. I thought [Degnan] was going away from the basket,” said Albertus Coach Pat McFadden. “We’ll take that any day. We didn’t want him to get a rhythm three, so I was glad that the kid was moving and he might not have been able to square up completely.”
Pearl River Coach Jerry Houston Jr. didn’t get as good a look of where Degnan shot from.
“I couldn’t really calculate the distance that Kevin was off the three-point line. I don’t really have a sense of how deep it was, but I do know that it was close enough for him to get the ball to the basket and it kind of rimmed out on him,” Houston said. “Under the conditions, it was a good look.”
Even with the miss, Degnan led the way for Pearl River with 16 points. Clinton followed with 14 and Tom Davis and Austin O’Toole, the Pirates leading scorer, each had eight each.
For much of the game, O’Toole was guarded by Sullivan.
“He plays a similar style to the way that I play,” Sullivan said of O’Toole. “He’s a shooter and you can kind of see some of the tendencies that he has from stuff you do. It’s tough, so you’ve just go to get out and challenge his shots. He’s a good player and he gave me a tough time.”
The Falcons had four players in double figures, with Sayre and Arnell Dandridge scoring 14, and McGuinness and Sullivan both contributing 10.
“They’re a very difficult team to defend,” Houston said. “You’re dealing with a team that’s really well balanced. It’s kind of tough to plug all the holes, because they really present a lot of matchup problems.”
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