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Catholic Hangs On To Beat Game McCarrick
By Greg Machos
March 9, 2010
JACKSON, NJ--Coming into Tuesday night's matchup between Cardinal McCarrick and Trenton Catholic in the Non-Public B South Championship Game at Jackson Liberty High School, some might have not given the Eagles much of a chance. The defending champion, Iron Mikes defeated McCarrick by a 70-51 margin, and had several key players returning from that team including Khalid Lewis-El, Frantz Massanet, and Dondre Whitmore while the Eagles lost four starters including GMC Hoops Player of the Year, Julio Rosario. However, two players from that team including the lone starter, and a group of several other talented players made sure that Cardy Mac didn't go down without a fight.
Senior Mo Isaac, who had a monster triple-double in the 45-34 victory over second seeded Gloucester Catholic in the semifiinals, had 10 points, 12 rebounds, 8 blocks, and a charge while fellow senior, Craig Thomas also scored 10 points while collecting 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 charges, and a steal. Junior Charlie Gorman scored all of his team high 15 points in the first half, and ended up shooting 6 of 11 from the floor including three of seven from beyond the arc while also picking up two assists and two steals. Sophomore Dana Raysor also contributed with 13 points, 6 rebounds, and a charge. However, it wasn't enough as sophomore Brandon Taylor made 5 of 11 shots from the floor, and five of seven from the line for 15 points along with 9 rebounds while Markese Tucker chipped in with 12 points and 8 rebounds to lead Trenton Catholic to its third straight sectional championship in a 62-53 victory.
The Eagles came out swinging by shooting 13 of 23 from the floor in the first half en route to a 34-30 halftime lead, but was limited to 8 of 28 from the field in the second half while being outscored 32-19 over the final two periods. The Iron Mikes, which have defeated the Eagles three out of the past four years in the Non-Public B South State Tourney, didn't have as big a run to start the third as it did last year, but it was enough to give them control of the game for good despite the Eagles staying as close as one point early in the fourth quarter. Trenton Catholic opened the third period with a 13-5 run as Whitmore, who scored only four points in the first half, keyed the run with a three pointer for a 41-39 lead at the 4:30 mark, and two free throws at the 4:16 mark for a four point edge. Whitmore ended up with 10 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals.
For the game, Cardinal McCarrick went 21 of 51 from the floor for 41 percent including 4 of 14 from three point range while Trenton Catholic went 19 of 53 from the floor for 36 percent including 3 of 10 from long range. However, a key difference was at the foul line where the Iron Mikes went 21 of 31 from the charity stripe while the Eagles were only 7 of 10. In other statistical areas, TCA won the turnover battle (7-11), got the edge in total rebounds (34-33), and had more steals (6-3) while McCarrick had more assists (10-9), blocks (8-3), and charges (4-0). Each team outscored the other in two of the four periods played. Trenton Catholic went 11 of 29 from the floor in the first half, and went 8 of 24 in the second half, but made 15 of 19 from the foul line over the final two periods to secure the victory.
In the opening period, Cardy Mac went 8 of 13 from the floor, and only made two turnovers as Gorman connected on four of six from the field including a three pointer for 9 points while Isaac made three of four shots for 6 points and 5 rebounds. While they shot well, the Eagles also caused some frustration for the Iron Mikes by limiting them to just 6 of 17 shooting from the field. Trenton Catholic actually led 15-8 midway through the first, but McCarrick then closed out the frame with a 9-0 run for a 17-15 lead. TCA jumped out to an 8-4 lead over the first 1:43 as Taylor scored five points including a three point play, and Whitmore netted the first of his two threes on the game before the Eagles called for a 30 second timeout at the 6:17 mark. Moments later, Whitmore got a rebound and passed upcourt to Lewis-El for a layup as he was fouled by Jeremy Cruz (3 points, a rebound, and an assist) for his second personal of the game at the 6:03 mark.
Chaz Patterson then connected on a three pointer from the right wing at the 4:32 mark for a 13-6 lead. Both teams then exchanged baskets for the 15-8 TCA lead before the Eagles closed with a flourish. McCarrick scored the final nine points of the period including a layup and three pointer by Gorman for the two point edge heading into the second. Tucker opened the second quarter with one of two from the line, and then an offensive rebound and follow for a unconventional three point play, and an 18-17 lead at the 7:35 mark. The Eagles took the lead back though with four straight points consisting of an Isaac layin off a feed by Gorman, and a score by Thomas before Tucker made one of two from the line for a 21-18 lead with 6:15 to go in the first half. Trenton Catholic then scored four more points including two more foul shots by Tucker for a 22-21 lead at the 5:13 mark.
Raysor, a Trenton native, gave the Eagles the led back with a hard fought drive for a layup, and a 23-22 score at the 4:45 mark. Raysor then got another scoring opportunity as Thomas got him the ball, and he drew a foul that resulted in one of two foul shots for a 24-22 lead at the 3:38 mark. Thomas then passed to Gorman for a three pointer, and a 27-22 lead with 2:55 to play in the half. Massenet then made one of two from the line, and Ronnie Paden swiped a steal for a layup, and a three point play that closed the gap to 27-26 with 1:50 to go in the half. The Iron Mikes then took the lead with another score at the 1:04 mark before Gorman sank another three, Raysor made two free throws at the 31.9 second mark, and Thomas netted a pair himself with 18.5 seconds to go in the half for a 34-30 lead at the intermission. Gorman was 6 of 9 from the floor including three of five from three for his team high 15 points while Isaac chipped in with 8 points and 7 rebounds.
Meanwhile, Trenton Catholic's big three of Whitmore, Massenet, and Lewis-El had just 10 points on 4 of 12 shooting. Taylor and Tucker carried the Iron Mikes though with seven points each while the latter added seven boards. McCarrick was a collective 3 of 8 from the floor outside of Gorman and Thomas while Trenton Catholic was 7 of 17 from the field outside of Whitmore, Massenet, and Lewis-El. TCA went on its key run to get back into the game and take the lead at the beginning of the third for a four point lead. However, the Iron Mikes sabotaged the momentum though as Lewis-El got into an exchange of words with some of the McCarrick players including Isaac that brought about a technical foul, and two free throws by Raysor at the 4:16 mark for a 43-41 score. Trenton Catholic continued to lead at 45-43 with 2:53 to play, but moments later, Raysor drew a charge, and then Massenet drew his fourth foul at the 2:43 mark. Raysor then scored to tie the game up at 45-45, and Isaac drew a charge at the 2:06 mark.
Patterson then got a score, and Tucker netted two foul shots for a 49-45 lead at the 1:21 mark. Despite having Lewis-El and Massenet on the bench with four fouls, TCA, led by Whitmore's seven points, managed to scrap back for a four point lead heading into the final period. The fourth started out with a 6-3 run over the first 2:51 by the Eagles, but the Iron Mikes pulled away by making 7 of 10 from the line over a span of 4:22 for a six point lead with 17.3 seconds left, and eventually won by nine. The fourth began with Cruz passing to Raysor for a layup that closed the gap to 49-47 with 7:38 remaining. Trenton Catholic would get a score to go back up by four before Jumanne McDaniel (2 points and a rebound) scored his only points of the game on an offensive rebound and follow to pull McCarrick within two at 51-49 as the Eagles called for time with 6:50 to go.
Following the timeout, Trenton Catholic went up by three as Tucker made one of two at the line after being fouled by McDaniel (fouled out) at the 6:28 mark. Thomas picked up his fourth foul at the 5:55 mark, but pulled the Eagles within one as he grabbed a rebound, drove upcourt, and scored on a floater that made the score 52-51 with 5:09 to play. It would be the Eagles last score for almost five minutes. During a stretch of 4:52, Trenton Catholic scored seven straight points including two free throws by Taylor at the 4:39 mark, two foul shots by Massenet at the 3:05 mark, and two free throws by Lewis-El with 56.6 seconds left. Cardinal McCarrick had chances to stay close, and perhaps pull it out in the end, but couldn't get shots to fall. Two opportunities that typified the span was a steal by Raysor, and a drove for a layup attempt that missed at the 1:56 mark, and then a missed three by Raysor with under a minute to go.
The Iron Mikes went on to win by a score of 62-53, and secured its third straight Non-Public B state finals berth on Saturday at the Ritacco Center where it will take on Non-Public B North champion, St. Anthony's. The victory improved TCA's record to 25-3 on the season while Cardinal McCarrick finished its season at 17-11. Analysis will be forthcoming in the blog.
Trenton Catholic (25-3)
Cardinal McCarrick (17-11)
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