Cards fall in hoop final
Friday, March 22, 2013
DURHAM – If the members of the Bishop Guertin boys basketball team decide to gather in the next few days and play a pick-up game at some local gym, one thing is guaranteed. They’ll go into the game as underdogs.
It’s been that way all season for the Cardinals, but on Saturday, in the Division I final at the University of New Hampshire’s Lundholm Gymnasium, they trailed No. 1 Trinity by two points.
The Cardinals were forced to foul to get the ball back, Trinity hit the shots, and BG dropped a 50-46 decision. But what a run for a seventh seed, whose path to the final included victories over No. 2 Manchester Central and No. 3 Spaulding of Rochester.
Not bad for a team picked to finish out of the top 10 by just about everyone in the preseason.
“Everyone just stepped up,” said senior Steven Toscano. “The freshmen didn’t play like freshmen, the sophomores didn’t play like sophomores, we just all came together.”
And it was almost enough. The Cardinals never led in the second half, but fought back from a nine-point deficit early in the third quarter to get within two. Then, down seven with 3:04 left, they got within two on a Jeff Lunn layup with 26 seconds remaining.
Lunn, who battled foul trouble for most of the tournament, had 15 points and six rebounds in his final game. He also helped BG hold Trinity senior center Mabor Gabriel to just six points and nine rebounds, far below his average in each.
But the player BG couldn’t find anyone to match up against, and the obvious tournament MVP, was Trinity junior Carmen Giampetruzzi, who finished with a game-high 18 points and 13 rebounds.
“Carmen is a great player and a tough kid,” said Bishop Guertin coach Jim Migneault. “Our kids played him tough and defensively. We did a good job overall, holding them to 50.”
What the Cardinals couldn’t expect is Trinity reserve guard Brad Rhoades, who averaged barely a basket coming into the game, coming off the bench to score 10 points, or Patrick Keefe hitting a half-court heave to end the third quarter, turning a three-point deficit into six.
Toscano was slowed by a badly sprained ankle and was limited to just four points, but still logged 31 minutes. Sophomore Kyle Gavin had 10 points, while freshman guard Jack Zimmerman and junior forward Joseph Maradola had six each for the Cardinals.
“They are a team that’s going to be reckoned with,” said Trinity coach Dave Keefe, whose loses only Mabor among his top six. “They have a passionate coach and kids who have bought into the system. They gave us all we could handle.”
The Cardinals made a decision to get the ball in Lunn’s hands more in the second half, and he nearly shot them back in the game, scoring 11 of his 15 points in the second half.
“I was pretty optimistic coming into the season,” Lunn said, “playing summer league with these kids and seeing what they could do.
“I thought we could go pretty far, but probably not this far.”
And there they were, underdogs from Day One, down two with 26 left in a title game.