Boys Basketball – Jack McGuire’s Late Basket Bails Out CBA vs. Donovan Catholic
MIDDLETOWN - After his team lost the Shore Conference Tournament final in devastating fashion on Saturday, the last thing Christian Brothers Academy coach Geoff Billet wanted for his players was time to sit on the loss.
Throw in a South Jersey Non-Public A quarterfinal opponent in seventh-seeded Donovan Catholic that Billet expected to challenge his Colts, and he was not surprised that his uneasiness before the game hadn't left his gut by the final minute of play Friday at Christian Brothers Academy.
In the end, however, the second-seeded Colts overcame a five-day layoff and a game Griffins team to pull out a 49-43 win and advance to Monday's sectional semifinals against No. 3 St. Augustine, which will tip at 5 p.m. at CBA.
"As a coach, regardless if we won or lost on Saturday, you're always nervous about this first state tournament game," Billet said. "If you win, you're trying to bring the guys down off the high so they can prepare and if you lose, you just want to get back on the court for a game so it's not lingering."
Senior Jack McGuire played the role of hero on Friday, coming up with a steal and the go-ahead basket to break a 43-43 tie with 34 seconds left. After Griffins senior Riley Collins missed a baseline fadeaway on the ensuing Donovan Catholic possession, McGuire effectively put the game away with a two-handed slam off a long outlet pass from senior Pat Andre with 13 seconds left.
Andree later knocked down a pair of free throws with six seconds left to officially cap off the win.
Donovan Catholic rallied to tie the game at 43 with an 8-0 run during a span of four minutes and had the ball with 1:34 left with a chance to take the lead. The Griffins chewed up nearly a minute and burned a pair of timeouts before McGuire stole the ball on the right baseline, saved it to senior John Salcedo, and banked in a short jumper after getting it back.
"Out of the first timeout, we were going to go to our halfcourt trap, but then I got nervous about that and instead we went to 'fist,' which meant we were going to run a (double-team)," Billet said. "We were going to send (Sam) Houston to double the ball and I think it sped (Donovan Catholic) up a little bit and instead of being able to just handle-handle-pass, it made them go a little quicker. Jack came up with a helluva steal, stayed inbounds and got up the court to finish the play."
McGuire finished with a game-high 20 points and Andree poured in 17, including a pair of free throws in the final seconds to seal the win. Andree also hauled in 12 rebounds and blocked three shots.
McGuire led CBA with 15 points in the SCT final and again led the team in scoring Friday after laboring through much of the SCT battling illness.
"He had a really bad cold and we were just trying to get whatever out of him that he could give us," Billet said. "Against Lakewood (in the SCT quarterfinals), we were worried if he'd even be able to go and he ended giving us some really good minutes coming off the bench."
Collins scored six of the eight points during Donovan's run to tie the game and finished with 10. The Griffins held CBA without a basket for nearly five minutes before McGuire's go-ahead basket in the final minute, with Collins scoring on a floater and two jumpers, including the game-tying shot with 2:30 left. The senior point guard and 1,000-point scorer also assisted a basket by senior center Tyler McShea during the run.
McShea led Donovan Catholic with 12 points and senior Mike Boice added 11 while holding Andree to 5-for-15 shooting as the primary defender against CBA's all-time leading scorer. McShea added nine rebounds for Donovan Catholic.
Donovan Catholic (14-11) used a 9-0 run to take a 13-7 lead during the first quarter and although CBA rallied to take a 20-19 lead in the second quarter, the Griffins answered with five more unanswered points and took a 24-22 lead into the halftime locker room. Boice and senior Kevin Singleton scored seven points apiece in the first half.
CBA (22-5) seized control of the game by scoring the first eight points of the third quarter and led by as many as eight points during the quarter. Andree hit a pair of free throws and a three-pointer during the run, which bookended a lob to McGuire for the layup.
Donovan Catholic cut a 36-28 deficit in half, but Andree answered with a traditional three-point play to push the lead back to 39-32. A putback by McShea pulled Donovan Catholic within 39-34 by the end of the third quarter.
McGuire and Andree each scored inside early in the fourth to push the lead back to eight, 43-35, at which point the Griffins dug in defensively and began to chip away at the Colts lead.
"To be honest, I was hoping Gloucester Catholic beat them the other night," said Billet of Donovan Catholic. "I knew they had a very senior-heavy team and they battled some injuries and lost some tough games this year to the point that I think their record was pretty misleading. The are always well-prepared, well-coached and I know I was expecting this kind of game even if a lot of people thought it might be a little easier."
CBA will now host No. 3 St. Augustine Monday in the sectional semifinals, a rematch of last year's sectional final game - won by CBA, 83-77. St. Augustine defeated CBA on Feb. 6 of this year, 55-52.
Like they are trying to do this year, the Colts overcame a Shore Conference Tournament championship game loss to win the sectional title last year, capped by that win over the Hermits. In that win, Andree and then-senior Jack Laffey combined to shoot 16-for-21 and 11-for-12 from three-point range, with Andree shooting 7-for-7 from behind the three-point line in a 28-point outing.
Andree scored 21 points in this year's meeting as CBA erased a 16-point deficit to pull even with St. Augustine - unbeaten at the time - at 52. Hermits senior guard Sa'eed Nelson would respond with the go-ahead three-point play in the final seconds, leaving CBA with enough time only for a desperation heave by Andree at the buzzer.
"They are really good," Billet said of St. Augustine. "They have four starters back and I really liked the heart we showed down (in Atlantic City) coming back from 16 down and with Pat picking up two fouls in the first two minutes. We weren't playing well, we had a lot of things going against us and to get that game tied with a minute left, our guys showed a lot of character and heart.
"I think they know and I know we know that this should be a pretty darn good high school basketball game."