Bishop Loughlin edges Madison Memorial for third place at the Beach Ball Classic

mmckinnon@thesunnews.comDecember 31, 2013 

Madison's Brett Tauber (44) and Loughlins's (0) Isiah Deas battle for the ball during the Beach Ball Classic third place game.

BY KEITH ALAN JACOBS — For The Sun News

Bishop Loughlin (N.Y.) just wanted to take home some hardware.

Even if it wasn’t a championship.

Jayvian De La Cruz hit a 3-pointer with the score tied and about four minutes left to put the Lions up for good as Bishop Loughlin defeated a shorthanded Madison Memorial (Wis.) squad 68-62 in Tuesday’s third-place game of the Beach Ball Classic.

“It definitely hurts that we lost [in the semifinals],” Lions senior Anthony Vernon said. “But at the end of the day, third-place is better than fourth or no place at all. We’re just glad to bring something back home.”

Said Bishop Loughlin coach Edwin Gonzalez: “It’s always tough when you don’t play for the championship, but my kids did a decent job. We knew we were going up against a tough team but we wanted to go home with some hardware. We saw this as first-place of the consolation round so it made it seem like it was a championship game.”

After De La Cruz’s big shot, Seton Hall commitment Khadeen Carrington made a layup to extend the Lions’ lead to five and Tyreik Sanders made a layup to give Bishop Loughlin a 61-54 lead; the Spartans couldn’t catch up.

Carrington finished with 16 points, Michael Williams poured in a team-high 17 and De La Cruz had 12 for the Lions (6-2).

“That’s huge. He’s done that before,” Gonzalez said of De La Cruz’s shot. “We won another tournament because of his 3-pointer. He’s a good shooter and had a decent game today. I had three guys in double figures, sometimes we get four, but that makes it a lot easier to compete.”

Madison Memorial coach Steve Collins said his team suffered mightily from illness. Tyler Lindquist and Henry Houden didn’t start on Tuesday and the team had several others sit due to illness.

“It wasn’t hard to motivate them, it was hard because we were sick,” Collins said. “I had nine players at practice and had two starters out, basically in bed all day with a fever. So it wasn’t hard to motivate we just weren’t healthy. I thought we competed; I thought it was a great game.”

The Spartans held a big edge on the boards as they outrebounded Bishop Loughlin 42-14. Collins said he believes if his team played as well as it rebounded during the tournament, they could have been playing in the final game.

“I think that kept us in the game. Rebounding is so important,” he said. “We do a couple of other things better, I think we’re playing for the championship.”

Said Gonzalez: “We have to get better on the boards. We’re small; but we’re quick. We’ll be fine; we just have to do a better job on the boards and boxing out. But we’ll work on that.”

The Lions forced 20 turnovers and outscored Madison Memorial 25-11 in points off turnovers.

“That’s huge,” said Gonzalez, whose bench scored 44 points. “That’s our style of play – convert turnovers into points. Our bench is deep too.”

Said Collins: “We’ll get to work. I think part of [turning the ball over] was illness. We had some issues, you can’t turn the ball over like that and expect to win. So we’ll get back to the drawing board when we get back.”

Darral Willis scored a game-high 22 points and had 14 rebounds for Madison Memorial (7-3) and Shareef Smith scored 14.

The Spartans wanted to key on Carrington early, but doing so left other shooters open.

“We were trying to take [Carrington] out of his game and let some other guys shoot,” said Collins, whose team outscored the Lions 46-34 inside the paint. “When you do that, you leave those guys open and they’re all good players so we took some chances. It’s a game of runs and some runs last longer than others. They got that run at the end where they hit a couple and we weren’t able to sustain and come back. I’m happy; we’re a long way from home and we competed every game.”

Madison Memorial was 26-for-49 (53.1 percent) from the field; the Lions shot 50 percent from the field. Bishop Loughlin trailed 30-29 at halftime, but made some adjustments in the second half and outscored the Spartans by seven during the frame to secure the victory.

“I think we did much better as a team and did a good job focusing on what we needed to do,” Vernon said. “I think they really pushed us to play their type of the game, but we held our own. We were very poised and did what we had to do.”

Said Gonzalez: “We only trailed by one at the half and we knew we were in for a dogfight. We came right out in the second half shooting, and we pulled away a little bit.”

Gonzalez said if his team overlooked Madison Memorial, it would have finished on the other end.

“They’re a good team,” he said. “If we took them lightly, we would have came away with a loss.”

Despite his team losing two games in Myrtle Beach, Collins said the Spartans learned a lot during the tournament.

“This is more about the team bonding and spending the week together,” he said. “Our goal is to go back and win our conference championship and make a run in the state playoffs. I told the guys afterwards that this has made us a better team. It definitely points out your weaknesses and probably magnifies them at this stage. So I think that will help us a lot when we get back to Wisconsin.”

Vernon echoed that sentiment.

“It’s a great experience and good competition,” he said. “We can only get better from it.”

•  MADISON MEMORIAL (62) – Reggie Roemer 4, Daurice Fountain 4, Shareef Smith 14, Darral Willis 22, Brett Tauber 4, Tyler Lindquist 14.

•  BISHOP LOUGHLIN (68) – Khadeen Carrington 16, Keith Williams 5, Dominic Grayer 3, Khalil Mohammed 4, Jayvian De La Cruz 12, Michael Williams 17, Anthony Vernon 4, Tyreik Sanders 4, Darius James 3.

•  Halftime: Madison Memorial 30-29. 3-point goals: Madison Memorial 1 (Roemer); Bishop Loughlin 7 (De La Cruz 2, Carrington 1, Williams 1, Grayer 1, Williams 1, James 1). Team fouls: Madison Memorial 13, Bishop Loughlin 13. Fouled out: None. Technical fouls: Bishop Loughlin 1 (Carrington).

•  Records: Madison Memorial 7-3, Bishop Loughlin 6-2.

Contact MAX MCKINNON at 626-0302.

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