Berkeley Carroll sees historic season end short of a state title

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Berkeley Carroll’s historic season fell one win short of its ultimate goal.

The second-seeded Lions failed to execute in the final minutes and endured a heartbreaking 73–70 loss to No. 1 Rye Country Day in the New York State Association of Independent Schools Class C boys’ basketball final at Fieldston last Sunday. The defeat ends a year in which Berkeley Carroll — playing without star Kashaun Hicks since December because of a broken fibula — won its first league title and reached the championship game for the first time ever.

“We made school history which feels good, but it’s bittersweet,” said senior guard Will Regan.

Berkeley Carroll (19–6) trailed 69–68 after a layup by Eugene Clark with 48 seconds left in the game. Regan missed a layup in traffic off a steal, but the Lions squad was still able to go up 70–69 on a Jimmy Counsil bucket with 23 ticks remaining.

But Rye (17–9) did what it needed to do to win after that.

Rye’s Allen Green, who scored 17 points, converted a tough drive to put his team up for good with 12 seconds left. Berkeley Carroll senior guard Shane Pearley, who was superb all night, dribbled the ball out of bounds off his foot while being hounded by two defenders. The Lions did get a chance to send the game into overtime after two Green free throws made it 73–70, but Ryan Hubbs’s three-pointer at the buzzer was tipped by Rye’s Tyler Fernandez and fell short.

Fernandez was a thorn in Berkeley Carroll’s side all afternoon. The senior scored a game-high 32 points, including five three-pointers. He hit tough shots, big shots, and was a pest on defense. One of his treys helped the hot-shooting Wildcats take a 56–48 lead with 1:10 left to play in the third.

Lions coach Carmine Giovino felt his team did the best they could on defense, but Rye was hitting from way out.

“A lot of times we had hands in their face, or we were there to close out or they were in a position where 99 percent of the time we say leave that guy out there,” said Giovino.

Berkeley Carroll’s seniors were able to will their team back into the game early in the fourth. Pearley scored 18 of his 24 points in the second half. The sharp-shooting Regan scored 13 points. The junior Clark had 12 and Council, a sophomore, added 10.

Berkeley Carroll never stopped fighting to gain the victory and the emotions poured out of them after the final buzzer. Pearly collapsed to a crouch on the court as Rye celebrated behind him, and his teammates watched all their valiant efforts come to an end.

“It’s really tough,” Regan said. “We worked hard all season and it all comes down to that. It hurts. It hurts a lot.”

Still, their coach couldn’t have been prouder of all his team accomplished.

“Their effort was 100 percent, which is all we ask of them,” Giovino said. “They played really hard right to the end. It just wasn’t the result we were looking for.”

Reach reporter Joseph Staszewski at Follow him on twitter @cng_staszewski.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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