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Lions claw past St. Raymond

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Marquis Nowell’s night mirrored his team’s — a slow start, followed by a explosive finish.

The Bishop Loughlin point guard’s performance helped erase an 11-point, fourth-quarter deficit and lead the Loughlin boys’ basketball team to an emotional 89–84 win over St. Raymond in front of a raucous, standing-room only crowd in Fort Greene on Jan. 22. Nowell spent the second quarter on the bench after picking up two fouls, and he struggled in the third before flourishing the fourth. The rocky start threw off Nowell’s game, but he composed himself in the nick of time, a teammate said.

“Marquis, he [usually] starts off hot, but today he picked up the two fouls and it hurt him,” Lions junior Keith Williams said. “He tried to force shot in the second half. All he had to do is just stay composed and the game would come.”

Loughlin (12–3, 8–1) trailed 74–63 after three quarters before out-scoring the Ravens 26–10 in the fourth. Williams (27 points, 12 rebounds) started the rally with consecutive threes, and Nowell took it from there.

“I was just trying to make as many plays as possible for my team to win,” Nowell said. “I made that happen today.”

The sophomore guard, who recently picked up a scholarship offer from Virginia Commonwealth University, scored the next three points after consecutive steals to cut the lead to one. The Ravens’s Sidney Wilson completed a three-point play, but Loughlin didn’t blink.

Nowell tied the score on a jumper, then fed Jordan Thomas (14 points) for a transition layup to put Loughlin ahead, and then and made two free throws to push the Loughlin’s lead to 85–81 with 44.4 seconds left in the game.

St. Raymond’s (10–7, 7–3) Isaiah Washington sunk a three — the team’s only score in the last four minutes — but Nowell responded, finding Idan Tretout for a score, and the Lions never looked back. Williams made two free throws late to put the game away.

It was the squad’s third comeback victory over one of New York’s top teams after rallying past Long Island Lutheran and Christ the King earlier this year.

The match-up was a potential playoff preview — both teams are leaders in their respective diocese. Loughlin needed to win keep pace with Archbishop Molloy in the race for first place in Brooklyn-Queens.

Still, the game’s ups and downs didn’t faze Loughlin — they’ve always been comeback kids, Wiliams said.

“We are a second-half team,” he said. “We can always be down by 10, by big numbers and we always just win.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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