Youth is served: Lions claw Cross

On a night Holy Cross honored its seniors, it was the Bishop Loughlin freshmen who helped the Lions celebrate a 68-64 victory in both team’s regular-season finale at William J. O’Meara Gymnasium on Feb. 15.

Khadeen Carrington had 16 points and four rebounds and Elisha Boone added 10 points and five boards. They are two of three freshmen on the varsity and 20 total on the Lions three levels.

Yes, the future in Fort Greene is bright.

“They are understanding the Catholic high school league better now,” Bishop Loughlin coach Ed Gonzalez said. “The good thing is that they’re freshmen and they’ll be sophomores next year. And when the other young kids come up, they will give that information to those guys. [But] they want to win now.”

As is tradition at Holy Cross, Knights coach Paul Gilvary played his seniors for the entire first quarter. But that backfired as Bishop Loughlin raced out to a 28-8 lead capped by a 3-point play by junior Tyliek Kimbrough.

“We played real hard,” Boone said. “We could have had a bigger lead, but our defense messed us up a little bit. I think we played hard toward the end, held it down the stretch and did what we had to do.”

Led by Travis Charles, one of nine juniors on the Loughlin roster, the Lions led by 18 with 5:22 left in the fourth quarter when No. 5 Holy Cross, which was paced by Evan Conti’s game-high 25 points and seven rebounds, roared back.

The Knights were in striking range in the final four minutes, but missed four critical free throws in the fourth quarter, including a pair on the front end of a one-and-one bonus.

“We wanted to give the seniors a chance to play, and we did, but it didn’t go quite as we scripted it I guess,” Gilvary said. “I thought we did a pretty good job after that. We fought back into the game, but when you fall behind by that much, you leave yourself with no margin for error. When you make a mistake or two at the end of the game, miss a foul shot or something like that, it’s magnified because of the situation you put yourself in.

Will Davis went 1-of-2 from the line with 17.1 seconds left, but Carrington, who scored 15 or more points for the fifth game in a row, went 3-of-4 in the final 11.4 seconds to seal another tight late-season victory for Bishop Loughlin.

“They beat us at our home, so we had to come back and beat them,” Carrington said. “It’s like payback.”

Earlier in the season, the young Lions would have withered during the Knights furious fourth-quarter rally. But after “24 scrimmages,” according to Gonzalez, Loughlin is now a seasoned group that closed the game, and the regular season, with poise.

“Normally we would have continued to run and just try and get it back because they just scored on us,” Gonzalez said. “I’d like to think that we’ve grown every time out. … It’s a testament to them, they’ve grown.”