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BOYS BASKETBALL: Decided on the final possession, Catholic Central squeaks past St. Mary's WITH TOUT VIDEOS

ORCHARD LAKE — The most tense and dramatic basketball games usually seem to have a way of making every last ticking second of the final minute loom large.

Novi Detroit Catholic Central and Orchard Lake St. Mary's have made a habit in recent seasons of producing these sorts of contests almost exclusively when squaring off against each other.

Friday's meeting was decided in the final 12 seconds, as the Shamrocks were clinging to a vulnerable one-point lead with the Eaglets in possession of the ball one last time. St. Mary's attempted three shots in succession, but failed to connect, as Catholic Central walked off with a razor-thin 40-39 victory over its Catholic League rival.

On the pivotal final possession, St. Mary's junior Ted McCree maneuvered into position for the type of shot Eaglets coach George Porritt said they were seeking. But the ball skittered off the rim, dropping into the hands another St. Mary's player, who had his shot rejected by Catholic Central's Charlie Ryan on a block. At the buzzer, one final heave from the corner also missed, leaving the Eaglets a point short.

"We wanted to (isolate) Teddy. That was a good looking shot for him and I thought it was going to go down," Porritt said.

In the timeout that preceded the final 12 seconds, Catholic Central had little doubt as to what St. Mary's would be looking to do off of the inbounds pass.

"We all knew (McCree) was going to get the ball," Shamrocks coach Bill Dyer said. "He had 25 (points) against us last time and he's a great player. We just tried the best we could to stay in front of him and we forced him to shoot kind of an off-balance shot from the right hash mark inside the free-throw line that bounced off. It was a scramble after that."

[Editor's note: To see video of the final 12 seconds of play, see the first Tout video at the end of this article]

Catholic Central's win earned the team a measure of payback for a similarly narrow two-point loss to St. Mary's back on Jan. 14. In that game, the Shamrocks let a 10-point fourth-quarter lead slip from their grasp.

"After the feeling of what happened to us last time, we all just looked at each other and said we're not letting this happen again," Ryan said.

Ryan finished with a team-high 17 points to go along with eight rebounds and a timely block that may have sealed the win.

The first half featured limited scoring, with OLSM holding a 15-14 lead at the break. To close out the third quarter, Catholic Central put together a 10-3 scoring run that opened up the widest gap on the scoreboard of the night, 32-25, going into the final quarter.

The score was knotted up with 1:09 to play before CC's Noah Lee split a pair of free-throws with 58 seconds remaining. That one-point lead held up, despite each team getting a pair of possessions in the final minute.

"We've had a number of games like that this season, so that wasn't the only one," Dyer said of contests decided on the final possession. "We just talk about taking care of the ball and grinding it out and not giving away possessions with turnovers. We did a little bit better job of that tonight in the fourth quarter."

The Shamrocks held a decided edge in the rebounding game, particularly in their ability to grab offensive rebounds.

"We got out-toughed tonight," Porritt admitted. "(Catholic Central) did a great job of banging the boards and getting put-backs and stuff on us. To me, that was the difference. They got their rebounds on us and I thought they got to the loose balls."

For St. Mary's (7-5, 2-4 CHSL Central), McCree led the way with 17 points and five rebounds, while teammate Jalen Watts-Jackson notched eight points.

The Shamrocks (6-6, 2-4 CHSL Central) also received seven points from Lee and six from Ryan McGillivary.



NOVI DETROIT CATHOLIC CENTRAL 40, ORCHARD LAKE ST. MARY'S

CC — Tyler Laurentius 1 0-2 2; Ike Marchie 1 2; Austin Beyer 1 2-2 4; Noah Lee 1 5-7 7; Ryan McGillivary 2 2-2 4; Nick Cococcetta 1 2; Charlie Ryan 5 (2) 1-2 17; Totals: 12 (2) 10-15 40

SM — Jason Boswell 1 2; Jalen Watts-Jackson 2 4-8 8; Ted McCree 4 (2) 3-5 17; C.J. Wilson 1 2; Roger Hood 1 3-5 5; Luke Bauss 1-2 1; Nathan Conrad 1 2; Peter Bonde 2-2 2; Totals: 10 (2) 13-22 39

SCORE BY QUARTER

CC 5 9 18 8 — 40

SM 8 7 10 14 — 39

RECORDS — St. Mary's 7-5, 2-4 CHSL Central; Catholic Central 6-6, 7-5 CHSL Central

JV — Catholic Central 49, St. Mary's 44

Last Updated: 2/1/2014 12:51:04 PM EST

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