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Thursday Evening Live from wins by I-Prep/Grover and St. Joe's (with video of dunks, a buzzer-beater and interviews)

Hello from a great matchup at International Prep at Grover Cleveland, where former Presidents coach Earl Schunk has returned to his former school with his new team, Tapestry Charter.

Some former fellow faculty members had some fun with the former Grover coach. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News) Tapestry is ranked fifth among large schools while I-Prep/Grover has been No. 1 all season.

5:50 p.m. Sorry for the delay, first chance to update after borrowing a chair from football coach Tony Alessi's office (thanks, coach) to let me set up shop at the end of Grover/I-Prep's bench -- conveniently near an electrical outlet. 

I-Prep/Grover is up, 41-28, with less than three minutes left in the first half.

I-Prep/Grover took a 25-17 lead after one quarter in which it got up 16-7 but Tapestry did well to hang in there, sticking with its pressure defense and getting two straight threes from senior David Bass.

I-Prep put on another nice burst in the second quarter, going up by as much as 17 twice but Tapestry has again cut into the lead -- this time I-Prep has gotten a little sloppy while Tapestry's Dartwon Brooks has shown off some serious scoring ability.

6:34 p.m. My apologies. Some computer troubles and a restart later, we're in the third quarter with I-Prep having taken a 53-39 lead. I-Prep had a 44-35 lead at the half.

Surreal scene at Grover with Tapestry and Earl Schunk (wayyyy on the left) in green and I-Prep at Grover in white. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)
I-Prep has again gotten out to a great start of the quarter, as it has done all game.

6:36 p.m. Chris Holland, who has had a typically standout all-around game, hit a three-pointer to put Grover up by 17 again, but Brooks came down and hit a three to make it 56-42 with 3:57 left in the third as coach Schunk called a timeout.

6:48 p.m. I-Prep has a 65-49 lead after three quarters after a nice close of the quarter which included a key three by Holland in the final minute.

Here's the three by Holland:

Here's some back and forth action just before Holland's quarter-ending three, including Holland getting wayyy up on defense and Tapestry's Dazmon Knight hitting a three.

It is definitely a surreal scene here with Earl in Tapestry green in a gym which has a lot of Grover's old green on the court -- meanwhile I-Prep is in white uniforms with blue and gold trim to reflect their new colors that came along with the new name. Hopefully I keep everything straight :-).


6:54 p.m. I-Prep hasn't let Tapestry back into the second half; they are playing very well.

We have a timeout with 2:24 left in the game with I-Prep up, 82-63.

Kadeem Hillman just threw down a very impressive fast-break alley-oop slam dunk from Chris Holland -- and thank goodness I had the iPhone going. Check back for video of that play later.

Here it is:

Here's a second dunk just moments later:

6:59 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: I-Prep at Grover 88, Tapestry 64.

Highlights and more to come. I'll be collecting a lot of stuff and then heading down to Bishop Timon-St. Jude for their game with St. Joe's.

Here's the postgame show:

7:09 p.m. I-Prep coach Shaunessy Ryan spent some time with Daemen coach Don Silvestri after the game -- Ryan played for Silvestri and coached with him as well before joining Schunk as an assistant at Grover. 

I'll post the box score on our basketball scoreboard page once I get to Timon.

Mel Palano Gym is packed for pregame. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News) 8:06 p.m. We're tipping off here in South Buffalo.

I was here on time after zipping around the I-190, but the game was delayed by overtime in the JV game, won by Timon, 76-72 (how about that JV coverage! 🙂 That was a fun topic during our last live chat of 2010).

8:17 p.m. After one quarter, St. Joe's has an 11-9 lead on Timon.

The game had its sloppy moments early as scoring slowed down. Reggie Agbeko put on a strong baseline drive to put St. Joe's up, 11-6, with 2:10 left in the quarter. Ryan Dougherty, a sophomore, hit a three for Timon in the final minute of the quarter.

Great atmosphere here, as always, with the standing, shouting, chanting student section giving St. Joe's everything its got. And when it comes to excellent, enthusiastic PA guys who are also loudly all over the refs and pumping up his team when the mike isn't on, nobody beats Timon. Great stuff.

8:27 p.m. Slight delay as Timon starting sophomore Bryant Fulton walks off with assistance after falling. Timon leads, 21-18, with 4:13 left in the second.

8:30 p.m. Timeout St. Joe's as coach Mark Simon and assistant Jack Herlan are furious over a defensive lapse as Timon cuts the Joe's lead to 27-22 with 2:44 left in the second.

8:37 p.m. We are at HALFTIME at Timon with visiting St. Joe's up, 27-25. I'm getting some work done on the Grover game.

8:47 p.m. The second half has begun.

9:05 p.m. At the end of the third quarter, we are fittingly tied at 46-46.

9:15 p.m. Timon coach Jim Palano calls a timeout with 4:21 left in the game and Timon up, 53-49. Timon started the quarter with a three by Dougherty and a follow basket by Kobis before Rehbaum responded with a three.

9:21 p.m. With 1:41 left in the game, St. Joe's calls a timeout after a Jake Spitler basket that cut the Timon lead to 56-53. Right down to the wire, just as expected.

Here's Spitler's three, which followed a Kobis drive:

9:27 p.m. Still down to the wire. St. Joe's has the ball and calls a timeout with 24 seconds left and Timon leading, 58-56.

9:29 p.m. St. Joe's gets the ball down low to Reggie Agbeko, who is fouled with 15 seconds left. He misses the first. St. Joe's calls a timeout.

9:31 p.m. Agbeko makes the second, St. Joe's has a substitute to go in, but Timon calls a timeout holding a 58-57 lead with 15 seconds left.

9:33 p.m. Kobis is fouled in the backcourt by Steven Moser; Kobis misses the first but makes the second and Timon calls a timeout now holding a 59-57 lead with 13.6 seconds left.

9:35 p.m. Now there are 6.6 seconds left, St. Joe's still with the ball after Fulton -- who has had a very good game -- knocks the ball out of bounds as Rehbaum was trying to dribble up the right side.

9:38 p.m. We are going to OVERTIME. Agbeko with a follow shot just before the buzzer ties it at 59-59. Whew. Four more minutes (at least 🙂 ).

Here's Agbeko's buzzer-beater:

9:44 p.m. There will only be one overtime. It has been all St. Joe's as it leads, 65-59, with 48.7 seconds left in the overtime session. Chad Kelly, Spitler and then Kelly again with the baskets. Agbeko has been huge inside altering shots and on the boards on Timon's empty possessions and also had a steal.

Agbeko rebounded Timon's miss on the first possession of overtime, which turned into a Kelly basket off a loose ball. Agbeko rebound, then a steal to start a possession in which Spitler swished a jumper from near the top of the key. Agbeko had a block on Timon's next possession, which ended when Kelly stole the ball. After a miss, Agbeko grabbed another rebound and a Agbeko-to-Rehbaum-to-Spitler-to-Kelly transition put Joe's up by six with about a minute. Agbeko had yet another rebound before Joe's called its timeout.

9:53 p.m. We have a FINAL SCORE: St. Joe's 68, Bishop Timon-St. Jude 62.

Agbeko was huge obviously with the buzzer-beater and on the boards in overtime.

Here's the postgame show:

* * *

A few thoughts at the end of the night:

* Hillman was fantastic today for Grover. The dunks, we knew about. The big blocked shots, we knew about.

But there was great self-control on defense -- he did a very nice job just going straight-up with his hands and he altered shots anyway (one shooter accounted for him so much his shot went over the backboard). On offense he showed off a spot-up short-range jumper (which would be devastating if he can hit that regularly) and had some nice passes. Just some really good court awareness for the big man.

(Check out a cool picture of Hillman dunking in our roundup ... see if you recognize anyone in the background.)

* Holland was his usual orchestrating self, setting up several transition baskets, hitting his share of shots from inside and out, as well as rebounding very strong and playing solid inside-outside defense.

* In the game I would have been at if I had a cloning device or time machine (or both), McKinley got a great road win at Riverside -- also in overtime. I thought McKinley could be extremely good this year after seeing them at the Pastor-Cooper, but they were more impressive in the win over East on Tuesday. Lots of weapons, unselfish play and tenacious defense. The potential AA bracket matchups get more intriguing by the day.

Riverside had a better spot in the poll than McKinley thanks to the Frontiers' win at St. Joe's, so the Macks will certainly get a big bounce.

* PrepTalkTV and I will be on the scene Saturday at City Honors' new gym for the four games of the MLK Classic starting at 11 a.m. (see full schedule in our Sidelines from Tuesday's Scholastic Spotlight).

---Keith McShea

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