St. Mary's recorded a huge win Tuesday night with a 73-71 victory at Bishop Timon-St. Jude. I updated the game via Twitter, posted the box score and details on our scoreboard and the writeup and a photo led our High School Extra in today's paper.
Here's more, starting with video interviews with the victorious Lancers (classy job by St. Mary's coach Dan Gill starting his postgame comments by lauding longtime Timon coach/athletic director Jim Palano, who will be retiring at year's end):
I walked in at halftime and immediately saw that St. Mary's was ready to play in South Buffalo. Timon senior sharpshooter Kyle Kobis drained a jumper in the final seconds, but it left just enough time for Erik Simmons to speed to the other end and beat the buzzer for a tie at 33-33.
St. Mary's shot the lights out in the second half, but it's not like they just had a good shooting night, like one of those everything-they-were-throwing-up-went-in deals. They certainly shot the ball well, but most of the baskets came off good shots created by good passing and good decisions during good possessions. Some of it came off of alert, fundamental defense and/or rebounding.
The Lancers played with a confidence, an intelligence and a togetherness on both ends of the floor that was more than impressive. That play was rewarded with a big lead, and when Timon had Kobis and Jordan Williams hit big shots to give the Tigers a chance, St. Mary's responded.
Here's a recounting of the second half from my notebook & going over the game film (that means my iPhone video 🙂 ):
Redden hit a three-pointer (36-33). ... Ryan Winnicki hit a three off an Erik Simmons drive-and-kickout (39-37). ... Jake Denz got fouled on a three-pointer and sunk all three FTs (42-39). ... Simmons with a spectacular drive finished with an up-and-under scoop-to-the-hoop (44-39). ... Simmons again with a drive (46-39). ... Denz with a nice follow of a missed Redden drive (48-42). ... An offensive rebound by Paul Rath turned into a three by Nate Meyers (53-45). ... A Redden open three (56-47) was followed by pressure on the inbound that forced a Timon timeout with 1:25 left in the third. ... Denz with a nifty scoop vs. DeMilo Gibbs (58-49). ... Nicc Johnson with a nice-looking pop-up baseline jumper from the right side (60-51) -- that shot was the only one, to me, that was like, wow, they're hitting everything. There was some good defense and I believe the shot clock was running down, and he popped up and hit a tough jumper.
St. Mary's finished the third with a 60-53 lead after Kobis got the benefit of a goaltending call although -- from the way I saw it -- the shot never got above the rim. Kobis, Jordan Williams and Gibbs -- who played very well down low -- were effective on offense to keep Timon in the game.
St. Mary's did a great job defending Gibbs in the post, and they did it right from the start. There was some great help defense on Timon's first possession to earn the ball back for St. Mary's.
That was followed by two free throws by Redden after a good, aggressive drive to the basket (62-53). ... Johnson put on a fantastic drive with an off-the-glass finish (64-55). ... Denz made a great play to poke the ball free from a Timon dribbler, leading to a fast break in which Johnson's shot didn't fall but Denz was right there for the follow (66-55), prompting a Timon timeout with 5:48 to go.
Timon made it 66-60 with a little over five minutes to go by doing what they do: Kobis hit a three; Williams drove and scored. At this point, crunch time seemed to get both sides a little tight -- no field goals for about two minutes.
Denz made a nice play to pick off an entry pass for Gibbs, St. Mary's called a timeout with 3:15 left, and then ran a play which resulted in a Denz kickout to Simmons for a three (69-60).
This started a nice-back-and-forth (video below) that saw a Jordan Williams crossover-and-fadeaway (69-62), then a Redden jumper off a Meyers kickout (71-62), then a Zach Hayes follow of a missed Kobis drive (71-64) that prompted a Timon timoeut with 2:03 left.
Redden took advantage of some loose Timon defense to score on a drive (73-64); Kobis hit a three (73-67) to make it a two-possession game with about 1:20 to go. St. Mary's had some great ball movement against some aggressive defense that resulted in Denz finding Redden on the baseline but that was one shot that rimmed out for the Lancers. It was still a two-possession game with 1:00 left.
Big play here. Jordan Williams got the ball on the left wing, faked out his man and drove to the basket, and Denz came off his man (Gibbs) and drew a charging foul on Williams with 37.6 to go.
Now, I am the biggest anti-flopping basketball fan in the world. I think the beautiful game of basketball is soiled by "take a charge," which I like to call flopping, because that's what it is most of the time. That being said, and this is a testament to how difficult this call is to make for officials (maybe the most difficult in sports?), at first glance I thought this was a good call.
But when I went to the iPhone video, it was a block. Williams is leaving the floor as Denz slides over. Denz makes sure he gets a shoulder in Williams' way and falls to the floor. That's defense? That's not defense, but that's what passes for defense in basketball for many people these days. The offensive player blows by his defender, has a clear lane, and he's made his move to the basket truly before the help defender has established position.
The shot didn't fall, and it would have been two free throws, so Timon would certainly have had a better shot to win. I don't think they got robbed of the game whatsoever. St. Mary's went 0 for 2 down the stretch so Timon still had a shot to win. I definitely think St. Mary's deserved this one, big-time. And to be clear: This is not a knock on Denz by any means. He was fantastic on both ends, he did a great job fronting DeMillo in the fourth quarter, and the charge play was one of several smart ones he made during the game -- including not inbounding the ball on this final play.
Overall, a fantastic performance by St. Mary's. Timon may have underperformed a bit, but they were mostly outplayed by St. Mary's.
I'll be headed to another top 10 large school-small school matchup of the Monsignor Martin Association this evening when Canisius hosts Archbishop Walsh at 6:30 p.m.
I'll talk about that game, the St. Mary's game, Friday's Canisius at St. Joe's game, today's Prep Talk column, the basketball polls, the Power 10 and whatever else comes up during our video chat starting at 9 p.m.