Saints rally to down Obezags

ST. MARY’S 78, KEY 74

The Capital - - SPORTS - By Mike Morea [email protected]

The St. Mary’s boys bas­ket­ball team started the sea­son with two straight losses, but those set­backs seemed far in the rear-view mir­ror on Fri­day night.

Af­ter fall­ing by 10 to An­napo­lis Area Chris­tian School to start the sea­son and then drop­ping a five-point con­test to Friends a week ago, the Saints jumped to an early lead, al­lowed Key to take a third-quar­ter ad­van­tage, then roared back to earn a 78-74 win over the Obezags Fri­day night.

Sam Ibezi­ako, a trans­fer from Arun­del, and Pa­trick De­vitt dom­i­nated in the paint, with each scor­ing 22 points. St. Mary’s had a no­tice­able height ad­van­tage over Key and took ad­van­tage of it when it came to crunch time.

“We just wanted to keep our heads and start go­ing in­side. Key is very good, so we had to work things to our ad­van­tage,” Saints coach Trey Quinn said. “We just wanted Ibezi­ako get back to ba­sics and ex­e­cute our of­fense, throw the ball in­side and get the post points.”

Af­ter fall­ing be­hind early, St. Mary’s went on a 10-2 run through the mid­dle of the first quar­ter to mount a 17-10 lead with 2 min­utes, 54 sec­onds re­main­ing in the open­ing frame. Ibezi­ako made his pres­ence felt dur­ing the run and De­vitt chipped in a few bas­kets as well, but the Obezags used a pair of field goals and a 3-pointer to get back in it and trailed 20-15 af­ter one.

The Saints ex­tended the lead to nine in the first minute of the se­cond, but Key used a pair of treys to trim the lead to three. Over the fi­nal six min­utes of the half, the Saints’ lead swelled to seven and shrunk to one be­fore the teams went into the locker room with the hosts still hold­ing a 39-37 lead. Ibezi­ako led the Saints with 10, while Mike Parme chipped in seven and De­vitt added six.

For Key, Augie Irv­ing tal­lied 16, Mark Fusco had 11 and Mar­shall Tanz con­trib­uted six.

The teams went blow-for-blow to start the se­cond half, with the lead never get­ting more than four for the saints over the first four min­utes of the third. Key notched its first lead since early in the con­test with 3:51 re­main­ing in the quar­ter on a bas­ket by Jaier John­son, but could never put the Saints

more than two points be­hind. The guests held a 54-53 lead head­ing to the fi­nal eight min­utes.

The Obezags went up by five early in the fourth, but St. Mary’s had an an­swer for ev­ery score. Af­ter two times down the court, Key failed to score while the Saints man­aged six points on their three pos­ses­sions to take a 63-62 lead with 5:20 re­main­ing.

Key ral­lied again to go up by five, but was held score­less for nearly two min­utes and saw its lead turn to a two-point deficit with two min­utes to play.

The Saints did ev­ery­thing they needed down the stretch, ex­cept for the des­per­a­tion 3-pointer that went in at the buzzer and walked away with the four-point vic­tory.

A huge fac­tor in the vic­tory was hold­ing the Obezags’ Eli­jah Jenk­ins to just six points over the 32 min­utes.

“We wanted to make sure we were aware of him ev­ery­where on the floor,” Quinn said. “He torched us last year, so we were pretty aware of what he could do and how ex­plo­sive he could be.”

Key coach Brent Cole­man re­flected that if a team wins three of four cat­e­gories in a bas­ket­ball game, they should come out ahead. As the re­sult showed, Key didn’t win in those cat­e­gories.

“There are four things that are go­ing to win a bas­ket­ball game — make your free throws, re­bound, limit your turnovers and make your layups,” said Cole­man, whose team went 15 of 26 from the free throw line. “Free throws hurt us and turnovers, late. That turned the mo­men­tum around and handed the game over to the home team.”

Irv­ing led all scor­ers with 26 points, while Fusco had 17 and Tanz and John­son each tal­lied 11 points for Key (2-1).

Parme and Gar­rett Nilsen each to­taled nine points for St. Mary’s (1-2).

GLENN MILLER /CAP­I­TAL GAZETTE

Ja­cob Aryee of St. Mary’s goes up for a shot against Key’s Mar­shall Tanz while Eli­jah Jenk­ins looks on.

GLENN MILLER/CAP­I­TAL GAZETTE

JR Unegbu of drib­bles while Mar­shall Tanz of Key de­fends dur­ing their game on Fri­day night.

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