Blazing was not a strong enough adjective to accurately describe the Catholic Memorial boys basketball offense Tuesday night.
With bitter rival BC High looking for revenge after getting demolished by the Knights in their own building on Dec. 3, CM knew it would have to come with something extra the second time around.
Strong rebounding, a pesky full-court press, and a bevy of 3-pointers propelled the Knights past BC High, 88-85, in a frantically paced Catholic Conference battle at CM.
The Eagles’ only two losses this season have come at the hands of CM coach Denis Tobin’s squad.
“With them it’s kind of pick your poison because they have the two superstars, Carl [Pierre] and Travis Evee,” Tobin said. “We’re trying to limit them, but their complementary players are also good players. We kind of went in with the Belichick theory: Let’s not let their best players beat us.”
The Knights (11-5), ranked ninth in the Globe’s weekly top 20, came out firing against the third-ranked Eagles (14-2) and their 2-3 zone, using quick, crisp ball movement to create open looks.
A 12-2 CM run early in the second quarter gave the Knights the lead, though BC High tied the game on multiple occasions late in the fourth.
After a bucket from Eagle junior Jimmy Tan tied the game at 82 with just more than two minutes to play, CM did what it had throughout the game, staving off BC with strong outside shooting, this time on a Ulyen Coleman 3-pointer, assisted by junior Kani Glover.
BC again fought back, finding success at the free throw line to tie the game at 85. This time it was Glover who answered the bell, hitting a jumper to give CM the lead for good.
Pierre’s buzzer-beating attempt to send the game into overtime hit off the back-iron, giving the Knights another statement victory.
“We’re just a run-and-gun team,” said Glover, whose 26 points (six 3-pointers) led all scorers.
“Coach told us that they would be able to play with us halfway through the game but wouldn’t be able to go the full 32 minutes. We practice this pace every day, every practice, so we just wanted to play at our pace and not let them slow us down.”
Junior guard Will McDonnell made his mark in multiple areas, scoring 19 points on five 3’s while helping contain Pierre (21 points, 10 rebounds) and Evee (14 points) in the Knights’ own 2-3 zone.
“[Will] played big,” Glover said. “He’s an emotional guy and we needed him today. Everyone had to step up and do their job.
“At 11-5 we feel like we can beat anybody. We just have to play our game.”
Owen Pence can be reached at email@example.com.