boys basketball East Catholic squeaks past Bassick
BRIDGEPORT — It was what you would expect from the top boys basketball game of the season to date.
East Catholic and Bassick, the second- and third-ranked teams in the GameTimeCT poll, were locked in a low-scoring, close game throughout. Neither team led by more than six and, naturally, it came right down to the end.
Four straight 3-pointers by senior guard Joey Reilly gave East Catholic a cushion and Bassick missed a game-tying 3-pointer in the final seconds. East Catholic held on for the 56-53 road win.
“This is one of the few times this year that we have truly been tested,” Reilly said. “We had some adversity, especially in a hostile road environment. It was a great learning opportunity for us. … It’s definitely a great win.”
Jaylin Hunter (20 points) made two free throws with 19.8 seconds left to put East Catholic (13-0) up 56-53. Bassick was out of timeouts.
Julio De Los Santos ended up taking the final 3-pointer to tie from the corner for Bassick (14-1), but it didn’t go down.
“The guy who got the shot is a really, really good 3-point shooter,” East Catholic coach Luke Reilly said. “We knew it was going to go to one of a few guys and he (De Los Santos) was on the list. He had a better look at it than we would have liked him to have.”
This was the 51st consecutive regular-season win for East Catholic. East Hartford was the last team to beat the Eagles during the regular season, 84-73 on Dec. 22, 2016.
Bassick’s last regular-season loss came at the hands of the Eagles in convincing fashion, 78-42 on Jan. 2, 2018, in Manchester.
“They’re definitely the best team in the state, so what does that make us?” Bassick coach Bernie Lofton asked. “We know we can play the best, especially after what they did to us last year when they took it to us.”
Bassick scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter, forcing four straight turnovers, to take a 44-38 lead. That happened with both primary ballhandlers, Kevin Crawford and Emery Linton, on the bench in foul trouble.
Then Joey Reilly (20 points) went to work. His four straight 3-pointers turned that six-point deficit into a 50-44 lead with 3:18 left.
“Every shot I fully believe is going in. I could miss 1,000 shots in a row and I’m still going to have full confidence in myself that the next one is going in,” Reilly said. “I never lose faith in my ability.
Said Luke Reilly of his nephew: “Once he heats up like that, he’s very dangerous. The ball wasn’t going in for him early, which was unusual. … He has a way of coming through in big moments in an incredible way.”
Bassick players actually had a hand in Reilly’s face on a couple of those 3-pointers.
“We couldn’t get off the screens quick enough,” Crawford said.
Bassick cut it down to one three different times, but could never draw even. The team shot 6 of 12 from the line in the fourth quarter, 11 of 25 overall.
“You can’t do that in any game if you want to win,” Lofton said. “We know Reilly can shoot. We kept him in check most of the game. Even those last two he hit were contested. We will have to do a better job next time of going over the screens.”
Crawford finished with a game-high 24 points, but shot just 4 of 13 from the line — all in the second half.
“This is on us. We’ll get them next time,” Crawford said.
Player of the Game
Joey Reilly, East Catholic: Made four straight 3-point shots in the fourth quarter to turn a deficit into a lead for good for the Eagles.
“Things didn’t go necessarily according to plan, but I was proud of the way the guys made some in-game adjustments and grinded it out to get a gutty win on the road,” East Catholic coach Luke Reilly said.
EAST CATHOLIC 56,
E. CATHOLIC 10 16 12 18 — 56
BASSICK 12 13 10 16 — 53
EAST CATHOLIC: Joey Reilly 7 2-3 20, Jaylin Hunter 6 4-6 20, Matt Knowling 2 6-6 10, Matt Byam 2 0-0 4, Sam Walsh 1 0-0 2, Chris Jones 0 0-0 0, Brody Limric 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 12-15 56.
BASSICK: Kevin Crawford 10 4-13 24, Jermaine Grant 0 1-2 1, DeAndre Morgan 1 0-0 2, Julio DeLos Santos 0 0-0 0, Emery Linton 2 3-4 8, Jordan Gallimore 3 3-6 9, Isaiah Sullivan 3 0-0 7. Totals 20 11-15 53.
3-pointers: EC 8 (Reilly 4, Hunter 4), Bassick 2 (Linton, Sullivan); Records: EC 13-0; B 14-1.