Sparked by junior Brian Downey’s 10 third-quarter points and junior Kyle McGinley’s game-sealing free throws — he converted all six of his attempts in the final 46.9 seconds — Calhoun knocked off district-rival Kennedy, 65-53, last Friday night in a Conference AA-III boys’ basketball showdown.
With his team trailing by four at halftime, Colts senior Tommy Murphy scored two quick buckets, the second coming in transition off of his own steal, and Calhoun only picked up steam from there.
“It was a matter of making the extra pass and finding the open man,” Colts coach Jay Kreutzberger said of his team, which scored just 25 points in the first half and poured in 40 after intermission.
“They have four options offensively and seemed to get easier baskets, especially in the second half,” Kennedy coach Rory Block said. “We struggled in the second half scoring the basketball and keeping them off the boards. Bottom line, they executed better than
The win kept Calhoun perfect against conference rivals (4-0) and knocked the Cougars from the ranks of the conference unbeatens (3-1). “It was a great crowd, a great atmosphere and a great game,” Block said of the contest that was played in front of a standing-room only crowd at Calhoun. “Calhoun played awesome and hard and we played awesome and hard.”
McGinley’s clutch free throws help keep the Cougars at arm’s length down the stretch, as Kennedy seniors Ralph Faiella (17 points) and Chris Racalbuto (11) each drained three-pointers in the final 1:08. Their buckets weren’t enough to offset the damage done by Downey’s earlier barrage — he drained a pair of threes and all four of his free-throw attempts in the third quarter, also chipping in with a pair of steals and rebounds in the frame.
“That’s probably the second game this season that [Brian] Downey has led us,” Krunitzberger said, noting the balance in the Colts’ offense often leads to different leaders stepping up.
Indeed, it was McGinley, who posted a game-high 23 points and Murphy adding 19 of his own to lead an offense that canned seven three-pointers and 16 free throws. “When you get to the line you build confidence,” Kreutzberger said. “And right after McGinley hit two technical free throws, he hit a three-pointer.”
Defensively, Calhoun turned up the heat, cracking down on the interior, while also badgering Cougars shooters on the perimeter. Kennedy managed just eight third-quarter points and was held without a bucket for the first 4:10 of the frame. “We fixed a hole in our pressure,” Kreutzberger said. “We had some confusion and fixed our rotation. It gave us better ball pressure and we got some steals off of it.”
Before the Colts pulled away down the stretch, the Cougars cut the deficit from 12 to seven on the strength of a 7-2 run powered by Faiella and senior Ethan Jones who accounted for all of the points, with the run ending when Faiella just beat the shot clock with a jumper