By Anthony Bosco
After falling behind by 20 after one quarter, the St. Francis Prep boys’ varsity basketball team made a valiant comeback against the Robeson Eagles in the semifinals of the 40th annual Monsignor King Tournament, only to fall 69-64 Saturday.
The Terriers had two chances to tie the game in the final moments, but attempted three-pointers by Rich Henderson and Brian Geffen — the second with just five second remaining in regulation — missed the mark.
“We played very well,” said St. Francis Prep coach Tim Leary. “We played from behind the whole game. “They’re a good team, It was a long road back. It was a tough game to lose.”
Prep began cutting into the Robeson lead in the second quarter, narrowing the deficit to 13 at the half behind a box-and-one defense aimed to limit the production of Robeson point guard Gary Ervin, who scored a game-high 34 points.
The younger, smaller Terriers got within 10 in the final quarter and began a strong run at the lead when Robeson began to falter at the free throw line, missing 7-of-14 from the charity stripe and 6-of-7 down the stretch.
But Prep could not hit the equalizer in the final moments, allowing the PSAL power to escape with the win.
Geffen led St. Francis with 20, followed by 18 from Chris Lanci. Shakeim Mitchell added 14 from Robeson.
Falling to 6-4, St. Francis Prep was to face Brooklyn’s St. Edmund in the third-place consolation game Sunday night, while Robeson advanced to play Xaverian for the tournament title.
Earlier in the tournament, the Terriers defeated New Utrecht 61-44 behind 15 points from Lanci, 11 points and 11 rebounds from Andrew Cashin and 11 points from Geffen. Chad Timberlake led New Utrecht with 20.
St. John’s Prep 57, Midwood 54. Desean Burke led the Red Storm with 15 while Ed Moore added 12, including a free throw and putback in the finals seconds to seal the win. Christian Giraldo added 10 as St. John’s improved to 7-1.
Holy Cross 69, Central (Woodstock Va.) 48. Miguel Gonzalez and Nick Rollins led the Knights, now 8-1, with 29 and 17 points, respectively, at the Woodside Holiday Classic in Virginia.
Christ the King 74, Troy (Ohio) 25. The Royals were led by the play of Eric Martin and Stan Milien, who had 12 points each at the Slam Dunk to the Beach tournament in Delaware.
Holy Cross 64, Princess Anne (Va.) 55. Gonzalez led the way with 21 for the Knights in Virginia.
Archbishop Molloy 85, Porter-Gaud (S.C.) 48. Junior Marlon Smith scored a team-high 16 points to lead the 7-0 Stanners at the Red Cross Tournament in Charleston, S.C.
McClancy 78, La Progressive (Fla.) 49. The Crusaders, now 5-4, got 17 from Wesley Matthews at the Father Lopez Basketball Classic in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Christ the King 57, Cave Spring (Va.) 37. Head coach Bob Oliva picked up his 400th career win at the Delaware tournament as Japhet McNeil and Mitchell Beauford scored 16 points each in the win.
Townsend Harris 48, Robert F. Wagner 44. Ezra Cooper earned MVP honors, scoring 15 points and Louis Elrose added 10 to lead the Hawks (7-8) to the Robert F. Wagner Holiday Tournament championship Friday
Townsend Harris 55, Economics and Finance 40. Elrose (13 points) and Rob Ciborowksi (10 points) led Harris in the Robert F. Wagner Holiday Tournament.
John Adams 76, Division 73. Taylor Murphy continued his low-post dominance, scoring 28 points and grabbing 20 rebounds and Kyle Blount added 10 points and five assists for Adams in a non-league game last Thursday.
— Dylan Butler contributed to this story
Reach Sports Editor Anthony Bosco by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 130.