By DYLAN BUTLER
It was an eventful final 74 seconds of the fourth quarter for Glyne Straker.
The St. Francis Prep senior swingman banked in a three-pointer that hit just about every part of the rim before falling through the net, but his foul on Raz Council’s made three-pointer led to a five-point swing in a span of nine seconds as All Hallows tied the score at 50 on a Council putback.
Straker, though, made up for the mistake with an old-fashioned three-point play with 22.5 seconds left to lift the Terriers to a 55-50 victory in the CHSAA Class AA basketball intersectional first round Sunday afternoon at Holy Cross HS.
“I felt like I had to step up at that [time],” said Straker, who had a game-high 21 points. “It almost could have been a four-point play, it could have changed the whole momentum of the game so I felt I had to do something quick to get the game back in our hands.”
St. Francis Prep advances to the quarterfinals to meet archrival Holy Cross. The fourth chapter of the Battle of the Boulevard takes place Friday night at Christ the King.
“We’ll see what happens,” St. Francis Prep Coach Tim Leary said. “Maybe the fourth time is the charm for us.”
A year ago, the Terriers lost to All Hallows in the opening round and often wilted under pressure. But this is a senior-laden squad and its experience against a young All Hallows team proved to be a difference with the game on the line late in the fourth quarter.
“Last year or the year before I wouldn’t have had the confidence to get the ball in my hand and make a play myself,” said George Hatzioannides, who had 13 points, including a pair of clinching free throws with 11.5 seconds left. “But now I know coach needs me to do it and I know I can do that.”
St. Francis Prep (13-13) took control of the game in the fourth quarter as All Hallows (5-19) went nearly six minutes without a field goal.
“It’s an easy game right?” All Hallows Coach John Carey said. “[If] you don’t take bad shots, you don’t turn the ball over and you get second shots, you probably have a better chance to win.”
Led by Ethan Hamlet (11 points) and Babacour Bah and Jon Brens, who had 10 points apiece, All Hallows did those things early on and went on a 10-1 run to take a 21-14 lead early in the second quarter and had a 28-25 edge at the half.
But the Terriers took over in the fourth quarter, limiting the Gaels to three free throws in the opening 5:19 and had a 47-42 lead until Raymond DelaCruz knocked down a three-pointer.
“They do some stuff on the baseline that they hurt us with last time, some back screens and we took that away from them and we knew we had to get out on the shooters,” Leary said. “Sometimes we made some bad choices fouling them, but I thought overall our man-to-man defense was very good considering how quick their guards are.”
Straker made sure he extended his high-school career with a big shot from the outside that he admitted was lucky and a drive to the basket while getting fouled in the final 1:14 to snap the Terriers’ eight-game losing streak.
“For maybe half the year he finished everything and he was averaging 30 points a game and he doesn’t finish real good now,” Leary said of Straker. “But he came up big, he hit a crazy three-pointer off the backboard. After 24 games we played, we deserve to get one of those.”