By Robert Cole
St. Francis Prep’s first-year coach Jim Lynch, hoped that his young guards would be able to stand up to the constant defensive pressure of Scanlan. But the Crusaders’ constant pressure eventually took its toll on the Terriers, resulting in a 74-60 Scanlan victory in the CHSAA Intersectional first-round playoff game.
“Today was a tough loss,” Lynch said after the game. “I thought Scanlan did a terrific job in getting to the glass, and their full-court press bothered us. We did not handle it the way we wanted to, so we did not get the easy shots we wanted.”
The Terriers got off to a quick start in the first quarter, taking a 7-0 lead. But Prep’s early foul trouble gave Scanlan an opportunity to get back into the game.The Terriers were able to maintain their lead throughout the quarter behind Brandon Tatis, who scored eight first quarter points, andAramis Santiago, who added four points.
Prep took a 14-9 lead into the second quarter, when a tough Scanlon defense took advantage of the mounting fouls on the Terriers to cut its deficit to 20-18 with 4:40 remaining in the half. Scanlan tied the contest at 24-24 with 2:28 on a three-pointer from Tyliek Brown, which sparked a 7-0 run that gave the Crusaders a 31-27 lead going into halftime.
The Crusaders continued to bring the pressure on defense and hit the offensive glass hard, scoring eight consecutive points and extending their lead to 35-27. St. Francis played even with the Crusaders for the remainder of the third quarter, getting balanced scoring from its starters, but with fouls continuing to mount, the Terriers could not apply the defensive pressure needed to slow down Scanlan, who took a 52-46 lead into the final period.
“You have to adjust to the way the game is being called,” said Lynch of his team’s foul trouble. “The game was being called tight, and our kids didn’t adjust. We made silly fouls that let them get in the bonus.”
Scanlan maintained its defensive pressure on the Terriers in the final period and cruised to a 74-60 victory. With the loss, St. Francis Prep was eliminated from this year’s championship tournament, ending their season with a 10-15 record.
Lynch said his team went through some ups and downs throughout the season, including the death of long-time coach Tim Leary following a bout with cancer.
“The last couple of weeks for our team has been difficult,” Lynch said. “I am impressed with the way they have reacted, they show up every day and gave us their best effort. I loved this group of kids, and I wouldn’t ask for anything different in terms of a team to coach my first time out.”