Bishop Loughlin withstood a late sure from host
Christ the King and 16 second half points from cagey
combo guard Mitch Beauford to hold off the Royals in
Queens Friday night, 64-58.
On the strength of 12 first half points from Curtis
Sumpter (right), Loughlin hopped out to a 29-19 lead at the
half. After the Lions'extended their advantage to 15
midway through the third quarter, Bob Oliva's club
slashed the deficit to nine, 41-32, as rangy junior combo
forward Justin Marshall converted a three-point play
and Japhet McNeil, a 5-10 lead guard, found a streaking Beauford on a
brilliant three-quarter court pass after stripping
Loughlin point guard Keith Jones.
The Loughlin lead teetered around the nine point
margin during the forth quarter until Beauford took it
upon himself to lead one last Royal rush. Over a
three-minute span, the 5'10'', 175 pounder stripped
Courtney Johnson and went in for the lay-in, tipped in
a Mike Claxton miss from the foul line, and connected
on an off-balance three with :22 seconds to play,
drawing the Royals to within four, at 62-58.
Ultimately, however, Kirk Bunn's transition flush with
:14 seconds was the death knell for CK, with Ted
Gustus's crew closing out the game by a 64-58 count.
Sumpter paced Loughlin with 17 points, while 6'3''
jumping jack Jason Olive tossed in 16, as well as
throwing down a third quarter alley-oop off a lob from
teammate Keith Jones. Jones tallied 14 points, ten in
the second half, including a slick slashing maneuver
that saw him skitter through traffic and collect the
deuce off glass. Sniper Michael Wright added 9 points,
all from behind the arc, and Bunn chipped in eight.
For Christ the King, Beauford tallied 19 points,
including eight in the decisive fourth quarter. Eric
Martin and Mike Claxton chipped in twelve a piece,
with Claxton's older brother, former CK star and
current 76er Speedy, in attendance. Japhet McNeil
added six points, but as always, his impact could not
be captured by the stat sheet, as the gangly lead
guard passed out scores of slick feeds and no-look
tosses, creating scoring opportunities for his teammates.