Trailing 19-10 at halftime, the St. Roberts sixth-grade Bantam basketball team used an aggressive full-court press to rally in the second half for a thrilling 32-25 victory over St. Gregory at Our Lady of Lourdes in the first round of the CYO A Division playoffs.
St. Roberts started the third quarter with an 11-2 run to tie the score at 21-21 on a basket by Brian Flynn (two points) with two seconds remaining in the period.
The run continued into the final six minutes of play (a 22-6 turnaround overall) when Tyler Ryan (16 points), Kevin Garcia (eight points) and Sean Escobedo (four points, one three-pointer) took over to close out the game with 11 fourth quarter points for the 32-25 win.
Head coach Jerry Iannece and assistant Dominic Scianna knew their team wouldnt quit so they emphasized defense during their halftime speech as a way to start strong in the second half.
We knew we were still in the game at halftime and we told the kids to keep the pressure on and good things would happen, Iannece said. We never quit and turned the game around in the second half with good defense.
Ryan had eight of his 16 points in the second half and had a steal for a breakaway with less than two minutes to play to ice the game. Garcia was a force inside, scoring six of his eight points in the last 12 minutes, while Escobedos long three-pointer was the highlight of the comeback, closing the lead to four at 21-17 early in the third quarter.
Vinny Iannece contributed a key basket and steal while Joey Miccio, Pete Scianna and Mike Gallagher were standouts on defense, out-rebounding St. Gregory down the stretch to secure the victory.
St. Gregory (the fourth seed) had defeated St. Roberts (the fifth seed) twice during the regular season (both close contests) as the two evenly matched teams fought to the wire in this well-played game.
St. Roberts faces a tough challenge this weekend advancing to the semifinals of the CYO A Division playoffs to face No. 1 seed St. Clares, which finished the regular season undefeated at 14-0.
©2002 Community News Group
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