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February 24, 2008

Loughlin Roars to B/Q Championship

Brooklyn was in the house on Saturday in more ways than one. NYCHoops #4 ranked Bishop Loughlin of Brooklyn, NY came into Queens and played a very physical game against the #9 ranked Holy Cross Knights who are primarily a finesse team.

In the end, Holy Cross couldn't bang with a banger, as the Lions would take the Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan Tournament championship 76 - 66

Bishop Loughlin's strategy was to challenge Sylven Landesberg's point guard skills as they pressed him full court for most of the game when he touched the ball. While Knights primary point guard, Blaise Ffrench was effective, Loughlins full court press forced him to pass the ball quickly, which caused turnovers in half court. Landesberg does well when pushing the rock forward up the court quickly but struggles when forced to manuver laterally.

6'4" sophomore phenom, Doron lamb capitalized and scored effectively on the inside for the Lions while 6'7" senior forward Kevin Phillip worked well with put backs on offensive glass. Loughlins unrelenting pressure resulted in 5-point lead at the end of one.

On defense, the Lions played a 3-2 zone while Cross played Landesberg man-to-man on the ball with a zone behind him. Loughlin continuous pressure continued to plague the Knights into shot clock violations but occasionally Cross would penetrate and score.

With 3 minutes left in the second, Holy Cross coach Paul Gilvary put 5'11" senior point guard Tyshawn Russell in along with Landesberg and Ffrench to attempt to handle Loughlin's press. The strategy seemed to work as the Knights pulled to within one with 1:30 left.

Holy Cross would there only lead off a fast break score by Ffrench however that lead would be short lived as 6'6" sophomore forward Jayvaughn Pinkston would power up on the inside to give Bishop Loughlin the lead as the half end with Loughlin up 32 - 31.

Loughlin continued with the full court press along changing to man-to-man defense in the second half and got to quick scores as a result. The Lions also controlled the tempo keeping it at about 95 miles per hour and with 5 minutes left they were up by five.

Landesberg would penetrate but Lamb would counter. 6'6" junior forward Trevon Hamlet would slash to hoop and score for the Lions followed by senior guard James Johnson scoring to push the lead to 8 with 1:47 left.

Doron Lamb would bang a 3-pointer to extend the score 51 - 40 as Loughlin imposed their will on the Knights by crashing the boards and playing smash mouth basketball. The quarter would end with Loughlin up by 15 leaving the Knights with an uphill battle going into the fourth and final quarter.

Holy Cross was forced to play hurry up basketball, which is exactly what Bishop Loughlin is best at. Landesberg would feel pressured to be the scorer but at times he rose to the challenge scoring a 3-ball followed by a slam dunk to bring Holy Cross to within ten.

Blaise French would push the ball coast-to-coast to bring Cross to within 8 but a forced shot by Landesberg would result in a Doron Lamb basket over Tim Beinert who seemed intimidated by the rough play. With 4:10 left the score was 62 - 49 and with 3:39 left the lead would again be pushed back to 15 points.

The Knights would make one last run as Ffrench, Landesberg and 6'4" senior forward Kayvon Roberts would attack from both land and by air, hitting 3's and driving down the lane. They would get again get to within 10 but there was only 1:30 left in regulation.

Landesberg would nail a three-pointer to bring it to 9 and with 56 seconds left. Roberts had the chance to bring to within 7 but would miss 2 free throw resulting in Pinkston getting fouled on the offensive rebound.

Pinkston would hit both shots from the charity strip. Ffrench would counter with a 3ball but with 36.9 seconds left and it would take a miracle to avert the inevitable.

The Knights were forced to resorted to the "foul 'em an hope they miss" game but Loughlin didn't. Landesberg still had some fire left as he scored another three-pointer off the break but even he seemed gassed as his following shot didn't reach the rim and was caught by Kevin Phillip as the clock ran down.

Doron Lamb would lead his team with 28 points followed by James Johnson with 19 points. Sylven Landesberg led all scores with 33 points while his teammate Blaise Ffrench contributed 22 points.

Coach Maurice "Mo" Hicks credited the play of his team saying, "Doron really stepped up for us and point guard Michael Lloyd also played well"

This win put Loughlin in the number one seed in the B/Q Diocesan, which puts them up against the winner of Molloy vs. All Hallows game on Sunday. Holy Cross is now the number two seed and will play NYCHoops #6 ranked Christ the King on Friday February 29th.

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