St. Luke’s boys basketball downs Greens Farms
The prolific senior, who registered a game-high 24 points, missed both.
The second miss was tipped up into the air and out of bounds. After a brief deliberation, the refs signaled it was Storm basketball.
With one more chance, St. Luke’s never blinked.
“We’ve been there before,” Boyce said. “When you play hard, good things happen. We weren’t even worried about me missing those two free throws because we knew we were going to find a way; we refuse to lose.”
St. Luke’s inbounded the ball and Walter Whyte put up a deep jumper that rattled off the rim and into the arms of a waiting Boyce, who converted the layup and gave his team a 73-72 lead with five seconds left.
That score would become final when GFA’s Evan Roteman (13 points) lofted a floater that hit the front of the rim.
“I didn’t even think about it,” Boyce said of his reaction to his put-back. “I wanted to get back on defense because the game wasn’t over. When I go to sleep I think I’m going to realize that was a big shot, that was the difference between winning or losing.”
At the half, St. Luke’s held a 39-34 lead, but the second stanza would prove to be one of run after run between the two rivals.
At 41-41 St. Luke’s (17-1, 12-0 FAA) went on a mini 5-0 run, but GFA rallied to take a 49-46 lead on a Roteman 3-pointer.
The Dragons’ (15-4, 9-3) outburst would extend to 17-4 before Storm coach Drew Gladstone called a timeout trailing 58-50.
“We just talked about understanding that this is a game of runs and they were going to go on theirs,” Gladstone said. “We just had to buckle down, eliminate the 3 and the second-chance points, and we would claw our way back.”
St. Luke’s bounced back with a 9-0 run, fueled by two steals and a big 3 from Jackson Ryan that brought the packed crowd at St. Luke’s to its feet.
GFA had five players in double-digits, led by Sunday Okeke’s 18.
“We didn’t give him a lot of rest for a reason,” GFA coach Doug Scott said. “And he did well.”
Close losses to St. Luke’s seem to be the norm for the Dragons, who dropped a 62-60 thriller to the Storm in early December.
“The thing about these FAA games, is you play everyone twice in the regular season and the really big game is the third game,” said Scott of a potential third matchup in the FAA tournament, “So we’re like how much do we show, how much do we do? And we played hard, we played with them, it’s a one possession game every time we play so it’s fun.”
Coming off its first loss of the season — an 86-67 defeat at the hands of AA Master’s School — St. Luke’s wanted to return to its winning ways in a hurry.
“One is a little hit on the ego, so you want to bounce back,” Gladstone said. “We bounced back strong. Obviously you want a big win, but to grind out a win at the end is equally satisfying.”
Lost in the shuffle of the back-and-forth contest, was that Whyte scored 22 points, giving him 1,361 for his career and making him St. Luke’s All-Time leading scorer.
ST. LUKE’S 73,
GREENS FARMS ACADEMY 72
GREENS FARMS ACADEMY (15-4, 9-3 FAA)
Evan Roteman 4 1-1 13 Cole Prowitt-Smith 4 0-0 10 Greg Lawrence 5 3-4 13 Henry Holzinger 7 0-0 15 Bennett Close 0 0-2 0 Sunday Okeke 8 2-4 18. Totals: 28 6-11 72
ST. LUKE’S (17-1, 12-0)
GREENS FARMS ACADEMY 34 38—72
ST. LUKE’S 39 35—73
3-pointers: GFA—Roteman 4, Prowitt-Smith 2, Holzinger 3; STL—Boyce, Varoli, Harper, Ryan, Selvala 2, Whyte 2.