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Hopkins beats Mahar 53-52 at mercy of failed shot at the buzzer

  • Justin Ciaglo, from left, of Hopkins Academy, wrestles with Mahar’s Matthew Jenks and Quinn Gervais for possession of a loose ball in the first half, Monday in Orange. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Mahar’s Sam Paul, right, goes in for a layup over Hopkins defender John Earle in the second half, Monday at Grzesik-Bixby Gym in Orange. Hopkins won 53-52. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Mahar's Sam Paul (13) moves in for a shot against Hopkins defender John Earle (13) in the second half, on Monday, Feb. 19, 2018 at Grzesik-Bixby Gym in Orange. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Mahar's Quinn Gervais (22) hits a jumper in the second half against Hopkins, on Monday, Feb. 19, 2018 at Grzesik-Bixby Gym in Orange. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Mahar's Sam Paul (13) puts up a three-point attempt in the second half against Hopkins, on Monday, Feb. 19, 2018 at Grzesik-Bixby Gym in Orange. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Mahar's Brennan Mailloux (11) hits a jumper guarded by Hopkins defender Nathan Kelley (14) in the first half, on Monday, Feb. 19, 2018 at Grzesik-Bixby Gym in Orange. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

  • Mahar's Brennan Mailloux (11) jumps up for a rebound against Hopkins' Jonathan Morrison (25) in the first half, on Monday, Feb. 19, 2018 at Grzesik-Bixby Gym in Orange. Recorder Staff/Dan Little



Sports Writer
Tuesday, February 20, 2018

ORANGE — The crowd, which sat shoulder to shoulder, all stood as the final three seconds showed on the game clock.

Mahar’s Quinn Gervais gathered in the pass from teammate Brennan Mailloux, launched a shot just within the 3-point arc and watched the ball hit the rim twice and bounce out as time expired, letting Hopkins Academy sneak away with a 53-52 win on the Senators’ senior night, Monday.

“Quinn had a good look at it, a tough shot, but you know, just back iron,” said Mahar coach Chad Softic. “We’ve got to play basketball for 32 minutes. We did it for 16 tonight. Love the passion, the energy, I’ve been begging for it all season.”

The Senators went into the quarter down by 16 points at 47-31. They fought back and outscored the Golden Hawks 21-6 in the fourth quarter, including a 19-4 run to end the game.

“That looked like desperation basketball. I’ve been asking for it,” said Softic. “I think the guys finally understand what the word urgency means. I was proud of them. I know we got beat, but I was really proud of the effort.”

Leading up to Gervais’ shot, Mailloux gathered in a high, bouncing rebound in the offensive zone after the Golden Hawks’ Justin Ciaglo fired a shot from beyond the arc with the shot clock expiring. He took the ball up court and dished it off to Gervais, who had an open look but was without time, having only three seconds to plant and release a shot.

“I was actually asking for a timeout quick but pulled it back because we got it into the front court and Brennan got the ball up the floor — quick look and that’s all you can do,” Softic said. “Guys getting back in transition, I thought that would be our best shot.”

The Senators battled back after being down by 16 points within the final six minutes of play. They outscored the Golden Hawks 19-4 during that stretch, when senior Matt Jenks contributed seven points, a much-needed steal and a couple of rebounds that led to Senator points.

“He was composed,” said Softic. “He plays with energy, but he played composed. He wasn’t turning the ball over. He caught the ball head up, then he made his move. He wasn’t spinning into traffic. He was just composed. When he plays composed, he’s really, really good.”

Jenks started the drive with a 2-foot jumper within the paint to move the deficit to 14 at 49-35 Hopkins. Sam Paul added a free throw, while Jenks added another and Gervais netted a three — his second on the year — to move things to within eight at 49-41. John Earle netted a pair of free throws for Hopkins with 4 minutes, 20 seconds left to move his team’s lead back to 10 points. Mahar’s Ryan Donaldson responded with a 3 from the right side with a hand in his face to move to within seven at 51-44.

Paul then connected on a layup through traffic to move to 51-46. Ciaglo netted a layup, making it 53-46. Mailloux netted a jumper from within the paint, followed by a layup by Jenks with 51 seconds left and another one all alone from underneath the hoop to move within one point with 38 seconds left.

“I’m just really happy with the effort,” said Softic. “You’ve got Jenks diving on the floor, Brennan, Ryan Donaldson comes out of nowhere, does some good things, and we just scrapped. We scrapped the best we could.”

The Senators trailed 41-37 by the end of the third quarter and 25-18 at halftime. They trailed 11-4 at the end of the first quarter. Mahar failed to score within the first five minutes of the game, as the Golden Hawks were able to gather in all but one rebound during that time. Mahar brought the game to within four at 20-16 with 2:10 left in the second quarter, but went 0-for-4 from beyond the arc during that span.

Mahar finished the year 13-7 and will await its playoff seeding, which will be announced on Saturday, at noon at Springfield Central.


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