The Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School Marauders may have brought their 'A' game from the second quarter on in the first round of the Jim Ellis Shootout at the Pleasant Valley gymnasium Friday night.
But the Marauders' overall performance was termed about a 'C' by first-year head coach Chris Drenning.
This in spite of the fact that BG reached tonight's 5 p.m. boys tournament championship game by posting a 61-49 victory over St. Jean de Brebeuf, a school based in Hamilton, Ontario.
"We played hard, but I don't think we necessarily played very well,'' Drenning said after watching his team improve to 3-1. "Offensively, we were sloppy. We weren't securing the ball, and our shot selection wasn't very good.''
BG came out of the gates slowly, and the score was tied, 12-12 after one quarter. But the Marauders took control by carrying the second period, 14-6, and never looked back.
"They [St. Jean] were playing five guys on the perimeter, and it took us awhile to adjust to that,'' Drenning said. "I thought we did a better job after the first quarter. We had a nice stretch where our pressure defense got us a couple turnovers.''
Senior guard Patrick Irwin converted two of those turnovers into consecutive lay-ups off steals, helping BG bust out to a 21-14 lead.
"Coach was telling us to pressure them coming into this game, and I was doing my best,'' Irwin said. "They lost the ball a couple of times, and I was able to capitalize.''
BG placed three players in double figures, led by senior guard Brandon Drenning's game-high 18 points and four 3-pointers. Sophomore guard Sam McCloskey added 12 points, and Irwin scored 11.
"We have good depth, and we utilized it,'' said Chris Drenning, who got 12 players into the game and watched eight of them score. "We have a lot of kids who can score, and ideally, that's what we like to do. We play some sophomores, some juniors and some seniors.''
Brandon Drenning is Chris' son. Brandon has been working hard on his 3-point game, and it showed Friday. He scored eight points in the second quarter, including a pair of 3-pointers. His 3-ball in the waning seconds of the second period gave BG a 26-18 halftime lead.
"Our tempo was good, and my teammates did some things to open up the game for me,'' Brandon Drenning said. "I've been working on my 3-point shots. That's a very important part of my game.''
It was Friday, helping BG gain separation that lasted into the second half.
St. Jean (4-10) enjoyed good balance as well, led by senior guard Christian Ferracuti's 17 points. Junior guard Lucas Johnson chipped in 14 for the Braves, who also got 11 from senior forward Anjin Marcano.
"We played smart in the first half, but we couldn't buy a basket,'' said St. Jean coach Joe Ferracuti, whose team scored only two field goals in the second quarter. "In the second half, we made a lot of mental mistakes that cost us.''
Ferracuti gave a lot of credit to BG, which led, 43-36 after three quarters.
"They're very well-coached,'' he said. "We'd make a mistake, and they took advantage of it.''
The Marauders out-rebounded St. Jean, 34-21, with senior center Zach Patterson grabbing 11. BG turned the ball over 12 times, but converted 23 of 44 floor shots.
"We definitely did a good job of rebounding,'' Irwin said. "We were able to get the ball, get it up the floor, and get some quick buckets that really changed the game.''
Brandon Drenning expects a good test in the championship matchup today against Fairview of District 10. Fairview advanced by defeating another Ontario entry, Cathedral High, 68-58 in Friday's other first-round boys game.
"It will be a fast-paced, hard-fought game,'' Brandon Drenning said of the championship game. "The Jim Ellis Tournament means something to everybody competing in it.''
ST. JEAN (49): Johnson 4 3-5 14, Ferracuti 8 1-2 17, Puna 1 0-1 3, Marcano 5 0-0 11, Dicenso 0 0-0 0, Lagleva 0 0-0 0, Mohammed 1 0-0 2, Cejes 1 0-0 2, Wilmot 0 0-0 0. Totals - 20 4-8 49.
BISHOP GUILFOYLE (61): Irwin 5 1-3 11, Rickens 1 0-0 2, McCloskey 4 3-4 12, Drenning 6 2-2 18, Patterson 2 0-0 4, Chadbourn 2 2-2 6, Koehle 1 0-0 2, Fulare 2 2-6 6, Wolf 0 0-0 0, Baldessaro 0 0-0 0, Nardelli 0 0-0 0, Brumbaugh 0 0-0 0. Totals - 23 10-17 61.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
St. Jean12 6 18 13 - 49
Bishop Guilfoyle12 14 20 18 - 61
3-point goals: St. Jean 5 (Johnson 3, Marcano, Puna); Bishop Guilfoyle 5 (McCloskey, Drenning 4).
Officials: Jim Klausman, Keith Redfoot, Jim Cushion.
Records: St. Jean (4-10); Bishop Guilfoyle (3-1).
Friday's other games: Boys-Fairview 68, Cathedral High 58. High scorers-Andy Niland and Ben Kocan, Fairview, 22. Jaelin Bailey, Cathedral High, 22. Girls-Delone Catholic 68, Bishop Walsh, Md. 8. High scorer-Maddie Comly of Delone Catholic, 16 points.