Jays Save Best for Last, But It’s Not Quite Enough to Pull Upset
To say the Jesuit basketball team had a tough task ahead of them on Thursday, Feb. 18 would have been an understatement. With no hope of post-season play, the Jays traveled to St. Augustine for a date with a Purple Knight squad that was sporting an 11-0 district record, celebrating Senior Night, and looking to clinch a first-round home game in the playoffs.
A lesser team might have phoned it in gone home for the year. But not these Jays. Jesuit was actually within one point with under a minute to play before St. Augustine started sinking free throws to pull away for a 47-39 win.
Neither team played particularly well in the first half. Fortunately, junior Hunt Conroy provided enough of an offensive spark to keep Jesuit within striking distance.
St. Augustine extended its seven-point halftime advantage to an eleven-point margin by the end of the third quarter, giving themselves a 38-27 advantage heading into the final eight minutes.
Almost seven of those eight minutes would elapse before they scored again.
Those seven minutes were arguably Jesuit’s best of the year, a combination of tenacious defense and deadly three-point shooting. Junior Collin Kulivan sandwiched two three-pointers around one by Hunt Conroy and suddenly it was 38-36 with 2:26 left on the clock.
Another minute would elapse before St. Augustine finally hit a bucket to go up 40-36, but freshman Elijah Morgan answered for Jesuit with a three-pointer to cut the margin to one point with 55 seconds remaining.
Alas, that’s as close as the Jays were able to get. St. Augustine drained seven of eight free throws down the stretch while Jesuit simply ran out of offensive luck.
Conroy led all scorers on the night with 14 points. Morgan and Kulivan each had six. Senior Mark Beebe pulled down a team-high five rebounds.
Jesuit finishes the season with a record of 11-17 (6-6 in district).