Jays Rally Past Raiders, 66-63
It was a game of rallies in the Birdcage on Friday night, and the Blue Jay basketball team rallied at the right moments to surge past the Rummel Raiders, 66-63.
Although the Raiders rallied first, going up 7-0 in the first four minutes of play, the Jays showed their resolve with two end of quarter rallies in the first half.
The first quarter rally started with a rebound put-back by Michael Hull and a three pointer by Hunt Conroy, ending a four minute dry spell at the start of the contest. But the Jays still trailed 5-13 with 1:50 on the clock, when senior Chris Beebe got the hot hand, beginning with a 15 foot jumper which was followed by an immediate three pointer. That momentum forced a Raider turnover and another basket. In a few moments, the Jays were back in the game 12-13 at the end of the quarter.
After another three pointer by Beebe at the beginning of the second quarter, the Jays took the lead, 15-13, and never looked back. The Blue Jay rally continued through the quarter as the Jays posted an impressive 24 points in the period. Will Hillery contributed a couple of shots from the paint, and Beebe and Conroy found their stroke as jump-shots after jump-shot found nothing but net.
The Jays posted an impressive 64 percent from the field on the night, going 6 for 11 from behind the three point line. The first half rally culminated with a Hunt Conroy jumpshot with five second left in which he drew a foul, made the shot, and drained the free throw, sending the Jays into the locker room with a 36-28 halftime lead.
Although Rummel outscored Jesuit in the third quarter, the Jays maintained a steady flow of offense by getting open looks under the basket. The quarter ended with the Jays catching Rummel sleeping on an inbound pass, lobbing the ball in to Collin Kulivan for a touch layup as the clock expired.
Entering the fourth quarter with just a three point lead, the Jays quickly pushed ahead by getting great shots in transition in the lane. Sitting comfortably 10 points ahead with just under 1:30 to play, the Jays victory seemed a foregone conclusion. But Rummel kept things interesting mounting their last rally of the night.
Hitting a three pointer with 1:12 to play, getting the ball back after missed Jesuit free throws, and scoring a three point play on a foul plus the basket, the Raiders narrowed the lead to four with 49 ticks remaining.
But the Blue Jays showed their grit by making high-pressure free throws, keeping the Rummel rally at bay, and winning the game by three points.
Chris Beebe again led the Blue Jays on offense with a season-high 18 points and eight rebounds. Hunt Conroy contributed 16 points, most of which came from the long-range ball. Will Hillery had a great night as well with 12 points.
The Jays enter the last week of district play, confident off three solid district wins. New offensive weapons have emerged after the injury of sophomore Elijah Morgan, and the team is playing good team basketball. The squad plays at Brother Martin on Tuesday night and returns to the Birdcage against St. Augustine to conclude district play.