Scanlan Climbs Over as Mount Crumbles
BRONX, NY- For the better part of three quarters in Monday afternoons CHSAA showdown between Mount St. Michael and Msgr. Scanlan it was the Mountaineers who were dominating the contest and cruising to a double-digit advantage with just 8 minutes to play.
That's when everything changed as the Crusaders became more aggressive and turned the corner as they turned around a 13-point deficit after three, and behind the 23 points of Ray Glasgow '21 were able to shock Mount St. Michael on the road 65-62.
It was as bad a start as the Crusaders could've imagined as Scanlan went 1-6 from behind the three-point line in the opening quarter while Mount was 3-5 at the outset to take a quick double-digit lead. The worst part of it for Scanlan was the fact that less than five minutes into the game they already had 7 fouls sending the Mountaineers to the FT line with every ensuing foul.
While disappointed with the start, Crusaders head coach Dwayne Mitchell said he felt a lot of the reason for his team's slow start was because of his team's recent travels noting that there is a difference between playing out of the area and playing in tough CHSAA league contests.
"We came back from playing a couple games in Connecticut and sometimes that will fool you because you come back into league and the style is different, the intensity is different and the talent is better," Mitchell explained. "I thought we let down a bit in the first quarter and they came out way more aggressive and the end result was us being down."
The Mount lead only continued to grow as the Mountaineers led by as many as 19 in the second quarter with Mazi Campbell '20 and Tyler Hawkins '22 doing a sensational job creating off the dribble and running out in the open floor, ultimately seeing Mount St. Michael taking a 36-21 lead into halftime.
A tough opening 16 minutes of action had Mitchell preaching to his team that they needed to understand that basketball is a game of two halves even though Dayton commit Koby Brea '20 admitting that some heads were down at first heading into the locker room.
"We went into the locker room and were kind of hanging our heads a bit but coach said don't give up, play defense and the offense will come on its own," Brea said.
Brea started to find his offensive rhythm in the third as he drained a pair of three's, while Glasgow was able to do a good job attacking to the rim and finishing inside, but Mount was doing just as strong a job as the defense still wasn't there for Scanlan as it was a 54-41 lead for the Mountaineers still going to the fourth.
That's when everything changed as Glasgow noted that Scanlan went to more of a full court press trying to throw different looks at Mount St. Michael, and for the first time in the game you could see the tide beginning to shift. The Mountaineers were slowing the game down and settling for shots from the outside winding down the shot clock, while Scanlan was the team now playing faster and with more intensity.
Down by as much as they were some may have found the lead of Mount's being chipped away surprising, but Glasgow said he was confident going into the fourth quarter that good things were going to happen for the Crusaders.
"We got a bunch of warriors around here and we don't fold under pressure. We just keep going until the end and don't quit," Glasgow stated.
Mount held a 60-54 lead with 2:52 to play in the game when Joe Munden '20 pulled up and knocked down a long jumper. That was followed by a quick steal by the Crusaders and a Glasgow three. The relentless pressure was forcing Mountaineer mistakes, and after Brea picked off a pass at midcourt and went down the lane for a basket and a foul it was the culmination of an 8-0 run to give Scanlan their first lead of the game at 62-60 with 1:37 to go.
The run for the Crusaders was pushed up to 10-0 after a Mount miss led to a Glasgow transition finish to make it a two-possession game. All the good that the Mountaineers had done for three quarters was gone as Hawkins did connect on a runner to make it a 64-62 game, but with under 2 seconds to play it was too little too late.
Glasgow went 1 of 2 from the FT line and a full court heave to tie for Mount St. Michael was well short as Msgr. Scanlan put together an epic comeback as they came from 13 down in the fourth quarter to take down the Mountaineers, 65-62.
Getting 23 points from Glasgow and 20 from Brea it was the perfect fourth quarter effort from those two as Scanlan outscored Mount St. Michael 24-8 in the final stanza to fight back for a win that Mitchell said really shows a lot about his team's will and character.
"It was about trusting each other and the work we have been putting in," Mitchell stated. "Basketball is a game of two halves and they won the first half absolutely but we were fortunate that we didn't give up, kept fighting, and were blessed enough to come out with the win."
Campbell and Hawkins each had 13 points apiece to lead Mount St. Michael with Ibrahim Wattara '20 adding 12 points as well in what for three quarters was a near flawless performance for the Mountaineers, with a rough fourth quarter costing them the win on Monday.
For Msgr. Scanlan this is the type of game that they can build on. It's now 4 wins in a row overall now for the Crusaders with Glasgow saying he believes they can carry this momentum a long way as they become a sure-fire team to watch the rest of the way in the CHSAA.
"It's all about confidence," Glasgow admitted. "We got the confidence now and after this comeback we are looking to go on a big run."