Senior forward Jaelen Hollinger carried Archbishop Hoban in the final minute as the Knights staved off a late Kenmore attack to win 64-60 on Friday night at home in the season opener.
Leading by three points with less than a minute to go, Hollinger grabbed an offensive rebound off a missed free throw, was fouled and hit both free throws to extend Hoban’s lead to 60-55.
Kenmore senior guard Desean Ballinger hit a jumper to bring the Cardinals within three, but Hollinger was again fouled and hit both free throws. The Cardinals couldn’t respond a second time.
Hollinger finished with a game-high 16 points, including 11 in the second half.
“He’s our most trustworthy guy,” Hoban coach T.K. Griffith said. “He represents everything that Hoban’s about. It was fitting that he was the guy who came through in the end. He’s the hardest worker every day.”
Hoban came away with a win while its go-to scorer, senior guard DeAllen Jackson, struggled shooting from the floor (3-of-16). Jackson still managed to be active enough to finish with 11 points.
“There were some college coaches here to watch DeAllen play and I think he played a little tight,” Griffith said. “He ended up with 11, which is nice, but he only made [three] shots. He tends to make 10 or 11 so that made us look a little stodgy.
“We were somewhat fortunate to pull that out given that DeAllen struggled a bit. He’s carried us in many nights in his 3-4 years here, and he’ll do it again. But other guys carried us and that was good to see.”
Griffith credited junior guard Michael Londa with doing some of the “dirty work” and the “little things needed to do in a win,” and liked what he saw out of freshman forward Anthony Christian. Both Londa and Christian scored 10 points Friday night.
“Anthony was huge off the bench with 10, especially for a freshman,” Griffith said. “Some other guys did some dirty work. It was a good team effort, nice to see other guys step up.”
Ballinger led Kenmore all game with a couple of flashy no-look passes and several key 3-pointers to keep the Cardinals within striking distance. He ended up with a game-high 24 points, including a 30-footer at the final buzzer.
“Desean’s our player,” Kenmore coach Brian Dawson said. “He shot the ball pretty well today but had some turnovers and didn’t have his best game today. He’ll clean that up for our next game.”
A couple of turnovers or not, Griffith was impressed.
“I give credit to him, that was one of the best individual performances I’ve seen,” Griffith said. “Five 3-pointers, 24 points; that was pretty incredible.”
Kenmore junior forward Oshay Vinson scored 14 points, and sophomore Terez Smith scored 11 on a couple of nice runners in the lane.
“We played hard, did a lot of things well,” Dawson said. “We’re a young team and we had some of our youngsters play well. They did beat us on boards, we’re not a big team so we gotta clean that up a little.”
Behind Hollinger and Jackson, Hoban held a significant rebounding advantage during a couple of runs. Still, the Cardinals trailed by only a shot in the game’s final minute.
“We had an opportunity right at the end if we could have made a shot, but we couldn’t put it to sleep,” Dawson said.
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.