It was a game that Walsh Jesuit had to win and Archbishop Hoban wanted to win.
“Had to” won out over “want to” on Friday when the visiting Warriors rallied from a small deficit and went on to a 55-48 victory in front of an estimated crowd of 1,300 packed into Barry Gymnasium tighter than two coats of paint.
It was a typical Walsh-Hoban game with several oddities that led to the Knights falling out of the North Coast League lead — which they had shared with Benedictine — and the Warriors keeping their hopes alive for at least a share of the title.
For instance, Hoban scored 12 points in each of the four quarters, prompting coach T.K. Griffith to say, “At least we were consistent.”
Each team made 13 field goals, Hoban’s coming on 38 shots and Walsh’s on 36. Each team made four 3-point baskets. The difference came at the free-throw line, where the Warriors made 17-of-22 attempts to 10-of-17 for Hoban.
The win means the teams split the season series with each winning on the road. Oh, that’s so Walsh-Hoban.
With three games remaining, Benedictine owns sole possession of first place at 6-1 in the NCL. Hoban (13-3, 5-2) stands second and Walsh (11-5, 4-3) is third.
“Now, we’ve at least got a chance,” Walsh coach John Norris said after posing for a picture with his 12 seniors. “If we don’t win tonight, we’re out of it.”
The game could also carry some weight when the teams gather for the sectional-district tournament pairings meeting in eight days.
Hoban was led by Anthony Christian’s 12 points, eight rebounds, two blocked shots and two steals. Sophomore Garrett Houser scored eight of his 10 points in the first half, which ended with Hoban on top by two points after having a six-point lead with 3:28 to go. Sophomore Collen Gurley, playing while battling the flu, scored all seven of his points in the first quarter.
As is usually the case, senior Mitch Peterson led the Warriors with 22 points and seven rebounds, scoring nine points and getting four rebounds in the fourth quarter to lead the comeback. Guard Joe Iacobacci finished with nine points and senior Noah Donald finished with nine points and five rebounds, including two huge grabs in the final 1:13.
Hoban had a 46-43 lead with three minutes to go but the Warriors scored nine consecutive points on a Peterson basket, a layup by senior Ben Kanieski — off a nice feed from Peterson — and a combined five free throws by Peterson and Donald.
“At times, I think we’re still looking for some defensive leadership,” Griffith said. “We tried to scramble the game but Walsh managed the game at their pace.”
Norris attributed that to his team’s defense.
“I thought we did a great job of mixing our defenses, from a man-to-man to a matchup zone,” he said. “This is always a tough place to win, but there is a lot of trust on this team amongst everyone and it showed.”
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