Coming off a two-point home loss to Holy Cross in its District 9-5A opener, Jesuit was on the road Tuesday night at John Curtis.
The Blue Jays bounced back by playing their customary tough man-to-man defense, and this time it was the other team which faltered down the stretch.
Jesuit overcame a three-point deficit with five minutes left by pulling away down the stretch in taking a 37-31 victory.
The victory kept the Blue Jays (6-9, 1-1) in the early hunt with a game coming up Friday against Shaw. Curtis, 6-8 overall, fell to 1-2 in district.
“I think we limited their second-chance points; that was the big thing,” Jesuit coach Chris Jennings said. “And, after we stopped turning the ball over, we got some good shots.”
In a game that was close throughout, Curtis led 27-24 with five minutes left after point guard Devon Benn drove the lane and passed to forward Darnell Jones for a layup.
However, the Jays, patient on offense, scored the next seven points, including four by guard Brendan Conroy, in taking a 31-27 lead with 1:02 remaining. Conroy scored a game-high 16 points.
With the score tied at 27 and the Patriots pressing, the Jays lined up in the backcourt. However, Conroy turned and took off up court for Jesuit’s goal, and guard Mark Beebe fired a baseball pass to him. Conry was fouled and made two free throws with 2:09 left that gave Jesuit the led for good.
Sam Ovella went back door for a basket on the Jays’ next possession, and Conroy sank two free throws with 31.5 seconds left, sealing the outcome.
That finish came after a third quarter in which Jesuit committed six turnovers and missed three free throws. The quarter ended tied at 23.
Jennings pointed to the Blue Jays’ defense, particularly senior guard Mark Beebe, for holding the Patriots’ top players, Kai Morgan and Dawson Crosby, to six points each.
Curtis coach Mike Krajcer, however, said it was a case of missed opportunities by his team. The Patriots missed on two driving shots down the stretch. Krajcer said five missed free throws cost his team in the first half, which ended with Curtis leading 19-18.
“We just went on a little cold streak and missed some easy shots,” said Krajcer, whose team next plays Holy Cross. “We got right to the goal and just couldn’t put the ball in. You miss shots like that in a close game, you lose. We have to find a way to make those shots.”