By Jerry Del Priore
When Bishop Kearny senior Casey O’Shaughnessy went down with a twisted ankle and the Lady Tigers were ahead, 45-37, with 6:25 left in the fourth quarter, it was easy to feel that their advantage over Millennium might be slipping away from its collective grasp.
But Bishop Kearny (4-2) didn’t buckle down the stretch, as it dribbled away with the hard-fought 58-50 win over the Lady Phoenix (5-1) at the Msgr. John Brown Girls Basketball Tournament Wednesday night at St. Thomas Aquinas Gym in Marine Park, Brooklyn.
However, there was a real moment that felt the Lady Phoenix had a chance of mounting a comeback.
Sophomore point guard Isabella Park sliced the deficit to 45-42 with 5:40 remaining in the game.
But junior Emily Perry nailed a basket approximately a minute later that spurred a 13-8 Lady Tiger run that sealed the tilt for the Bensonhurst squad.
While losing O’Shaughnessy, who was also playing with the flu, for the contest and an undetermined amount of time, head coach Rocco Sellitto said it tested his team’s mettle, which it passed with flying colors.
“In a way, that was a good test for us,” the 15-year coach said. “It was a tight game, back and forth. We always put the game on her shoulders. It was good that the other girls had to step up and finish the game without her.”
The Lady Phoenix jumped out to a 13-8 lead in the first period, with senior Laila Ward scoring eight points.
Bishop Kearny battled back, overtaking Millennium, 26-23 — behind 12 and six points by O’Shaughnessy and senior Kathleen Egan, respectively — going into the locker room.
The third quarter saw a back-and-fourth skirmish, with the score tied at 32 with 4:33 to go in the period.
But Egan drained a basket that gave the Lady Tigers a two-point advantage and sparked a 11-5 run to close out the quarter with Bishop Kearney ahead, 47-43.
Egan dropped a game-high 23 points and O’Shaughnessy, who Sellitto said has two Division II offers on the table, contributed 22 in the victory before being sidelined.
Ward led the Lady Phoenix with 13 points and junior Brianna Ingram chipped in with 11 in defeat.
Bishop Kearny returns to play in the finals of the tournament Sunday at 7:00 p.m. at St. Thomas Aquinas Gym.
Watch video of Lady Phoenix Raven Richardson scoring a basket underneath the hoop below:
Watch senior Casey O’Shaughnessy play great defense, redirecting shot.