Above: Gerstell Academy’s (from left) Anthony Carpenter, Karell Booker, Colin Rimel helped the Falcons pick up a tough win at Curley.

Falcons, however, fall short in tie-breaker will enter the playoffs as the third seed

by Joe DiBlasi

Friday night was senior night at Archbishop Curley and the Friars came close to knocking off Gerstell Academy before a packed house, in a game that the Falcons had to have to remain in the chase for the top seed the MIAA B conference basketball standings.

Coach Ben Thompson’s team prevailed 65-62
in a pressure packed game in a playoff atmosphere. The Falcons achieved a first-place tie in the league, with Severn and Indian Creek, but unfortunately for them, they will enter the playoffs as the third seed.

All traditional MIAA tie-breaks between the top three teams failed to solve the tie. This averted the tie-break to a basketball specific tie-break in the MIAA, least points allowed in head-to-head games. Under this criteria, Severn took the top seed with 185 points allowed. Indian Creek was second with 235 points and Gerstell was third with 249.

The Falcons had a 36-32 lead at the half and they were up by 50-45 after three quarters of play when the Friars made things interesting.

Travis Dobbins nailed a three and four free throws in the final stanza and Brendan Medley-Bacon hit a free throw with 4:25 to go in regulation to tie the game at 53-53.

The Falcons senior leader Colin Rimel answered with a trey to give Gerstell a 56-54 lead with 3:12 left on the clock.

In the ensuing 30 seconds, Dobbins hit a free throw and Bacon scored inside to tie the game again at 56-56 before the Falcons Ahmed Harrington hit two free throws on the other end to give his team a 58-56 lead.

Bacon would go to the line again for Curley and hit a free throw to pull the Friars within one.

The Falcons (17-10 overall, 13-3 MIAA B) then missed a jumper and Curley got the ball with a chance to take the lead with less than a minute to play in regulation.

Gerstell freshman Karell Booker stole the ball at half court and raced to the bucket and hit a layup and got fouled. He calmly converted the three-point play to give the Falcons a 61-57 lead with 39 seconds left.

Dobbins answered with two free throws on the other end, to bring Curley within two again with 29 seconds left, but Harrison, Rimel, and Anthony Carpenter combined to make four three throws down the stretch that allowed the Falcons to hang on and get the win.

Booker said, “I was able to anticipate where they were going with the ball I took it away and laid it up.”

The Falcons got a boost from Rimel, who missed a couple of games last week due to illness. The sharp-shooting senior finished with 14 points and his teammate junior Anthony Carpenter threw in 14, and Booker finished the night with 12 points.

The Friars were led by Brandon Knapp and Dobbins,
who each finished with 14.

“It was a great effort from Curley,” said Thompson. “Coach Hahn does an excellent job. They are always prepared to play; they play you tough and they play hard on every possession.

“We got some critical stops late and hit some free throws at the end of the game that proved to be the difference.”

Thompson also had high praise for Rimel, who will play at York College in the fall.

“He leads by example, and we missed him when we lost a couple of games without him.”

Rimel said, “I owe a lot to my teammates who had to pick up the slack while I was out. We had a great team performance tonight in a win that we had to have to ensure at least a tie for first place in the conference. Curley played us very tough. The atmosphere was incredible and I’m glad we were able to come away with a victory.”

Carpenter said the win meant a lot.

“I remember last year when we missed the playoffs and I didn’t want to feel that again. Our defense was the key. They have great players and we had to play great and defend to win.”

Curley coach Phil Hahn was proud of the effort that he got from his Friars.

“I thought both teams played great tonight,” said Hahn. “Even though we didn’t pull it out, I told my guys that we proved that we can play with anybody in the league. We’re finally healthy and we’re looking forward to the playoffs.”

Both Gerstell and Curley will play in quarterfinal games on Tuesday. Gerstell will host sixth-seeded St. John’s Catholic Prep, which clinched the final playoff slot on Friday with a 66-63 home win over Chapelgate Christian.

Curley (13-12 overall, 8-8) will visit fourth-seeded and defending champion St. Paul’s. The Friars and Crusaders split two regular season meetings.

Top-seeded Severn and second-seeded Indian Creek will have first round byes and host semifinal games next Thursday.

GER 16 20 14 15 — 65
AC 17 15 13 17 — 62
GERSTELL: Witt 6, Harrison 8, Washington 8, Carpenter 14, Rimel 14, Tillery 3, Booker 12.
ARCHBISHOP CURLEY: Dobbins 14, Johnson 8, Medley-Bacon 8, Massenburg 4. Knapp 14, Draper 9, Price 5.