MORRISVILLE – It’s a tough assignment when you go up against a team like Holy Ghost Prep (HGP) without all of your weapons. The Bulldogs faced that adversity Thursday night facing the perennial boys basketball powerhouse Firebirds.
Sparked by 6-5 junior Sean Sylvester (19 pts.), Holy Ghost led 28-14 at the half on their way to a 57-27 triumph in a Bicentennial Athletic League (BAL) contest Dec. 21 at Morrisville.
The Bulldogs were without senior Andrew Ortiz, who is averaging 14.7 points-per-game this season.
“I thought we competed but we’re small,” said Bulldogs head coach Orick Smith.
“When you’re missing almost 15 points out of your lineup against a very good team that we played against tonight, you can see the difference.”
Morrisville’s scoring effort was led by 5-7 senior Isaiah McDavidson, who led the ‘Dawgs with 11 points, including a pair of baskets from 3-point range.
But Morrisville struggled to make shots, while the Firebirds put on a shooting clinic in the first and third periods, canning 7-of 12 attempts in the initial frame and 6-of-11 in the third period, taking a 44-23 lead into the last stanza.
The Bulldogs, meanwhile, poured just six of 24 shots into the basket in the first half, all the while, struggling to get to the rim.
“You have to look at it from a size standpoint,” said Smith. “Our guards are 5-7, 5-8, 5-9 and they’re driving the ball into the paint and they’re running into guys who are 6-2, 6-3, 6-4.
“Instead of getting a good clean look for a layup, we’re getting a running one-handed push shot and sometimes, we settled for the three.
“Most of the time when we get those open looks, they go in; they just weren’t going in tonight.”
Leading 15-7 after the first period, it was Holy Ghost which started settling for 3-point shots in the second period – with negative results. The Firebirds shot just 3-for-17 in the second quarter, mostly from behind the arch.
“Sometimes, kids think, ‘the game’s over’ and it becomes like a schoolyard game and we just totally got out of rhythm,” said HGP head coach Tony Chapman. “To Morrisville’s credit, they hung in there, they got some rebounds and they hung around.
“I was not real happy at halftime and we talked about it. The second half, our shot selection was better.”
Once again, Sylvester was a dominant force for Ghost. The birds’ leading scorer registered 13 of his game-high 19 points in the first half including four shots from the floor in the initial frame.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by HGP starting forward Jack Rittenmeyer and reserve guard Tyler Mish put Holy Ghost on top 23-11 less than two minutes into the second quarter. Rittenmeyer sparked his team with a pair of threes in the second quarter and Sylvester added four shots from the foul line, though the Firebirds really couldn’t get anything else to go before heading into the locker room.
After the break, Morrisville junior Favian Lopez tried to ignite his team with an opening 3-point play. Coming two minutes into the second half, it narrowed the Bulldogs’ gap to 14 points.
“Favian is tough,” said Smith. “He’s my point guard. He leads our team in assists; he averages seven assists a game and he also leads our team in rebounding.”
Holy Ghost, meanwhile, reversed field in the third period and took the ball to the basket. A pair of field goals each from Sylvester, senior Jack Elliot and junior Greg Calvin put the ‘birds on top by 21 by the time the third period was over.
Putting a dent in the Bulldogs’ cause was an apparent bucket by junior Samod Levett waved off on an offensive foul called by officials. The refs also discounted a basket by Lopez in the first half, citing the same reason.
“It was one of those off games for us but we’ll be back,” said Smith. “I’m very confident that we’ll be able to compete this year in the BAL.”
Morrisville kicked off the season with a pair of losses in the Coaches vs. Cancer Tipoff Tournament Dec. 8 and 9 at Bristol High School.
Playing without Lopez in the opener, the Bulldogs lost 33-22 to upstate rival Sayre. With Lopez back facing the host team the second day of the tourney, the ‘Dawgs actually took a lead into the final frame only to come up short on the final tally.
More recently, Morrisville posted back-to-back wins over Calvary Baptist and Friends Select, outpacing the Warriors, 58-43 and the Falcons, 50-46.
“We’re a team that’s still learning how to win and we played very well those two games,” said Smith. “Once we started putting all the pieces together – when we had everybody – we were fine.”
Holy Ghost took a lead into the final frame facing Suburban One League (SOL) rival Neshaminy only to come up short in the final score. Leading 36-30, the birds just could not fend off Chris Arcidiacono, who led his team to a 48-45 win Dec. 16 at Chapman Gym.
After a 2-3 start, Ghost is now on the positive side of the win-loss ledger however, posting back to back wins over BAL rivals Devon Prep and now, Morrisville.
Holy Ghost Prep 57, Morrisville 27
(Dec. 21 at Morrisville)
Morrisville 7 7 9 4 – 27
Holy Ghost 15 13 16 13 – 57
MORRISVILLE (2-4) — Favian Lopez 6, Samod Levett 2, Breon Hines 2, Felix Feliciano 4, Luis Colon 2, Isaiah McDavidson 11; TOTALS — 11 3-5–27.
HOLY GHOST PREP (4-3) — Sean Sylvester 19, Greg Calvin 6, Steve Cianci 2, Marco Dimitriatis 5, Jack Elliot 6, Sean Elliott 4, Tyler Mish 3, Kevin Morrison 4, Jack Rittenmeyer 6, Greg Sylvester 2; TOTALS — 20 12-13–57.
3-POINT GOALS: M — McDavidson 2; HGP — Rittenmeyer 2, Sean Sylvester, Mish, Dimitriatis.
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