Late turnovers cost Conwell-Egan boys basketball in loss to Constitution (VIDEO)

PHILADELPHIA – Just as the saying goes, two out of three ain’t bad, Conwell-Egan Catholic (CEC) came up just short in its bid to win all three of its holiday tournament games over the Christmas break.

Facing PIAA Class A defending champ Constitution yesterday (Dec. 30) in the Pete and Jameer Nelson Classic at Chestnut Hill College, the defending PIAA Class AA Eagles came close. Egan even held a 39-34 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The Philly Public League Generals came up with a whopping 24 points in the final frame however, outpacing the Eagles, 58-53 at Sorgenti Arena.

Just two days earlier, CEC captured the Doug Hice bracket trophy in the PrimeTime ESCIT Christmas Tournament held annually at Trenton Catholic. In that tournament, the Eagles got past John Bartram 46-35 on Dec. 27 before outpacing the host team 38-25 on Dec. 28.

Egan got off to a slow start in this one however and trailed Constitution 10-5 after one period of action. However, Danny Green, Darien Simmons, Kar’ron Johnson, Vinnie Dalessandro and Lapri McCray-Pace – who led the Eagles with 22 points in the game – each hit shots from the floor, helping Egan out to a 21-14 edge with 2-and-a-half minutes to go in the quarter. Both McCray-Pace and Green hit three-balls in the period and Dalessandro added a pair of free throws.

However, junior Tamir Green teamed up with senior Anthony Satchell in forcing a flurry of CEC turnovers late in the period, helping the Generals to a 7-0 run registered before the halftime buzzer that tied the game at 21-all at the break.

“We controlled about 26 minutes of the game – all but the last three minutes of the second quarter and the last four minutes of the fourth quarter,” explained Egan head coach Frank Sciolla.

“Give them credit, they have some good experience in their backcourt and that’s what we need to pick up.

“We have three guys who have never been in that situation before and that was indicative in some of the decisions we made down the stretch.”

Turnovers committed by some of the new faces on the CEC varsity squad were a problem any time Constitution mounted a scoring run.

“Guys who haven’t been there before get sped up,” added Sciolla.

“But we’re 7-2 and a lot of people thought we were going to fall off the ledge.

“Our shot selection has to be better and we have to be more secure with passes and we have to coach that. It all comes with experience.”

Trailing by five heading into the fourth quarter, the Generals took a 44-42 lead less than halfway into the final frame with help from a 3-ball and a pair of free throws by Satchell along with a pair of field goals by 6-8 senior Khalif Kroma.

From there, Constitution turned up the heat with Tamir Green going coast to coast after a steal on several baskets. Two of his buckets were one-handed shots tossed off the glass from seemingly impossible angles.

“They were able to score points when they didn’t have to play against our defense,” stated Sciolla. “When they had to play against our defense, we were doing a really good job.”

“We do a good job positionally and the kids did that. But the one pass was a blind pass and it shot the gap, another blind pass and all of a sudden – boom-boom.”

Still, Egan trailed just 48-46 with 3:04 remaining in regulation after a driving layup by pace off a feed from Johnson. Up by four points with 1:25 left in the game, the Generals closed it out on the foul line, making nine of 14 from the charity stripe in the final frame.

NOTES: Seniors Lapri McCray-Pace (Conwell-Egan) and Anthony Satchell (Constitution) were named Players of the Game.

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Constitution 58, Conwell-Egan 53

(Dec. 30 at Chestnut Hill College)

Conwell-Egan 5 16 18 14 – 53

Constitution 10 11 13 24 – 58

CONWELL-EGAN — James Leible 4, Danny Green 3, Darien Simmons 4, Kar’ron Johnson 4, Lapri McCray-Pace 22, Vinnie Dalessandro 13, Eric Esposito 3; TOTALS — 19 11-14 53.

3-POINT GOALS — McCray-Pace 2, Esposito, Green.

CONSTITUTION — Tamir Green 20, Jamaal Brown 3, Anthony Satchell 21, Khalif Kroma 7, Maurice Waters 4, Nasir Randolph 3; TOTALS — 20 11-19 58.

3-POINT GOALS — Green 2, Satchell 3, Brown, Randolph.

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