Church Farm holds off Holy Ghost Prep

WEST WHITELAND >> It is never easy to look sharp in your first game back after a 17-day break, but it helps to have a point guard like James Lawton to bail you out in a tough situation.

The Church Farm School was holding a five-point lead over Holy Ghost Prep Thursday night after three quarters, and then Lawton took over the game, scoring all seven of his points in the fourth period and dishing out three assists to give the Griffins a hard-fought, 50-46, win over their Bicentennial League rival.

Church Farm never trailed in the game and actually had a 18-9 lead after one quarter, but in the third period, the Griffins scored just three points on one for nine shooting, cutting its lead to 30-25. That’s when the team needed a spark, which Lawton happily provided in the decisive fourth quarter.

“Coach always tells me to get the other guys involved,” Lawton said. “He gives me the keys to the car and I like to have the ball in my hands in those situations. We like to play pressure basketball and tonight was a good win for us.”

Another member of the Griffins (3-1, Bicentennial League, 7-2 overall) who had a big night was 6-foot-10 sophomore Jon Bol Ajak. Ajak tallied a team-high 13 points to go along with 17 rebounds and three blocked shots. Every time Ajak touched the ball, three Firebirds (2-1, 6-3) converged on the Griffins center. On the defensive end, Ajak altered many Firebird shots and completely dominated the lane.

“I usually have two or more guys covering me, but I use it to our advantage by passing the ball and getting the other guys involved,” Ajak said. “Tonight, James came up big at the end of the game for us. Teams like to pack it in against us and when I am double- or triple-teamed, I pass to the other guys and then they have to play straight up.”

Lawton started the period by driving strong to the hole for a 32-25 Griffin lead. After a Holy Ghost miss, Lawton fed Ajak in tight for a 34-25 Griffin advantage. Another Firebird miss led to Lawton scoring on a driving layup to make it 36-25, and it looked like the contest was decided. But, Holy Ghost Prep did not go away easily.

Mike McFadden drained a three-ball — one of six treys by the Firebirds — and Holy Ghost Prep cut the lead to 38-28 with 3:45 to play in the fourth. Lawton came down the floor and scored again to make it 40-28. Holy Ghost Prep outscored the Griffins 21-20 in the final quarter, but an eight for 24 second half shooting output was not enough to catch the Griffins, who led at halftime, 27-20, mainly on the the career high 10 points from Abdul Ogunsanya.

“We were up early but we still looked a little rusty because of the break we had,” said Church Farm coach Marc Turner. “And James played very well int fourth period. He is very tough to stay in front of. And Jon Bol had a good game because he was fighting two and three guys. We were not real sharp but I expected that coming into the game. We will get into a rhythm now.”

HOLY GHOST PREP: Sylvester 3 0-0 6, Elliot 3 4-4 11, Bauer 0 0-0 0, Calvin 2 1-2 5, McFadden 3 3-4 11, Staropoli 5 0-0 13. Totals 16 8-10 46.
CHURCH FARM: Ajak 5 3-5 13, Bryant 0 2-2 2, Lawton 3 1-3 7, Ogunsanya 3 3-4 10, Veniukevicius 3 3-4 10, Kubieckas 3 1-2 8, Gyamfi 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 13-20 50.
Holy Ghost Prep    9    11    5    21 – 46
Church Farm    18    9    3    20 – 50
3-point goals: Elliot, McFadden 2, Staropoli 3, Ogunsanya, Kubieckas, Veniukevicius.

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