Conwell-Egan boys basketball comes back to claw Cardinal O’Hara (VIDEO)

Conwell-Egan Catholic junior Patrick Robinson, 14, left, is guarded by Cardinal O’Hara senior Jaye’Lyn Peebles (11) in Philadelphia Catholic League boys basketball action Friday night, Jan. 13 on the Lions’ home court, Springfield, Pa.   (Steve Sherman – 21st-Century Media)

SPRINGFIELD (DelCo) – Conwell-Egan Catholic (CEC) junior Patrick Robinson wasn’t the leading scorer for the Eagles in their road win Friday the 13th of January at Cardinal O’Hara but without him, CEC doesn’t drive home from Springfield with a win.

With his team trailing 53-52 and time running out, Robinson ripped the ball out of the hands of Lions junior point guard Taseer Jones and hit a layup to give the Eagles the lead with under a minute to go.

“That was it right there,” said first-year CEC head coach Eric Kindler. “If it’s turned this way or the other, that’s the universal of the entire game.”

“My heart was pounding and I was like, crap, we had so many darn chances and do we capitalize? No, no, no, no – Yes! And then no, no, no and then finally when it mattered – yes!

“There are just some plays that stick out.”

After an O’Hara miss, Robinson then came down the court and canned an insurance layup with less than 30 seconds remaining to earn Egan (6-6, 2-2: PCL) a hard-fought road win and even its record in the Philadelphia Catholic League (PCL) at 2-2.

In a typical Catholic League skirmish that the Eagles nearly trailed from start to finish, Conwell-Egan came out ahead as Lions leading scorer Jaye’Lyn Peebles (14 points) missed on his last two trips down the court.

O’Hara (4-8, 0-4: PCL) lost its eighth game of the season and fourth straight in the PCL, despite holding a 9-point lead after three quarters. That’s because Egan held the home team to just a pair of field goals in the final frame – a driving layup by Peebles and a 3-pointer by junior Garrett Ripp (11 pts.).

The Lions lived by the three-ball in this one – and died with it. O’Hara canned a half-dozen treys in the first half including four in the second period.

“They made plays; time and again, they made plays and we needed to adjust,” said Kindler.

“I really want to credit our guys for their ability to be flexible and make plays of their own.

“We just needed to be in a position at the end of the game – play hard, be consistent and be in a position to win.

“And that’s where we were.”

After the intermission, when it mattered most, the Lions hit just three shots from behind the arc and missed a critical trey in an attempt to tie the game in the final moments.

Trailing by four at the half, the Eagles tried to mount a comeback bid in the third quarter. CEC junior Eric Esposito – who hit for a season high 20 points – had his best period, scoring seven points and classmate James Leible canned a pair of field goals.

Egan was countered by 20 points posted up by O’Hara in the third period, however, including eight by Peebles and six more by junior Brendan Schramm on a pair of 3-pointers.

Robinson came alive with 11 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter and Esposito got open for his fourth 3-pointer to help the visitors’ cause. Leible added three points in the final frame to go with his 12 for the game.

Until Patrick’s last-minute steal and ensuing layup, the Eagles trailed. They had the score tied just twice previous to Robinson’s critical theft – the first time at 12-all on Danny Green’s layup to start the second period and again at 32-all on a driving layup by Leible two minutes into the second half.

O’Hara countered with a 16-7 run to end the third period that put the home team on top, 48-39, heading into the final frame. Back to back jumpers by CO junior Tripp Pierce and Peebles kick-started the scoring string, a pair of 3-pointers by Schramm kept it going and capping off the run was Jones, who drove the lane for an easy layup moments before the third-period buzzer.

Egan countered quickly, starting the final frame off with a 6-0 run, highlighted by a 3-pointer poured in to the basket by Esposito at the top of the key off an inbound pass.

The Eagles kept on coming, piling on with a 7-2 scoring run, capped off with a driving layup by Robinson that left the junior guard sprawled out on the floor. No worries. Patrick dusted himself off in time to top his acrobatic play off with the and-one, putting Egan on top for the first time in the contest, 52-50, with 2:15 to go in the fourth quarter.

Ripp answered right back with a 3-pointer that took the lead right back for the Lions however, and on the Eagles’ next trip up the court, Leible missed a layup from in close.

After a missed shot by Peebles, big James came down with a big defensive rebound at the other end of the court. Dishing the ball off to Esposito, Eric rushed the ensuing shot and it banked wildly off the glass.

A missed shot by Peebles was balanced by missed layup at the other end by Egan. With time down to the seconds and the Eagles trailing by one, it sure looked like this win was going to get away.

That was before the heroics by Robinson, however.

“With this group, we’ve gone from one end to the other – it’s either good shot or bad shot,” explained Kindler. “At the beginning of our season, our bad decisions outweighed our good ones. And as a result, we were losing tough games against really good opponents.

“Here we are in January and now, our good decisions outweigh our bad ones.”

For Egan, the win comes on the heels of its first victory of the season posted Monday, Jan 9 at home in a 47-40 triumph over La Salle. Sophomore Sean Stokes (10 points), Robinson (10) and Esposito (12) recorded double digits for the Eagles. Simmons (7), Leible (6) and Green (2) also chipped in to the win over the Explorers.

The big game with cross-county rival Archbishop Wood (9-3, 3-1: PCL) was Monday, Jan. 16 on Egan’s home court. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they could not keep up with the high-scoring Vikings, who are averaging 71 points per game.

Collin Gillespie (19), Keith Otto (17), Seth Pinkney (12), Karrington Wallace (11) and Matt Cerruti (10) — scored in double figures for Wood. The Vikings made 11 three-pointers and shot 21 of 22 from the foul line.

The Eagles got 26 from Robinson and 18 from James Leible but just one 3-pointer.

After an opening league loss to Father Judge, the Vikings are on a roll with four straight wins over Catholic League opponents including Archbishop Ryan, Archbishop Carroll and Bonner-Prendergast.

Contact Steve Sherman at or @BucksLocalSport on Twitter

Conwell-Egan Catholic 56, Cardinal O’Hara 53

(Jan. 13 at Cardinal O’Hara)

Cardinal O’Hara 12 16 20 5 – 53

Conwell-Egan 10 14 15 17 – 56

CARDINAL O’HARA (4-8, 0-4: PCL) Garrett Ripp 11, Jaye’Lyn Peebles 14, Taseer Jones 5, Chris Johnson 7, Tripp Pierce 10, Brendan Schramm 6; TOTALS — 20 4-4 53.

CONWELL-EGAN (6-6, 2-2: PCL) Danny Green 2, Darien Simmons 6, Patrick Robinson 16, James Leible 12, Eric Esposito 20; TOTALS — 21 10-17 56.

3-POINT GOALS: CO — Pierce 2, Schramm 2, Johnson, Ripp 3, Jones; C-E — Esposito 4.

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