McCloskey, Longino lead Germantown Academy past ANC in PAISAA 1st round

FORT WASHINGTON >> Basketball has always been a release for Kyle McCloskey and Evan-Eric Longino.

The two Germantown Academy seniors, the driving force behind this year’s surge to a fifth straight Inter-Ac title, have always been able to use the game as an outlet during a tough time. It’s been a tough week for everyone at GA after beloved teacher Peter McVeigh passed away on Feb. 7 after a battle with cancer.

McVeigh was an ardent supporter of the basketball team and when the Patriots took the court for the first time since his passing, they wanted to play with the kind of effort that would honor his memory. As they’ve done all season, McCloskey and Longino carried the load on offense, their teammates filled in the other areas and GA handled a young ANC team 66-49 in the first round of the PAISAA tournament Wednesday evening.

“It’s been an extremely difficult time for my guys emotionally,” GA coach Jim Fenerty said. “We found out he had passed right after our Malvern (Prep) game where we clinched the Inter-Ac. We’ve been practicing but they’re competitors and they brought it. I was glad to see them jump on (ANC) early because I think ANC is a talented team, they’re just young.”

McCloskey, who was named Inter-Ac MVP earlier this week, scored 33 points to lead his No. 4 seeded team to a hard-fought win over the No. 13 Lions. The senior, who is committed to play football at Villanova, scored 21 in the first half while Longino scored 13 of his 22 points after halftime.

ANC, which has no senior or juniors on its roster, gave it a good fight and chopped a double-digit GA lead down to eight at one point in the second half before Longino and McCloskey took over. Cam Thompson paced the Lions with 13, scoring 10 in the third quarter as he tried to keep his team within striking distance.

But like the Inter-Ac found out during GA’s six-game win streak to end league play, it’s pretty to hard to top their senior scoring combo.

“Today we knew we had to play defense, rebound and run,” McCloskey said. “We knew it was going to be hard for them to stick with us on a fast break and we knew that they couldn’t really handle our size and strength inside. It was get the ball out, get stops and get going.”

The Lions look for most of their offense of jump-shots but they set those up with penetration, drives and pick-and-rolls. Longino said the key defensively was keeping the ANC guys from penetrating too much and drawing the extra defenders that lead to kick-outs for open looks.

“They have some guards that can really penetrate the lane well and finish at the basket so we wanted them to shoot more jump shots,” Longino said. “Not only can they go to the rim, but when they penetrate, we have to go help and it’s very difficult to defend shooters but I thought we did a good job of helping and defending a team like that.”

McCloskey added six rebounds, three blocks and an assist and a steal to his line while Longino had six boards and four assists. Their teammates chipped in across the board with some timely hoops and in other areas. Senior Cole Storm had six points and three assists while Andrew Towne had two steals.

GA (21-6) has started its five seniors most of the season but Fenerty has also lauded the play of the young guys off the bench.On the glass, senior Josh Brownstein had a nice game with 10 rebounds and a block, playing his quiet but needed role. The other guys know McCloskey and Longino are the offense but the team has such a good relationship nobody cares who is filling what role.

“They’re playing the game the right way, they’re playing it because they love playing the game,” Fenerty said. “We said before the game, for this two-hour period, let’s put all the other things aside and let’s just play that game they’ve been playing since they were kids and that I’ve been coaching since Noah built the Ark.”

Germantown Academy’s Evan-Eric Longino goes for a shot past Academy of the New Church’s Devin Bryant during their PAISAA fist round game on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

McCloskey was 8-of-11 in the first half and finished 12-of-18 for the game, hitting five 3-point shots. He said the key to his big game was just seeing the ball go through the net a couple times early on. Naturally, ANC shifted its defense toward him in the second half, so the senior told his running mate to go to work.

“Once I find that rhythm, it’s hard to break out of it and that’s good for me,” McCloskey said. “I went up to Evan and said ‘Take over.’ I know when they key on me, he can take over and that’s what he did.”

“This is our fourth year together so we know what to do,” Longino said. “We know how to score, we know how to win and we know how to get each other the basketball equally. When one is getting doubled, we get it to the other one.”

GA led 32-20 at half and it would have been more if not for a steal and 3-pointer by ANC’s Devin Bryant right before the buzzer. The Patriots held a 44-36 edge after three but lost the quarter 16-12 thanks to Thompson’s outburst on offense.

ANC’s David Robinson made it an eight-point game with 6:32 left, and the Lions later got within nine on Louie Wild-DiOrio’s free throws with 4:51 left. But GA scored the next seven points, five by Longino and put the game away on five straight points by McCloskey, capped by a dunk with 1:51 left in the game.

GA faces Inter-Ac rival Penn Charter in the quarterfinals. Fenerty said the game will take place next week, most likely Monday, due to GA hosting McVeigh’s viewing and memorial service Friday and Saturday.

“It’s a release,” McCloskey said. “I was really close to Mr. McVeigh, he was a big influence on my life so it’s been a tough week. Basketball has been a release all through my life and especially in hard times, it’s something where I can come out on the court, have fun and let a little steam off and focus my energy on one thing.”

“Every couple of games this year and last year, he’d send us an email just saying how great we were playing and to keep playing hard, playing smart and playing together,” Longino said. “The fact we continued to play hard, it shows we’re able to keep going hard through everything that’s happened and we’re doing him right by doing what we’ve been doing.”

Germantown Academy 66, Academy of the New Church 49
Academy of the New Church 14 6 16 13 – 49
Germantown Academy 16 16 12 22 – 66
Academy of the New Church (49): Cam Thompson 3 5-6 13, Devin Bryant 2 0-0 6, Louie Wild-DiOrio 2 5-6 10, David Robinson 0 4-4 4, Isaac Marshall 3 0-0 6, Eli Smith 3 0-1 6, AJ Thomas 1 0-0 2. Nonscoring: Jaronski, Kenny. Totals: 14 14-17 49.
Germantown Academy (66): Kyle McCloskey 12 4-9 33, Evan-Eric Longino 9 4-6 22, Cole Storm 2 0-0 4, Josh Brownstein 1 1-2 3, Khalil Ashley-Diarrah 1 0-2 2, Zach Anderson 0 2-2 2, Hans Lillis 0 0-2 0. Nonscoring: Towne, Basile, Smith, D’Ambrosio, Adames, Dion, Traina, Keys. Totals: 24 11-23 66.
3-pointers: ANC – Thompson 2, Bryant 2, Wild-DiOrio; GA – McCloskey 5.

Top Photo:  Germantown Academy’s Kyle McCloskey and Josh Brownstein break up a shot by Academy of the New Church’s David Robinson during their PAISAA first round game on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. (Bob Raines/Digital First Media)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply