Roman Catholic edges Archbishop Wood as Funk and Lundy duel

WARMINSTER >> Archbishop Wood couldn’t have asked for much better on the final possession Friday night.

Down two points to Roman Catholic with the final seconds winding off, the Vikings found Tyree Pickron open in the corner for a 3-pointer. It didn’t go, but Seth Pinkney hustled out the rebound and found scorching-hot Andrew Funk past the arc.

Funk let fly, but it too wasn’t meant to be. The buzzer went off as Roman hung on for a 75-73 win on Wood’s Senior Night in an absolute Philadelphia Catholic League thriller.

“It was really fast-paced, an up and down battle, we obviously would have liked to get a few more stops but we were playing well offensively,” Funk said. “They’re a great team, Seth Lundy was making shots, Lynn (Greer) was making shots, but we have to bear down defensively and get some stops. It was a fun game, we just would have liked to come out on top.”

“In my opinion, this is the best league in the country,” Roman junior Seth Lundy said. “Every night, you don’t know who’s going to win, it’s a battle. We’ve lost by two twice this year, we won by two, won by three. Teams you think you might blow out are scoring 50 points on you and right in the game, you have to be prepared every night.”

Friday showed the best of what the league can offer with two teams stocked with talented players flying up and down the court making the game look easy. Funk was electric, scoring 35 points with five rebounds and six assists, at times single-handedly keeping Wood in the game.

Roman (15-5, 10-2 league) got an equally transcendent showing from Lundy, who poured in 30 points with 12 rebounds and four assists to help the Cahillites keep their hold on the third seed for the upcoming PCL playoffs. Lundy and Funk both had everything rolling in the second half as the Wood senior and the Roman junior spent most of the third and fourth quarter trading buckets.

“We put them on the foul line too much, it hurt us,” Wood coach John Mosco said. “We battled and all I can ask for is for us to keep battling until the end of the game.”

Perhaps as impressive as any of his scores was the job Lundy did rebounding against Wood’s mammoth front line. The 6-foot-7 junior wing, who’s already drawn interest from Virginia, Oregon, Penn State and UConn with more schools putting eyes on him by the week, wouldn’t be denied on the glass.

It’s been a trend for Roman this season that despite going with a five-guard lineup for most of a game, the Cahillites still out-rebound their opposition. They didn’t quite get there on Friday, but the margin was close enough that they were able to turn it and a couple late defensive stands into the difference in the game.

“I’m thinking how do I stop Funk, how do I get the ball out of his hands, he was just terrific,” Roman coach Matt Griffin said. “I credit him, he’s a great player, recognized where the openings were and took advantage.

“Seth’s a competitor, he plays his best when the lights are on and he rises to the occasion. This is his second year playing varsity basketball essentially and he’s learning how to help us win these games. I was very proud of him and when he gets it going, he’s a fun kid to watch.”

Wood (12-8, 7-4) got off to a great start with senior Andrew LaFond, making his first start, burying a pair of 3-pointers and Funk chipping in six points, two rebounds and four assists in the frame. The Vikings scored 23 points in the opening frame and led by seven, but Roman was able to find its way back into the game.

Lundy, who had five points in the first quarter, heated up in the latter half of the second with six points and knew he was going to be able to keep it going after halftime. The junior said he was feeling in warm-ups and he brought out the whole arsenal against Wood, hitting threes, driving and finishing and working in all the spaces between.

“I knew they were going to key on me and that this was a big game for us,” Lundy said. “When I started knocking down shots, I knew it was going to carry over the rest of the game and even when I missed a few shots, I knew to keep on shooting.”

A buzzer-beater by Lynn Greer III at the half cut the Wood lead to 36-34 and Roman took its first lead on a traditional three-point play by Lundy early in the third. It was the start of what would turn into a riveting scoring duel the rest of the way.

With Greer, who dropped in 21 points of his own in a solid performance, playing wingman to Lundy, the duo scored Roman’s first 13 points of the second half for a 47-41 lead. For a moment, it felt like the Cahillites were about to break the game open.

Funk, who didn’t score in the second quarter, found that zone that every basketball player dreams of finding in the second half. The Bucknell recruit went off for 17 points in the third quarter, including five straight after Lundy and Greer’s rampage then the last 10 of the quarter for the Vikings, restoring their lead.

“The basket gets a little bigger but going back and forth like that, you get lost in the heat of the game,” Funk said. “I didn’t know how many points I had and I didn’t know how many he had. I was just looking at the scoreboard and was just focused on winning and I’m sure he’d say the same thing. It’s fun when two guys are going back and forth but I would have liked to get out on the other end.”

Lundy converted prior to the third quarter horn, pulling Roman within 57-53, then started the fourth quarter with what he felt was one of the biggest possessions of the game. After a Wood drive failed to drop, Lundy won the ball off the glass, dribbled to midcourt, then zipped a pass to Hakim Hart for a three.

“To be honest, I wasn’t even thinking about (the duel with Funk), I was focused on helping my team win,” Lundy said. “I knew me scoring the ball and us playing extremely hard defense was going to get the job done. I felt like we played great defense toward the end of the game.”

A hoop by Lundy with 4:21 left put Roman up 62-59 and he and Funk spent the next minute trading scores, with Funk burying a long trey to pull the Vikings within 65-64 with 3:26 to go. Allen Betrand converted a high-degree of difficulty layup, followed by two Greer foul shots for a five point lead but Funk again came to his team’s aid.

His three cut the lead to 69-67, then after a Greer hoop, Funk canned two at the line to get within a bucket again. Wood got a stop then Funk made a terrific pass to senior Seth Pinkney for the game-tying dunk with 1:14 left.

“He was a man on a mission, he played all 32 minutes,” Mosco said. “Our freshman point guard getting in foul trouble and then fouling out, he had to handle the ball a lot and he was guarding their best player. We missed a few at the end, but (Roman) kept battling as well. It’s the same thing every night.”

Lundy drew a shooting foul on the following possession and sank both freebies to put Roman back on top. Funk tried to score on a well-defended drive but couldn’t get it to drop, with Lundy emerging with the rebound.

Betrand, a senior guard heading to Towson, sank a pair at the line for a four-point edge that didn’t last long with Funk getting into the lane and scoring with 25.8 left. The Cahillites couldn’t score on the following possession, missing three shots at the rim with Funk coming out of the scrum and setting up the final sequence.

“Andrew kept us in the game, he was on fire and Tyree shoots probably 45 percent from the corner,” Mosco said. “You live with that three and with Andrew on fire, it was another good look. It’s a tough one.”

Lundy said the Cahillities needed to play a little slower at the end of the game but it was hard to break the high pace on the final few possessions. He was otherwise happy with the outcome and confident in his team heading into the postseason, with Roman’s two PCL losses coming by a combined four points to top two seeds Bonner-Prendie and Neumann-Goretti.

“The way we look at is is, did we get better today? I think we got better today,” Griffin said. “This is the most intense, most intense kind of atmosphere as a high school player you could possibly want to play in. I was proud of our guys rising to the occasion.”

ROMAN CATHOLIC 16 18 19 22 – 75
ARCHBISHOP WOOD 13 13 21 16 – 73
Roman Catholic: Seth Lundy 12 3-3 30, Lynn Greer III 7 7-8 21, Allen Betrand 4 3-4 12, Hakim Hart 4 3-4 12. Nonscoring: John Kelly, Louie Wild. Totals: 27 16-19 75.
Archbishop Wood: Andrew Funk 12 5-5 35, Rahsool Diggins 0 1-2 1, Tyree Pickron 4 3-4 14, Seth Pinkney 2 0-0 4, Julius Phillips 3 0-0 9, Andrew LaFond 2 0-0 6, Kyle McNamee 1 0-0 3, Daeshon Shepherd 0 1-2 1. Nonscoring: Karrington Wallace. Totals: 25 10-13 73.
3-pointers: RC Lundy 3, Betrand, Hart; AW – Funk 6, Pickron 3, LaFond 2, Phillips, McNamee.

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