Seniors Pat McGuinness and Tyler Sayre scored 12 of 19 fourth quarter points for the Albertus Magnus boys basketball team as the Falcons thwarte multiple late comeback attempts by Pearl River Friday night.
“I wouldn’t be comfortable if they’re off. We never want them off the floor,” said Albertus Head Coach Pat McFadden. “Tyler’s not feeling 100 percent, we’re not taking him out of the game. He gutted it out tonight. I’m real proud of him.”
McGuinness finished with a game-high 16 points and Sayre, who was held scoreless in the first half, made six of six fourth-quarter free throws to finish with 10 points as the Falcons beat the Pirates, 52-45, Friday night at Pearl River.
While Albertus (11-1) led the entire game, its nine-point lead entering the fourth quarter was quickly cut into with a 5-0 run by the Pirates (7-4). Pearl River never got the deficit below four points in the fourth.
“They’re a good option to have [late in the game],” McFadden said of Sayre and McGuinness.
While the Pirates were able to hang around late, they got off to a slow start offensively, scoring just six points in the first quarter, four of which came in the last 40 seconds of the period. They scored nine points in both the second and third quarters before finally picking it up a bit in the fourth.
“Offensively we struggled mightily tonight. Part of it may be not shooting the ball so well, but also I think Albertus defended really well,” said Pearl River Coach Jerry Houston. “We didn’t get that many real good looks at the basket. Some nights you say, ‘the ball didn’t go down.’ I don’t know if tonight was one of those. I think it was more we just didn’t get real good shooting opportunities. It’s a byproduct of Albertus doing a good job defending.”
While the Albertus Magnus defense might not have produced a bunch of turnovers, the Falcons rarely let Pearl River get an open look or run out on a fast break.
“Our man-to-man defense was the best it’s been all year,” McFadden said. “Jack Sullivan getting out in passing lanes. Pat McGuinness putting pressure on the ball on them. Everybody. I thought we defended as a team real real well.”
But it wasn’t just Albertus playing solid defensively. The 52 points for the Falcons was its second-lowest point total this year. The only time they scored less was when they scored 50 in a loss to Tappan Zee in December. That game, coincidentally, was also held at Pearl River, as it was in the of the Pearl River Boys Basketball Holiday Tournament.
“We defended pretty well,” Houston said. “One thing that’s kind of a concern with us the last couple of weeks is defensively we felt like we were giving up a lot of points, giving up a lot of easy baskets. Tonight, I thought we defended a lot better.”
Sayre said it was nice for the Albertus seniors to get a win in their last game at Pearl River. McFadden added that there’s no surprises when these two teams meet any more.
“Anytime you get schools that are so close together and in Rockland County, kids know each other very well,” Houston said. “Kids play on both sides with a lot of emotion, and sometimes that makes for ugly basketball because the kids play so hard. I think tonight was an example of that.”
For Pearl River, Joe Clinton led the way with 14 points, followed by Austin O’Toole’s 13 and Tom Davis’ eight. Along with Sayre and McGuinness, Sullivan scored in double figures for the Falcons, netting 14.