Bishop Kearney boys rule in final to earn first state title - Catholic Courier

Bishop Kearney boys rule in final to earn first state title

Their two stars can go on scoring binges at any time. But if you want to know why a state-championship trophy is resting at Bishop Kearney High School these days, check out the Kings’ defense at key junctures of the NYSPHSAA state tournament:
* In quarterfinal play, BK held its opponent scoreless over the final two minutes of a two-point victory.
* In the semifinals, the Kings yielded a scant 12 points in the first half.
* Even though they surrendered 42 points over the first three quarters of the title game, they only allowed six points in the final eight minutes when everything was on the line.
* In the entire post-season, they never allowed any opponent to reach the 50-point mark.
The payoff was Kearney’s first-ever state crown, which it clinched with a 65-48 victory over Seton Catholic on March 21. The Class B final was held at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
BK, with a record of 24-3, now moves on to the state Federation Tournament of Champions which features all public, private and New York City-area schools. The Kings will square off against St. Mary’s of Lancaster at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 27, with the winner facing either Brooklyn College Academy or Collegiate of New York City for the federation crown at 5:45 p.m. the next day. Those games, also, will take place in Glens Falls.
In the NYSPHSAA final against Seton Catholic, a Section 4 school, the Kings led 35-26 at halftime, but the Saints were still within striking range, 49-42, heading into the final quarter. Kearney proceeded to reel off 12 unanswered points early in the period to win going away. Junior forward Roderick Gray came up huge with 25 points for the game, and junior guard Blair Roberts had 15 while junior guard James Taylor chipped in with 11.
The Kings had earned their spot in the state final by winning 56-35 over Broadalbin-Perth of Section 2 in a semifinal matchup played March 20. Roberts had 23 points and Gray added 16 as the Kings cruised to a 28-12 halftime lead and were never seriously threatened.
Their closest challenge all post-season came in their quarterfinal matchup against Olean of Section 6 on March 14. Kearney saw a 40-32 lead to start the fourth quarter nearly disappear, but hung on for a 47-45 win as both teams went scoreless over the game’s final two minutes. Gray was the big gun in the low-scoring affair with 21 points, and Roberts had 10 points and nine rebounds.
Surviving the close call with the Huskies catapulted BK to a new level in its subsequent games, according to Jon Boon, BK’s head coach.
"It helped us get refocused," he explained. "It tested us, and we went up there (to Glens Falls) with a totally different attitude. (Broadalbin-Perth and Seton Catholic) were probably two of our best defensive games we played all year."
"We really pride ourselves on defense," Roberts added. Gray agreed, saying that "we really work hard on it in practice."
BK had reached the state tournament with a 57-49 triumph over Midlakes in a qualifier game on March 11. Gray amassed 29 points and 13 rebounds, and the Kings broke away from a 23-22 halftime lead by holding a 17-5 edge in the third quarter. Four days earlier, Kearney won the Section 5 Class B2 title by defeating Wellsville, 54-30, as Taylor scored 15 points to lead the Kings.
Kearney has now won 10 sectional titles in school history, including four straight and counting under Boon, who is in his fifth year.
"The bar was set very high," Boon said of BK’s strong basketball tradition. Now, his 2008-09 squad has raised that bar a few notches. Gray observed that it’s a fitting feat for this close-knit bunch, "especially with the players we have and the chemistry we have."
"It’s an honor, a great accomplishment. I’m very happy," Roberts added.

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