Irish title hopes end at Plano
PLANO — To say that the basketball season at Seneca High School has been going well so far would be an understatement; 11 games, 11 wins ... until Thursday night at the Plano Christmas Classic.
The Ottawa Pirates used a 15-2 spurt late in the third quarter and in the early stages of the fourth quarter to turn a 23-14 deficit into a 29-25 lead on their way to a 39-35 victory over the Fighting Irish.
The game started out well for Seneca with junior Conlan Callahan and senior Peyton Schrag hitting back to back three pointers to give the Irish a quick 6-0 lead. The Pirates cut that lead to 6-4 before Ottawa junior guard John Carroll hit a three-pointer of his own to give his team a 7-6 lead.
The rest of the first half was a defensive clinic. Both teams locked down and while both were able to run their offenses, neither could get a good look at the basket and at halftime, the Irish found themselves with a 13-11 advantage.
Seneca got off to a hot start after the break, converting on several possessions early on to race to a nine point lead at the 3:20 mark. Schrag and senior Brian Bergeson paced the Irish attack and it looked as though Seneca was grabbing control of the game. Then Carroll and senior J.D. Bryant took over for the Pirates. Ottawa scored 12 of the final 14 points in the quarter, storming back to a 26-25 lead heading to the final period.
Ottawa opened the fourth with a three-point play when Carroll was fouled on a tough move to the basket, allowing the Pirates to extend their lead to 29-25. From there, the teams traded baskets. Schrag hit a three-pointer for Seneca to cut the Pirate lead to one, but Carroll quickly followed with a three-pointer of his own to put Ottawa back up 32-28. An Irish turnover and a layup made it a six-point game midway through the quarter.
That’s when Seneca senior Jimmy David stepped up with a big three-pointer, followed by a steal and layup to get the Irish to within 34-33 with 2:50 to play. But J.D. Bryant’s three-pointer on the next pirate possession pushed the spread back to four. The Irish did cut the lead back to two with 15 seconds left, but Carroll sealed the game at the free throw line for Ottawa.
With the loss, the Irish fall to 11-1. Their focus now shifts to Friday’s 5:30 match up with the Newark Norsemen and trying to play their way into the fifth-place game on Saturday.