HYATTSVILLE – After failing to capitalize on an opportunity to tie the score late, the Paul VI Catholic High School boys’ basketball team could only watch helplessly as Benedictine put the game out of reach.
Duke University commitment Mike Gbinije made two free throws with four seconds remaining to seal a 63-59 victory for Benedictine at the National High School Hoops Festival at DeMatha on Saturday.
Benedictine senior swingman Trey Davis led all scorers with 23 points, while junior guard Patrick Holloway scored 19 points to lead Paul VI, which fell to 4-2 on the season.
“It was tough,” Holloway said of the loss. “I mean, I’m pretty proud of the way the team played. I mean, they worked hard and battled on the boards. They were aggressive – sometimes too aggressive and they were fouling out. I think I let the team down a little bit, but overall, I’m proud of the way the team played. We came out and banged, and [Benedictine] is one of the top teams in the state, so I think we did good and the team played well.”
The game was tightly-contested throughout, with PVI taking the largest lead of nine points early in the third quarter. The Cadets responded with a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to two points, eventually taking the lead on a pair of foul shots from Gbinije that followed a technical foul assessed to PVI’s bench.
The Panthers regained the lead – in all, there were six lead changes in the period – and held a 48-47 advantage after three quarters.
Benedictine took the lead for good on a 3-pointer by junior forward Jordan Burgess to start the fourth quarter. The Panthers cut the deficit to a single point twice and to two points three times, but never could regain the lead.
Paul VI junior point guard Tilman Dunbar had a shot at tying the game at 61-61 in the final 10 seconds, but couldn’t finish a contested lay-up. Benedictine quickly moved the ball up the floor to Gbinije, who was fouled with four seconds remaining. He sank both foul shots to provide the final margin,
“I think [the deciding factor] was just rushing it,” Holloway said. “Guys took some bad shots – I want to put myself in that, too – but we all took some bad shots, and I think we were trying to force it and just trying to get as big a lead as we can. That hurt us in the end, because we didn’t value possessions and they did, and it came back to bite us.”
Holloway, who turned 17 on Sunday, is currently the most sought-after player on a young PVI roster that includes just one senior. A Team Takeover member during the AAU season, he currently holds scholarship offers from George Mason and Delaware, and is receiving serious interest from Virginia Commonwealth, Richmond, Siena and American.
Coleman Johnson finished with 14 points and six rebounds before fouling out, while sophomore Stanford Robinson had 10 points. Jamal Robinson grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.
“[Benedictine] shot 19 free throws there in the second half,” Paul VI coach Glenn Farello said, “and I thought that was a big difference in the game for us. They were aggressive and were able to get to the free throw line. I was actually proud of my guys, they battled and I thought we missed out on some opportunities to execute down the stretch. We took a couple of hurried shots that were a little bit unnecessary – we have to be more patient in those situations. But, it was a great experience for our young kids. We’re still young sophomores and juniors, and this December we’ve focused on making sure that we’re just learning as we play. We’d obviously rather learn as we win, but a game like this we should hopefully take a lot away from and continue to progress.”
The Panthers return to action at the Prep All-Stars Christmas Tournament in Charlotte at Queens College Dec. 20 through the 22nd.
“We’re going to be very good,” Holloway said. “We’re good right now, and we’ve got so much space to get better and so much room for improvement. We’re still a young team and we have only one senior, but everybody in our starting five has so much potential -- and coming off the bench, too. We’re going to be good, and we’re definitely going to be hard to compete with. We’re going to be able to compete with the top teams and even beat them, so we should finish out the season very well.”
Dunbar 4-8 0-1 9, Holloway 6-17 5-6 19, S. Robinson 4-6 0-0 10, J. Robinson 2-5 1-2 5, Johnson 6-11, 2-7 14, Armstrong 0-1 0-0 0, Cunningham 0-2 0-0 0, Smith 1-3 0-0 2. Totals: 23-53 8-16 59.
Moody 4-10 0-0 10, Davis 8-16 6-9 23, George 0-3 0-0 0, Gbinije 3-5 9-10 16, Burgess 3-6 2-4 10, Wilson 0-1 0-0 0, Burnett 2-4 0-0 4. Totals: 20-45 17-23 63.
Paul VI 19 14 15 11 – 59
Benedictine 16 12 19 16 – 63
3-Point Goals—PVI 5-12 (Dunbar 1-2, Holloway 2-7, S. Robinson 2-2, Cunningham 0-1). B 6-16 (Moody 2-5, Davis 1-4, Gbinije 1-2, Burgess 2-4, Burnett 0-1.) Fouled Out— PVI (Johnson, S. Robinson). Total Fouls— PVI 17, B 19. Technicals- PVI (TEAM), B (Gbinije).