Senior forward Demone Harris, seen here earlier in the season, helped Timon to a win over St. Mary's in Monsignor Martin play last week.
Entering Tuesday’s (Jan. 22) key Monsignor Martin Athletic Association match-up between Bishop Timon-St. Jude and St. Mary’s, each team was on a mission to prove they belong.
The Tigers were 3-0 in league play, and tied with Canisius for first place. Yet, there were still questions as to whether or not they were good enough to be talked about as one of the MMAA’s top teams.
On the other side, the Lancers of St. Mary’s haven’t gotten off to the start that they expected. They were 1-2 in MMAA play, and wanted to show that they should still be in the conversation when it comes to who are the top contenders in the league.
It led to a game between two teams looking to make a statement.
Both teams used their shooting prowess to gain the upper-hand on one another, but it was the size of Timon that proved to be the deciding factor as it held off the Lancers 51-49 in front of packed house at St. Mary’s in Lancaster.
Senior forward Demone Harris and junior guard Donte Williams led the Tigers with 16 points each, and were key to holding off the surging Lancers late in the fourth quarter.
Harris said going in he knew what to expect out of his team’s gameplan.
“I knew I was going to get the ball a lot,” he said. “We were a bigger team and I just wanted to use my size to score as much as possible, and just make reads so I could get the ball to my teammates.”
The game was full of lead changes, with the biggest advanteg by either team being no more than seven points at any time. Both teams used defensive adjustments to disrupt the flow of their opponents and force easy turnovers that led to easy baskets.
Tigers head coach Joe Mihalics said that while this win might do a bit to silence some of the doubters, there is still plenty of work to be done to keep things going.
“We still have to clean up the stuff that we can control,” Mihalics said. “I’ve seen these guys (Timon) play at a higher level, and then…very inconsistent. That’s what we are.”
For St. Mary’s, they believe they’re still one of the best teams in the MMAA. They may be 1-3 in the league — 10-5 overall — but they’ve been in nearly every single game they’ve played.
“We’re right with everyone,” senior Paul Rath Jr. said. “Not one team, with the exception of Canisius, has ran us out of the gym. We were with St. Joe’s, we were with Timon.”
The Lancers were in the game from the very start, taking a 13-9 lead in the first quarter, and ending the first half tied with the Tigers at 28. However, cold shooting spells and the lack of size doomed Paul Rath Sr.’s squad.
Rath Sr. said that they are right there with the “big boy schools,” but being right there isn’t good enough. He believes that tightening up a few loose ends, more specifically the far-too-often large gaps between baskets, is imperative to their success.
“We need to attack the rim a little bit more, get a little bit stronger, to be effective,” said Rath Sr. “We weren’t attacking the rim, especially when we got into those lulls. We’ve got to fix that.”
The Lancers now hit a bit of a soft spot in their schedule with games against Niagara Catholic (Jan 28) and Cardinal O’Hara (Feb 1) this week. The Tigers, on the other hand, hit the meat of their schedule with key contests against St. Joseph’s (Jan 28) and Canisius (Feb 1) coming up.