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Boys HS Hoops: St.Ed’s Rallies For 52-51 Victory Over Lutheran East

The St. Edward Eagles trailed Division III juggernaut Lutheran East for almost the entire game. At one point, they trailed by 19 points in the second quarter.

Yet, they found themselves one free-throw away from winning the game. Junior Jair Knight took advantage of the opportunity to send the Eagles out on top with a 52-51 victory over Lutheran East.

“I thought (Knight) was going to make [the free-throws,)” St. Edward Michael Bova said after the win.

“The day before in practice, Coach (Eric Flannery) called Jair (Knight) out to shoot the free-throws [or else the team would run] and I think that practice boosted over into the game.”

Knight was sent to the free-throw line on the Eagles’ last offensive play while going up for a shot after grabbing his second offensive rebound on the same possession.

“Lutheran East is a great team,” St. Edward’s Michael Bova said after the win.

“We knew coming in that it was going to be a tough one. We were down (37-24) at halftime. We knew we had to keep chipping away. Coach (Eric) Flannery said that if we could cut the lead to 10 by the fourth quarter, he believed we were going to win this game. So, it was all about taking one play at a time and trying to chop the lead.”

Chop the lead the St. Edward (12-2) did. Shortly after the second half started, the Eagles went on a 13-2 run on Lutheran East (8-2).

Bova set the tone in the third quarter by scoring 11 of his 29 points to initiate the rally. He also made an instrumental basket down the stretch with an and-1 with 40 seconds left in regulation to trail 51-50.

Bova was the primary scoring option, but the defense stepped up in the second half by allowing only three field goals. Lutheran East was 3-of-15 in the second quarter, which was a complete 180 compared to their production in the first half.

Lutheran East was on fire in the first half, shooting 14-of-23 from the field and 7-of-9 from the three-point line in the first half.

The Falcons went on a 12-0 run in the first quarter and a 12-2 run in the second quarter. Leading the way was Sirr Hughes with 11 points in the first half.

“It was my fault that we gave up so much in the first quarter,” Flannery said.

“I’m trying different stuff to get ready for the tournament. We were sitting in a soft zone. Lutheran East hasn’t shot the ball well all year, so I’m thinking ‘Let’s force them to take some perimeter shots and work on some things. Sure enough they are 7-of-9 in the first half from three.”

Coming off the loss to their rivals St. Ignatius, coach Flannery thought it was imperative to come out of the game with a victory.

“I think every time you lose a game, when you come back, it’s a must-win,” he said.

“You don’t want to fall in a (losing) streak. Look at our schedule. Our schedule is brutal all year. Now we’re going to (St. Vincent-St. Mary)… Then we have Centerville (at home) on Saturday. This could have been a stretch of five when we’re losing games and not playing bad basketball. So, pulling out a win, no matter how you do it. It’s huge for the psyche of the team and kids.”

St. Edward (9-of-21) and Lutheran East (7-of-14) didn’t have their best night from the free-throw line.

Both teams will have their next games on the road as St. Edward will take on St. Vincent-St. Mary on Friday, Feb. 12 and Lutheran East will face Beachwood on Thursday, Feb. 11.

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