(VIDEO) Coleman and Catholic Memorial Sink Franklin
by Nate Weitzer for Mass Prep Stars
West Roxbury, Mass. – It looked as if the No. 9 Catholic Memorial Knights home winning streak, which extended all the way back to the middle of the 2012-13 season, was going to end.
Visiting No. 11 Franklin (5-2) kept Catholic Memorial (5-1) at arm’s length throughout a very competitive second half. The Panthers beat the Knights at their own game by trapping, pressing and forcing turnovers on their way to a late 57-52 lead.
But then Knights star Ulyen Coleman finally woke up after a 2-for-11 start from the field, nailing a corner three and eventually, another triple from the wing to put the home team up for good in a thrilling 58-57 victory.
“It was a rock fight type of a game. I thought we got good shots throughout most of the game- they just didn’t fall, but thankfully they did at the end,” said Catholic Memorial head coach Denis Tobin. “Some of the young guys are still learning that you have to play hard all 32 minutes and I thought that the guys off the bench did a great job of bringing the defensive energy that we needed.”
Coleman misses game winner but gets another chance and nails it to put CM up 58-57 with 4.7 seconds remaining pic.twitter.com/pW7TmoMnjk— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) January 4, 2017
Ulyen Coleman follows up his missed shot with the game-winning 3-pointer, giving CM a 58-57 lead, with 4.7 seconds remaining.
Tobin needed his younger players to step up with his senior captain struggling to find a rhythm against Franklin’s lengthy defenders. The Panthers denied entry passes to Coleman, stepped in front of him to take charges, and repeatedly frustrated the Knights star with pesky defense.
While Coleman struggled, the Panthers attacked the Knights pressure with a balanced offensive approach.
Franklin was without their star forward in Connor Peterson, but sophomore Jalen Samuels (13 points, 6 rebounds) and senior Josh Macchi stepped up down low. Juniors Matt Elias (7 points) and Paul Mahon (10 points, 3 steals) chipped in with a couple of big jumpers, but it was the play of freshman point guard Chris Edgehill that kept the Panthers ahead.
Edgehill (7 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) was able to lead his team against the Knights full court pressure and made them pay quite often with strong drives or excellent dishes to teammates.
But the Knights rallied back every team the visitors pushed their lead and it was only fitting that their captain came up with the finishing touches during a last-second comeback.
“It was [Coleman]’s worst shooting night of the year, but I told him to keep shooting and he showed the confidence at the end,” Tobin said. “If it’s a close game, we want to live and die with him taking those shots.”
Stars Who Shined
Michael Giacobbe ‘17 G – When the Knights lacked energy at the start of the contest, Giacobbe (12 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals) helped spark them. When they struggled to finish defensive possessions and rebound, he found a way to secure loose balls, and finally, the senior came up with a huge basket to cut the Franklin lead to 55-52.
“[Giacobbe] is a stat-sheet stuffer. Almost every game so far this season he’s led us in rebounds, steals, deflections and assists and he did it again tonight. He’s all over the place and he’s just relentless.”
Will McDonnell ‘18 G – The Knights fell behind 7-0 early in the first quarter before McDonnell got his team going with a corner three. He would go on to shoot 5-of-9 from long range while hitting some huge shots in the second half, but he also took a few ill-advised threes or “heat checks” that drew the ire of his head coach.
“Will [McDonnell] is giving me a few more gray hairs, but at the same time he hit some big shots and if he didn’t hit those big shots we wouldn’t have been in position to win. So, you take some good with some bad and with Will there’s more good than bad,” Tobin said.
Indeed, McDonnell’s deep three from 30 feet out followed a step back three in the third quarter to single-handedly bring the Knights back from a 46-40 deficit and tie the game at 46.
Ulyen Coleman ‘18 F – He didn’t grab his second rebound until late in the fourth quarter, but after securing that board, Coleman sprinted down to the corner and nailed a three to give the Knights life by cutting Franklin’s lead to 57-55.
The senior wasn’t done with his heroics, as he secured another board and pulled up for a three with about 10 seconds left and his team still trailing by two. The shot went begging, but the ball was deflected back out towards Coleman in virtually the same spot, and he did not miss another opportunity.
Jarron Flynn ‘19 G – Tobin received great defensive contributions from Flynn (5 points, 2 steals, 2 blocks) off the bench. Along with starter Kani Glover (3 points, 2 blocks), Flynn denied Franklin a few attempts to make it a two-possession game late and he came up with a key bucket and one free throw during CM’s final comeback.
Flynn block and c2c layup makes it 54-49, CM trails Franklin. 2:42 remaining pic.twitter.com/azd4WuEtDA— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) January 4, 2017
Flynn's block and coast-to-coast layup was a big momentum gainer for CM.
Chris Edgehill ‘20 G – You don’t often see a freshman playing big minutes for a great varsity team, but it’s even less often that you’ll see a freshman point guard breaking full court pressure from a great defensive team like Catholic Memorial.
Edgehill looked poised beyond his years in that role, which came as no surprise to his head coach.
“Chris [Edgehill] is a great player,” said Panthers head coach CJ Neely. “He’s young, but he’s played a lot more basketball than most kids his age. He’s come a long way since the beginning of the year, when he was making some freshman mistakes, but he’s really matured and he really calmed us when we needed it tonight and kept us in control for a little while.”
Edgehill again. Franklin 50, CM 46 early Q4 pic.twitter.com/sNjJtHyiTp— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) January 4, 2017
Chris Edgehill finishes at the hoop.
Jalen Samuels ‘19 F – Another young player who made a tremendous impact for the Panthers, Samuels came alive for 11 of his 13 points in the second half. He matched up with a 6-foot-5 senior in Coleman down low and held his own, which isn’t surprising from the younger brother of Villanova Commit and elite prospect Jermaine Samuels.
“Jalen [Samuels] is the kind of guy who does a bit of everything,” Neely effused. “He’s not going to score 30 points a night, but he rebounds, defends, helps us get it over halfcourt and he fills up the stat sheet. He’s another guy who is just getting better every game.”
Edgehill finds Samuels, who is blocked. Then finds him again to make it 54-47 Franklin mid Q4 pic.twitter.com/ar5cHgNhuS— Nate Weitzer (@nweitzer7) January 4, 2017
The Edgehill and Samuels connection was effective all evening for Franklin.
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