In a gritty, gutsy comeback when they didn’t play their best basketball, the St. Joe Fighting Irish lost 73-70 in overtime to the Delta Streets Academy Lions Friday night.
St. Joe upped its effort on both ends of the court in the final quarter and started to take control late in the game. The Irish’s Omar Emmons knocked down a three pointer with 3:03 remaining in the game to give St Joe its first lead of the night. It appeared as if the home team would pull off a great comeback in regulation. However, Delta Streets guard Isaiah Tabor rattled in a three pointer with 3.6 seconds left in the game to tie the game at 65 and force overtime.
“We just started to play our brand of basketball to start the fourth quarter,” said Irish head coach James Hunter. “We played up tempo and played with a lot more effort.”
Irish guard Jerrian King put his fellow Irish teammates on his back in the third quarter by scoring 10 of his game high 20 and shrinking the Lions lead down to 44-41 at the 1:35 mark of the third quarter. It was the closest St. Joe had been since Delta Streets scored the opening basket of the game. However Delta Streets guard JT Lawrence poured in 10 of his own points in the frame and made key passes for easy baskets to help the Lions open the lead back up to 51-43 heading into the final quarter.
Throughout the first half, Delta Streets seemed to always have an answer or benefited from some unforced St. Joe error. The visitors jumped out to a quick 12-4 lead by the 2:58 mark of the first quarter. Up to that juncture, the Irish had only a King layup and two free throws to account for their offense. Phillon Johnson’s steal and breakaway layup seemed to ignite the Irish as they closed the gap to 12-8 at the 1:50 mark of the first. However, Delta Streets closed the first stanza on a 6-3 run added by three free throws on a three point shot at the end of the quarter.
St. Joe trailed 18-11 at the end of the first quarter. In the second quarter, the Irish had trouble making baskets at close range and keeping possession of the ball.
Delta Streets crashed the offensive glass and pushed the ball in transition expanding their lead to 34-22 at halftime. “
Our missed free throws, missed easy shot and turnovers did us in,” Hunter said. “That’s the ball game fir us if we do any of that reasonably well. This is our third overtime game of the season.”