This time, Christian Brothers Academy finished what it started, and with a late flurry of points, clinched at least a share of its third Big 10 championship in four years.
“When we had the lead over there, we stopped playing offense. We were up 11, up five . . . we lose,” Brothers coach Dave Doemel said after Tuesday night’s 73-57 win over Troy. “Tonight, we continued to attack.”
CBA strung together nine unanswered points late in the fourth quarter to seal the victory before a capacity crowd at Ned McGraw Gymnasium, and avenge a 54-52 setback at Troy. The Flying Horses put together a 19-6 fourth-quarter run in that late-December comeback.
“It’s a game of runs. We had to contain that and keep playing,” said CBA senior guard Tyrell Ramsey. “In the last game, they came back. We didn’t want to let that happen again.”
Troy came back in this one, too, but couldn’t get over the hump that grew to 17 points, 51-34, when Greig Stire drove the baseline for a two-handed slam late in the third quarter.
Ramsey scored 18 points to go with four assists, and Stire had 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists to lead the Brothers (14-1, 15-2) in their eight consecutive triumph. Nick Marini and Drew Brundige added 10 and 12 points, respectively, for the state’s No. 11-ranked Class AA team.
Marini scored on a runner and sank a jumper, Brundige nailed a three, and Brian Renauld scored on a hook shot in the put-away spurt after Troy had clawed to within 58-51 on a layup by Javion Ogunyemi.
“They made plays, and they shot great,” Troy coach Rich Hurley said of the Brothers. “We didn’t finish plays.”
Troy (12-2, 13-3) never found its offensive rhythm, with the 6-foot-9 Ogunyemi and 6-7 Jerrell Reid on the bench for long stretches due to foul trouble. Reid picked up his second foul late in the first quarter, Ogunyemi was called for his third late in the second period and the two seniors were rarely on the court together afterward.
“We run 85 percent of our offense through those two,” said Hurley after his team’s eight-game victory streak was halted. “When your Division I center plays nine minutes and your power forward plays 12 minutes, you’re not going to win this game.”
CBA never trailed in the contest and opened up a 28-22 halftime edge on a late three by Brundige. The Brothers went up in the third period, 33-22, after Ramsey hit a three, stole the ball and dropped in a layup.
“Tyrell is so quick, and he’s also a great shooter,” Marini said. “He’s a tough player to guard.”
Marini played a significant role with his ball handling and cool -headedness against Troy’s quick and aggressive guards.
“Their guys were into him pretty good,” Doemel said of Marini, a junior guard. “We gave him some options to call on his own, and he made some excellent plays.”
“I thought Marini was fantastic tonight,” Hurley said. “A guy asked me a while back who the unsung player in the league is, and I told him Marini. No doubt.”
Ogunyemi led the state’s No. 7-ranked team with 16 points, six rebounds and five blocks, Reid netted 10 points, and Liam Testo had nine off the bench.
“It’s easier to play the boards without them in there,” Doemel said of Ogunyemi, who has committed to Siena, and Reid. “They are very talented kids.”
Dyaire Holt hit a three to get Troy within 51-37 at the end of the third quarter, and a 14-7 run in which Ogunyemi scored eight points had the Flying Horses trailing, 58-51.
“Troy plays really good defense,” said Ramsey. “In practice, we worked on what they like to do, and we stayed with our offense. We kept going at them.”
Nelson 2-3-7, Radz 2-3-7, Ogunyemi 5-6-16, Holt 2-3-8, Reid 3-2-10, Testo 4-1-9. Totals: 18-18-57.
Stire 5-5-15, Marini 6-0-12, Ramsey 6-3-18, Robinson 3-2-8, Owens 2-2-6, Brundige 3-2-10, Corker 1-0-2, Renauld 1-0-2. Totals: 27-14-73.
Troy 7 15 15 20 — 57
CBA 11 17 23 22 — 73
Three-point goals: Holt, Reid 2, Ramsey 3, Brundige 2.