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PEARL RIVER, N.Y. — In a season of never-ending tests, Albertus Magnus’ defense passed one of its biggest on Friday night.
The defending Section 1 Class B champions made up for an off shooting nights with one of its toughest defensive efforts of the season, holding down Pearl River in a 52-45 road victory.
“I’ll be his wasn’t a beauty pagent,” Falcons coach Pat McFadden said. “But I think when two teams like us get together, this is what happens. We have 19 tapes on them and they have 19 tapes on us. We know what they like to do and they know what we like to.”
Both teams struggled to find open looks from start to finish with the exception of Pat McGuinness. The senior point guard slashed and dished his way to a solid 16 point, five assist effort as the Falcons improved to 11-1.
“Every point was so vitally important in a game like this,” McFadden said. “We prepared defensively so well this week in practice. To their credit, they defended well, too.”
McGuiness and Jack Sullivan, who had 14 points and four rebounds, carried Albertus on a night where Tyler Sayre had trouble keeping himself upright. The senior had been battling the flu the last few days, and it showed in the first half when he was held scoreless.
Sayre, who was still very good defensively on Pearl River forward Kevin Degnan in the first quarters, got going in the second half. He scored all 10 of his points after the break and had 12 rebounds.
Tom McConnell had eight rebounds, Arnell Dandridge scored eight points including a couple of crucial 3-pointers, and Jimmy McEntee provide quality minutes off the bench for Albertus.
The win just adds to the Falcons, who are ranked No. 1 in Class B the latest MSG Varsity Bracketology ratings for the Section 1 playoffs. Albertus has five wins over Class AA schools, including White Plains and Clarkstown South, and has beaten reigning Class A champ Byram Hills, and Rockland powers Pearl River and Spring Valley.
“This was a heckuva week for us,” McFadden said. “We beat Clarkstown South, Xavier and Pearl River. I’ll take that trifecta any week.”
It’s next game — next Friday at home against undefeated Tappan Zee — will be the Falcons’ biggest of the season as they try to atone for their only defeat.
Joe Clinton led Pearl River on Friday with 14 points and four rebounds. Austin O’Toole added 13 points, five rebounds and four steals.
Email Kevin Devaney Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org