By: John Nee '93
Sophomore Alec Millender drained a three-pointer from the corner as time expired to lead St. Rita to a thrilling 60-57 overtime win over #9 Marist in the 9th Annual Callahan/Griffin Classic at St. Rita Tuesday night...a repeat of last year's buzzer-beater by then freshman Joel Watts at Marist!
Senior Jordan Matthews (17 points - all in the second half) was named the Jimmy Griffin MVP. After a scoreless first half that saw him relegated to the bench after some questionable turnovers, Matthews was spectacular in the second half scoring all of his points going (7-7) from the free- throw line while knocking down two key three-pointers. He was also credited with the game-winning assist as he found an open Millender in the corner on his final shot.
The 9th edition of the Callahan/Griffin Classic was a see-saw affair throughout as there were 10 ties in the game and 14 lead changes.
A Morgan Taylor (game-high 26 points) three-pointer at the halftime buzzer sent Marist (19-3) into the locker room with a 26-25 lead.
The Mustangs started strong jumping out to an early lead in front of a raucous, sold out home crowd as they lead 15-9 at the end of the first quarter. Sophomore Joel Watts carried St. Rita early as he scored 13 first-half points including (3-5) from three-point range.
St. Rita looked to take control of the tight affair late as they took a 49-44 lead with just over two minutes to play, but a 5-0 Marist run to end the game sent the classic into overtime.
After the buzzer sounded there was some pushing and shoving as technical fouls were assessed to both teams, which meant overtime was going to start from the free-throw line. After Marist's Taylor sank (1-2) charity shots, Matthews calmly stepped to the line and drained both shots to give St. Rita a 51-50 lead before the ball was tossed up to start the 4:00 minute extra period.
Watts lead the Mustangs in scoring with 18 while Matthews chipped in with 17 and junior Jeremiah Oden 10.
The win marked the fourth time the Mustangs beat a ranked team on the season as they have played arguably one of the state's best schedules.
St. Rita (12-10) will next travel to 99th and Pulaski as they take on rival Brother Rice Friday at 7pm. The sophomores, who improved to (17-4) with a convincing 58-42 win over Marist, will battle the Crusaders Friday at 5:30.