The Irish junior had a double-double in the 43-42 win over Mooney.
By GREG GULAS
YOUNGSTOWN -- Isaiah Poindexter scored 20 points and hauled in 12 rebounds, but it was his steal with just six seconds remaining that helped the Ursuline High boys basketball team to a 43-42 victory over archrival Cardinal Mooney on Friday at the Cardinal gymnasium.
"This was a typical Ursuline-Cardinal Mooney game," Fighting Irish head coach Steve Leslie said. "Having been on the other bench as an assistant coach, I know the intensity of this rivalry and that is what makes the games between these two teams so special," he added.
"It's just a shame that one team had to lose."
The Fighting Irish (9-2, 1-0 Steel Valley Conference) entered the game ranked 20th in the state Division II.
They quickly realized, however, that the Cardinals were every bit as talented as the veteran Irish -- despite playing three sophomores at times.
The Cardinals (5-4, 0-2) held 15-11 lead after the first eight minutes of play as David Zidian, one of the team's super-soph's, hit two conventional three-point plays for six points in the period.
His play offset the seven points by Ursuline's Poindexter in the first quarter.
Standout: "Isaiah Poindexter was the difference in the game tonight," Cardinal head coach Nick Bellino stated. "Defensively, we wanted to contest as many shots of theirs as possible, limiting their breaks and half court game. That is really what kept us in the game."
Ursuline took a 16-15 lead on a Poindexter tip-in at the 4:43 mark of the second period, but when Joe Burke of the Cardinals hit a layup 51 seconds later, the Cards took a 17-16 lead to end a four minute, 14 second scoring drought.
The game was tied at 23 at halftime.
"One of our problems this season has been our free throw shooting, and tonight it almost cost us," Leslie said. "Another problem for us has been our inability to go to the hoop with authority."
Poindexter scored eight of his team's 12 points in the third period to keep the game tied at 35 entering the fourth.
Mooney took a 37-35 lead, but Poindexter's three-point goal at the 5:36 mark gave them the lead for good.
Palermo, who had six assists and four steals, added his second 3-pointer to give Ursuline a 41-37 lead, but Burke's two free throws and layup offset a Jimmy Riley jumper to cut the Ursuline lead to 43-41.
So close: When Rashad Williams of the Cards canned the first of two charity tosses with 1:04 remaining, the Irish lead was cut to 43-42. Poindexter then missed the front end of a one-and-one with 19 seconds remaining allowing the Cards one last shot at a victory. Poindexter, however, thwarted the Mooney rally with his steal with just six seconds remaining.
Ursuline was just 18 of 53 from the field and six of 20 from beyond the arc while Cardinal Mooney hit 16 of 35 field goal attempts (0-4 from three-point range), taking 18 fewer shots.
"You can't win games in the tough Steel Valley Conference when you allow your opponent 18 more shots," Bellino said. "We need to keep the game in the 40's and 50's if we expect to have a chance at a victory."
The Irish held a 28-27 rebounding edge, Poindexter hauling in a game high 12 rebounds (eight offensively) as he recorded a double-double for his efforts.