His 3-pointer just three minutes earlier kept Cardinal Mooney within a single possession of Brookside on Sunday afternoon at the Covelli Centre. But with 10 seconds left in regulation, Joe Cunningham had the power to send the Cardinals to overtime.
A well-designed in bounds play found Cunningham wide open at the top of the key but his 3-point attempt bounced around the rim and into the hands of Brookside’s Nate King.
“We executed it perfectly,” Mooney coach Brian Danilov said, “but it didn’t go in.”
King was immediately fouled and finished off two free throws in Brookside’s 51-46 victory.
The 6-foot-6, nearly 280-pound King scored a game-high 22 points and grabbed 11 of Brookside’s 31 rebounds. Fellow big man, Kelvin Jones, added six points and nine rebounds.
“They played to their strengths and played smart,” Danilov said.
That’s the first-year Cardinals coach biggest beef with his team.
“We have to play smarter,” he said. “Flat out. I’m proud of my guys; they’re always going to come and battle to the end.”
“That’s why I’m so ticked off because I know they can do it.”
Mooney (6-5) shot 38-precent from the field, made just 2 of 10 free throws and turned the ball over 11 times. It trailed by nine in the first quarter, but cut it to two points in the third quarter when George LeFlore made his second 3-pointer on back to back possessions.
The Cardinals never trailed by more than five in the fourth quarter.
Doug Caputo scored 21 points, including all seven of Mooney’s third quarter points and grabbed 14 rebounds.
“With their 6-foot-7 kid [Caputo] inside, we were a little bit worried because he is so athletic,” Brookside coach Brent Schremp said. “We’re more big than tall, but we did a nice job identifying on him.
“We’re not going to out-run a whole lot of teams. We like to go inside-out and I thought that was a big difference in the second half.”
The Cardinals from Sheffield Village came off a 53-20 loss to Firelands on Friday. Five of their losses were decided by seven points or less. They improved to 4-9 with the win over Mooney.
“It’s definitely different coming down here after an hour-and-a-half drive on a Sunday,” Schremp said. “It’s a great experience with that atmosphere in a very nice arena. For our kids to travel and respond like that it’s definitely something that we want to build on from here.”
Cunnigham finished with seven points for Mooney, LeFlore had six and Joey Kleeh added five for Mooney.
Tim Crnko scored seven points for Brookside.