Warren JFK’s Taylor ices Ursuline’s youth
By BOB ETTINGER
Warren JFK’s Byron Taylor isn’t one to pass up whole lot of open looks.
That said, he got the ball in the right spot and at the right time before delivering the dagger that sent the Eagles to an 82-75 victory over Ursuline on Tuesday night at Gillen Gymnasium.
“He’s always looking to shoot,” JFK coach Mark Komlanc said, jokingly. “He might force it sometimes, but not many of the shots he takes from the perimeter are bad ones.
“All of our guys have that mentality to shoot,” Komlanc said. “I don’t think any of them we worried we’d lose the game. Maybe we were a little too calm with a four-point lead. He knew he had the opportunity to knock it down and he thought he could knock it down.”
Ursuline (1-8) had trailed by as many as 18 (52-34 with 6:12 to play in the third period). But the Irish had cut had cut the deficit to four, 70-66 following a three-point play from Devin Keevey and a bucket from Luke DiPala with 3:07 to play.
“Byron hurt us from the beginning of the game to the end,” Ursuline coach Keith Gunther said. “We were trying to face guard him and double him up. He still had 30 points.
“He’s a really, really, really talented player,” Gunther said. “He’s probably the best player in the area. He did a great job not panicking.”
Tyler James tallied for the Eagles (4-3) before Taylor knocked down a triple from the wing to put Kennedy in front, 75-66, with 2:23 to play.
“It was in rhythm,” Taylor said. “But I felt like we needed a big bucket so I just took the shot.”
It was the second time in the period the Fighting Irish had been within four. A 3-pointer from Brayjon Nuby had made it 65-61 with 5:16 remaining. A delay of game infraction led to a technical on Ursuline and allowed the Eagles to slip back out to a 70-61 advantage.
“I think the crucial call in the game was the delay of game,” Gunther said. “We just hit a three and got within four and we got the technical.
“We had to play through it and try to finish,” Gunther said. “I like this team. We’re young, but we’re growing. At some point, the victories will start coming.”
Gianni Eaton was the hot hand for Warren JFK in the first half with four 3-pointers as the Eagles built a 45-34 lead. Despite a nasty cut and a black eye suffered in a collision with a teammate on Monday, Eaton finished with 16 points on five triples and added seven rebounds and a steal.
“His home on the court is that left corner,” Komlanc said. “There are games we lost where he struggled. He cut his eye when he bumped heads with Tyler. Maybe he was seeing better. We had been on the road until today. That was intentional. He was at home tonight out there. It was nice to see him get in rhythm.”
B.J. Williams, however, quietly might have made the difference for JFK with his 20 points, four rebounds, four assists and a steal.
“The X-factor was B.J.,” Gunther said. “I thought we could hold him to seven to 10. He had 20. ”
Keevey led all scorers with 32 points and added 12 rebounds and a steal.
Vince Armeni had 11 points for Ursuline.