Cowboys surge for win over Irish
Taylor’s 21 points power Chaney
By Tom Williams
If Coach of the Year voting were under way, there’s no doubt the candidate Ursuline basketball head coach Keith Gunther favors.
“A lot of people aren’t giving Marlon [McGaughy enough] credit, but he’s doing an amazing job,” Gunther said of the Chaney head coach whose Cowboys are 8-4 in their first season back as a varsity program. “He’s got those kids playing at a high level.
“The scary thing is they are young,” Gunther said after Friday’s 73-65 loss to the Cowboys. “The kids are buying in.”
Sophomore guard Sharrod Taylor led the Cowboys with 23 points. Senior forward Marquel Gillespie scored 14 points and junior guard William Brown contributed 11 points and seven rebounds.
R.J. Clark scored 27 points to lead the Irish. Daysean Harris scored 13 and Devan Keevey 10.
The Irish (6-9) started strong, opening up a 14-7 lead in the first quarter. But the Cowboys roared back and nursed a double-digit lead for most of the rest of the game.
“We’re were rolling,” Taylor said, adding that Ursuline connecting early caught them off guard. “We weren’t expecting them to hit [those early] shots.
“So we had to adjust to that, but we kept our heads in the game,” Taylor said. “We stayed tough.”
McGaughy credited the Cowboys’ schedule.
“We’ve [already] had to come back in a lot of games,” he said.
Five of Taylor’s six baskets were 3-pointers and Gunther said that spoiled the Irish gameplan.
“I thought if we were tough and we got Sharrod out of the game, and we could win the glass then we would have a great chance of winning,” Gunther said. “Well, Sharrod got going and the last thing you can do is let a shooter get his first shot going.
“[He] played extremely well,” Gunther said. “They beat us up and down the floor, they beat us up on the glass. They out-toughed us, which is very uncharacteristic of our basketball team.”
Trailing by a point at the end of the first quarter, Vince Armeni scored a basket and a free throw and Keevey made a basket for Ursuline’s 20-16 lead.
The Cowboys roared to life. Brown’s first basket ignited a 16-2 run.
No one was happier playing than Brown, who sat out three games with a knee injury.
“It felt good,” said Brown of playing again and contributing. “I didn’t have to worry about [the injury].”
McGaughy said Brown “has a high motor — we’ve been waiting to see it all year.”
The Cowboys took a 49-39 lead into the fourth quarter, when the game came to a screeching halt thanks to a parade to the foul line. In all, 50 points were scored, prompting one game official to comment the fourth quarter took “longer to plan than the first three.”
Midway through the fourth quarter, Johnny Rowland’s basket capped a 7-0 Irish run that sliced Chaney’s lead to 57-52.
“They got the ball and down more aggressive than we were,” Taylor said of the Irish surge.
Brown made two free throws and Gillespie hit a basket to restore the Cowboys’ comfort margin.
“Taylor played well, Gillespie played well, but I thought their role guys did a great job of defending and trying to get R.J. [Clark] out of the game, trapping him and getting the ball out of his hands,” Gunther said.