SPRINGFIELD, Mass. –- Eventually, they were able to break free.
Locked in a stalemate through the first 20 minutes of its contest with Springfield Cathedral in the evening portion of the second day of the BasketBull Hoops Fest, Capital Prep (Conn.) turned to its star coach’s son, Levy Gillespie Jr., for some quick spark. The Trailblazers closed the third quarter on an 11-1 run, and pulled away late for a 64-51 win.
“My teammates, they believe in me,” said the younger Gillespie, who finished with 25 points on 8-of-21 shooting, including 4-for-11 from three-point range, and also had 10 rebounds. “I was just being patient, playing my game, waiting to take over.”
Gillespie scored 15 of his 25 points in the second half, including a flurry in the third quarter to get the Trailblazers out of a funk. Trailing 32-31 out of the break, Gillespie Jr. closed the lead to 35-34 with a high-arching three-pointer from the left wing. The next trip down, he got trapped underneath the basket, but found his way out of traffic by going up and under on Cathedral center Edens Jean-Baptiste (nine rebounds) for a reverse lay-in at the weak post, for a 36-35 lead.
From his own free throw line, Gillespie Jr. intercepted a pass then drove all the way down the Cathedral lane for a 41-39 lead. Later on the run, Gillespie Jr. went deep again with a three for a 47-39 advantage, then closed it out a few moments later with a steal at midcourt and another flashy lay-in. Capital led 50-40 headed into the final stanza.
Meanwhile, highly-touted Cathedral point guard Darrick Boyd was held to just 3-of-13 from the field, despite finishing with a team-high 14 points.
Eventually, Capital’s press wore down the usually-sound Panthers (1-1), who held Doherty to just 35 points in their season-opening win last weekend in Amherst.
“What we wanted to do was pressure them a little bit more,” Capital head coach Levy Gillespie Sr. said. “Darrick [Boyd] was doing a good job of getting to the basket and scoring, Cullen [Burke] had nine points in the first half, so we just wanted to pressure them some more and speed the tempo up.”
Darrick vs. Derrick
Boyd and Capital guard Derrick Ellis are friends off the court, and competitive adversaries during the summer circuit. So perhaps it wasn’t too much of a surprise to see the two square up with each other tonight. Both played all but two minutes tonight, and were in each other’s grill space for most of the night.
The hard-charging, fearless drives to the hoop by Boyd – perhaps influenced by his duties as a wingback during football season – were a worthy problem for the Trailblazers. But at the end of the day, Boyd finished 3-of-13 from the field while Ellis went 6-for-9, totaling 15 points.
“He’s really good. We do get some quick players. We have a guy like him, Derrick Ellis, who’s that tough, drive hard to the basket guy. We see that impact us. Derrick, they are familiar with each other, they’re friends off the court. We matched them up knowing that, maybe they’d cancel each other out a little bit.”
Cullen Burke also had 12 points for Cathedral, while Brian McCrae added 11. Elijah Robinson added nine points and six rebounds in the win for Capital.