BOSTON -- With Guilien Smith’s hand hot as ever, there was never any doubt that Catholic Memorial would put the ball in his hands for the final play of regulation, needing two points to tie their Catholic Conference rival BC High.
“We wrote up the play so it would be Guilien,” said CM coach Denis Tobin. “We told him in the timeout, ‘We want you to go out there and create something. Create a scoring chance for yourself, and if it’s not there, Aamahne (Santos) will be right be you.’ He found a way to get to the hoop himself.”
With seven seconds left, Smith took the inbounds pass out of a timeout just in front of halfcourt. A clear-out play gave the lightning-quick guard a chance to get to the basket, and he took off for the hoop.
As he neared the basket, Knights’ senior Gerard Adams sealed off the defender with a perfectly timed screen, and Smith laid the ball in off the hoop to send the game to overtime.
“It didn’t go quite like we drew it up, but G opened things up with the screen and gave me an easy chance,” said Smith.
He added four of his game-high 33 points in OT to help the Knights (16-1) slip past BC, 106-100, inside McNeice Pavilion on Tuesday night.
Smith’s scoring was only a fraction of his impact for CM. He grabbed 11 rebounds in the win, with six coming on the offensive end. He also dished out four assists and was an anchor on defense, despite playing nearly the whole fourth quarter and all of OT with four fouls.
“I’m really proud of the way he handled that,” said Tobin. “He sometimes has a habit of getting hit with a bad foul, and the fourth may have been that. So I stressed to him on the bench that he couldn’t take one of those, and he was great the rest of the way.”
Added Smith: “It was definitely nerve-wracking playing with four fouls. I knew I couldn’t reach in and swat at the ball, but the other four guys on the floor with me did a great job picking me up the rest of the way.”
Points A Plenty: With both teams reaching triple digits, there was plenty of opportunity to rack up points. Nine different guys in all reached double figures on the night.
Santos, who also had seven rebounds and six assists, finished second on the Knights with 22 points. Kevin Claflin had 17 and Brandon Twitty chipped in 16 to pace the run-and-gun CM offense. Smith, Claflin and Twitty all hit four 3-pointers in the win.
On the other side, Tom Galanek led the scoring charge for BC, pouring in 25 points -- including 17 after the half.
Steve Young finished right behind Galanek, scoring a career-high 24 points off the bench. Phil Leotsakos, who proved to be a high-energy guy for the Eagles all night, added 22 points. He also had 17 rebounds, six assists and five blocks for BC.
“Phil is a really good player and he had a big night tonight,” said BC coach Bill Loughnane. “Even that shot he took near the end (a possible game tying three late in OT), that was halfway down before it rimmed out. He’s our big guy, but we’re confident with him taking that shot.
The Eagles also got 14 points from Isaiah Bowman and 10 Jack Loughnane as they fell to 9-5.