St. Mary's rallies late to down Key

The St. Mary’s boys basketball team started the season with two straight losses, but those setbacks seemed far in the rear-view mirror on Friday night.

After falling by 10 to Annapolis Area Christian School to start the season and then dropping a five-point contest to Friends a week ago, the Saints jumped to an early lead, allowed Key to take a third-quarter advantage, then roared back to earn a 78-74 win over the Obezags Friday night.

Sam Ibeziako, a transfer from Arundel, and Patrick Devitt dominated in the paint, with each scoring 22 points. St. Mary’s had a noticeable height advantage over Key and took advantage of it when it came to crunch time.

“We just wanted to keep our heads and start going inside. Key is very good, so we had to work things to our advantage,” Saints coach Trey Quinn said. “We just wanted Ibeziako get back to basics and execute our offense, throw the ball inside and get the post points.”

After falling behind early, St. Mary’s went on a 10-2 run through the middle of the first quarter to mount a 17-10 lead with 2 minutes, 54 seconds remaining in the opening frame. Ibeziako made his presence felt during the run and Devitt chipped in a few baskets as well, but the Obezags used a pair of field goals and a 3-pointer to get back in it and trailed 20-15 after one.

The Saints extended the lead to nine in the first minute of the second, but Key used a pair of treys to trim the lead to three. Over the final six minutes of the half, the Saints’ lead swelled to seven and shrunk to one before the teams went into the locker room with the hosts still holding a 39-37 lead. Ibeziako led the Saints with 10, while Mike Parme chipped in seven and Devitt added six.

For Key, Augie Irving tallied 16, Mark Fusco had 11 and Marshall Tanz contributed six.

The teams went blow-for-blow to start the second half, with the lead never getting more than four for the saints over the first four minutes of the third. Key notched its first lead since early in the contest with 3:51 remaining in the

quarter on a basket by Jaier Johnson, but could never put the Saints more than two points behind. The guests held a 54-53 lead heading to the final eight minutes.

The Obezags went up by five early in the fourth, but St. Mary’s had an answer for every score. After two times down the court, Key failed to score while the Saints managed six points on their three possessions to take a 63-62 lead with 5:20 remaining.

Key rallied again to go up by five, but was held scoreless for nearly two minutes and saw its lead turn to a two-point deficit with two minutes to play.

The Saints did everything they needed down the stretch, except for the desperation 3-pointer that went in at the buzzer and walked away with the four-point victory.

A huge factor in the victory was holding the Obezags’ Elijah Jenkins to just six points over the 32 minutes.

“We wanted to make sure we were aware of him everywhere on the floor,” Quinn said. “He torched us last year, so we were pretty aware of what he could do and how explosive he could be.”

Key coach Brent Coleman reflected that if a team wins three of four categories in a basketball game, they should come out ahead. As the result showed, Key didn’t win in those categories.

“There are four things that are going to win a basketball game — make your free throws, rebound, limit your turnovers and make your layups,” said Coleman, whose team went 15 of 26 from the charity stripe. “Free throws hurt us and turnovers, late. That turned the momentum around and handed the game over to the home team.”

Irving led all scorers with 26 points, while Fusco had 17 and Tanz and Johnson each tallied 11 points for Key (2-1).

Parme and Garrett Nilsen each totaled nine points for St. Mary’s (1-2).

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