Friday night’s game featuring Credo and St. Vincent High Schools was an all-time classic. It was a heavyweight battle of sorts. The St. Vincent Mustangs were raining threes all night long, hitting the Credo Gryphon with haymakers and yet the Gryphon kept coming.
The Gryphon seemed to be overmatched, but they kept grinding and, with 10 seconds left, tied the game up on a layup by Tali Stopeck. After this layup, the Gryphon side of the arena went nuts celebrating the improbable comeback, only to be shocked moments later as senior guard Miguel Bunting drained a three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Mustangs a 63-60 win.
Head Coach Jose Montalvan had nothing but praise for his team after the game. In his mind, there was nothing else the Gryphon could have done; they just got beat by a team shooting out of their minds.
“We were down most of the game, just trying to fight back,” Montalvan said. “St. Vincent just shot the lights out, it seemed like they didn’t miss all night, I don’t want to know what they shot percentage wise, but if I had to guess it would be like 65 or 70 percent. They made it tough on us and we tried to crawl back at the end, make a run and, as luck would have it, they made the game winner on us.”
Not only did the Mustangs rain in at least 8 three-pointers, most of them were from 3 or 4 feet behind the three-point line. When a team shoots that far away it’s difficult as a defense to extend because it’s not a high percentage shot.
Another storyline for the Gryphon was how much the role players stepped up Fri. night. Stopeck has been the Gryphon leading scoring for most of the season, but he was dealing with foul trouble on Friday, so it was the other players like Satchel Sevenau and Zach Gleason who stepped up in his absence.
“Tali’s our scorer, so for him to get in foul trouble early it definitely affected us,” Montalvan said. “The guys who came in for him stepped up, performed their role and just kept us close. I tell the guys as long as we stay close, we will always have a chance at the end, which was the case today, but unfortunately we came up short.”
Gleason, in particular, was incredible for the Gryphon in the fourth quarter scoring 8 of his 13 points and being the life behind the Gryphons come back. Gleason was away from the team for a couple of weeks and his return was felt in a big way by the Gryphon while they were on the comeback trail.
Sevenau, meanwhile, was the leading scoring with 18 points. He made 4 three-pointers and served as the zone breaker in the second half. Sevenau was tasked with moving to the free-throw line, catching the ball and then moving the ball from side to side.
Both Gleason and Sevenau kept the Gryphon in the game until Stopeck got going in the fourth quarter.
Montalvan praised the Mustangs shooting but also said his team didn’t do a great job defending the three-point line. The game winning three was the biggest example.
“St. Vincent was on fire, but a couple of times we broke down on defense and just kind of fell off the shooter and in varsity basketball if you fall off the shooter, you’ll pay for it and the game winner was proof of that.”
This game proves how much resolve the Gryphon have. They might have come up short, but they gave their fans something to be proud of. This is a team that will never give up regardless of the circumstances. Fri. night’s game could have easily gotten out of hand, but the Gryphon stayed focused, played one possession at a time and acquitted themselves well against a much bigger Mustangs team.