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Stepinac Beats Iona

Posted Saturday, January 20, 2007 by Lohud.com


Stepinac gets by Iona Prep
By Kevin Devaney Jr.
The Journal News

(Original publication: January 20, 2007)

NEW ROCHELLE - When you go on the road in the CHSAA, there's no such thing as style points. Especially not on a Friday night. And certainly not when there's an overflow crowd and television cameras looking on.

Stepinac was well aware of that, which is why it gladly left Iona Prep with an ugly 63-49 victory in an A Division clash last night.

The Crusaders overcame a sluggish start and a hostile atmosphere to grind out the win in the HSSTV game of the week. The game will air on Fox Sports NY today at 11 a.m.

"I tell our guys all the time that it doesn't matter how good you are when you go on the road in this league," Stepinac coach Tim Philp said. "It's especially true on a Friday night when you go to Iona Prep. You just take the win any way you can get it."

The Crusaders (10-4) didn't get this win in the same fashion it normally does, with junior guards Melquan Bolding and Tony Taylor lighting up the scoreboard. Last night was all about defense.

Richie Schmidt, a 5-foot-9 guard, and Taylor shut down the Iona Prep backcourt in the second half as Stepinac seized control.

"They were fantastic," Gaels coach Vic Quirolo said of Schmidt and Taylor. "We couldn't dribble-penetrate, they really locked us down. They kept us out of the middle and our guards just couldn't get anything going."

Schmidt provided a huge scoring lift in the third quarter.

The gutty senior buried a long 3-pointer and hit a runner in the lane to spark an 11-2 run as Stepinac took a 10-point lead into the fourth. Schmidt finished with 12 points and five assists.

"Everybody on this team is really starting to come together," Bolding said. "We're starting to get confidence in each other. Richie hit some big shots and is really stepping up. We're just playing together."

Bolding, who's committed to Louisville, had a game-high 18 points, seven rebounds and six steals, and Taylor added 17 points and four assists as the Crusaders won for the fourth time in five games.

Iona Prep, a relatively young and inexperienced team, seemed poised for an upset early.

Ryan O'Neil and John Vitale each hit 3-pointers in the first quarter as the Gaels (6-9) raced out to an eight-point lead. Stepinac's defense carried it back into the game and gave the Crusaders a two-point lead at the half.

Robby Janeczek scored eight of his 12 points in the third quarter before Stepinac broke away. Janeczek finished with 12 rebounds and Dan Olimpio added 11 points and seven rebounds.

"We just had a slow start and were a little sluggish," Taylor said. "But we know we're a second-half team. We just took it from there. Just get the W. That's all that matters."

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