It was a familiar problem again coming at the wrong time. Monsignor McClancy has struggled this season with finishing off comebacks and taking leads late.
“When ever we are down and we try to get back, those couple of games we couldn’t get in front,” forward Patrick Modzelewski said. “Those games when we did get in front we would get the win."
McClancy spent most of the second half erasing a 10-point halftime deficit before trading baskets with Stepinac all too often. The Crusaders never took a lead late in an eventual 57-52 loss to Stepinac in the CHSAA Class A intersectional boys basketball quarterfinasl at Mount St. Michael Saturday.
“If we had gone ahead of them we could have did some things against them,” McClancy coach Don Kent said.
His team cut the lead to one twice in the fourth quarter. The first came on a baseline layup from Modzelewski, who scored 10 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, with 3:40 left in the game and a 3-pointer from left side by the junior with 1:10 left. McClancy (12-13) got a steal on the next possession, but could not turn it into points.
Stepinac (16-11) answered with a 5-0 run, capped by two James Chillemi free throws. Modzelewski hit another 3-pointer to make it 55-52 with 11 seconds left, but Stepinac held on.
“We were determined to try to win this game,” Kent said. “We weren’t playing to stay close.”
Brandon Rivera scored 12 points for McClancy, which held Stepinac to just six third-quarter points. Chillemi scored 15 of his 18 points in the fourth and was 7-of 8 from the free throw line during that time. Rich Whitten had 20 points and Josh Powell added nine for Stepinac, which plays Xavier 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the semifinals at Cardinal Spellman.
“I wanted the ball.” Modzelewski said. “I wanted to get us up. Like coach said, throughout the whole season if we are up we can hold the lead and win the game.”