WILMINGTON – Jordon Blake’s tap-in of a missed jumper with 1.5 seconds left proved to be the difference as Conrad fought off a valiant comeback by St. Thomas More, 46-44, Wednesday evening in Diamond State Athletic Conference action.
The successful shot set off a celebration among the home fans as the clock read 0.0, but the referees ruled that there were 1.5 seconds remaining. The Ravens nearly sent the game to overtime with their opportunity. After a Conrad timeout, the Ravens inbounded the ball about a third of the way up the court and immediately called their own timeout. The officials determined that STMA would have 1.2 seconds after the timeout.
The inbounds pass was lofted over the Conrad defenders and caught in stride under the basket by Ravens guard Kobe Morris. He tried a blind reverse layup that hit the glass and rolled off the rim, allowing the Conrad players, coaches and fans to breathe a sigh of relief.
With its fifth straight win, Conrad improved to 10-4, but for a second time St. Thomas More proved to be a tough foe. The Redskins scored a 54-44 win in Magnolia on Jan. 20 to begin the current winning streak.
The Ravens came out firing, hitting three three-point shots in the first period on their way to a 15-12 lead after the quarter. In fact, St. Thomas More led by nine at 15-6 with two minutes to go before losing their shooting touch and allowing Conrad to take control for most of the contest.
Conrad scored three field goals in less than a minute late in the first, then Kyle Malick hit the first two shots of the second, turning the three-point deficit into a 16-15 lead two minutes in. DeMarkus Lee hit a free throw to end the 10-point run, but Conrad had outscored the Ravens, 16-3, before St. Thomas More finally ended its field goal drought late in the half. The Redskins took a 25-22 advantage into the break.
Conrad extended the lead to six heading into the fourth quarter, and Malick was the key contributor. After being held scoreless in the first, he finished with a game-high 22 points, hitting one critical bucket after another.
STMA, behind the leadership of Morris, fought its way back into the game in the fourth. He was fouled while attempting a three-point shot and converted all three free throws to make it 37-34. Malick sandwiched two field goals around one from St. Thomas More’s Joe Carter, then Morris hit a three-pointer to bring the Ravens to within 41-39 with 4:15 to go. Forty-five seconds later, Morris was fouled again while shooting a three-pointer, and again he drained all three free throws to give STMA its first lead since the first quarter at 42-41. The Ravens extended that to three points on two more Morris foul shots, but those would be the team’s final points.
Malick hit a free throw to make the score 44-42, then he tied the game on a layup. Morris was fouled once more while driving to the hoop with 24.6 seconds to go, but he had to leave the game after hitting the padded end wall and could not shoot the free throws. Both were missed, setting up Blake’s last-second heroics.
Blake finished with eight points, second to Malick. The Redskins are back on the court Friday at Archmere at 6:15 p.m. and Saturday at Delmarva Christian at 2:30 p.m.
Morris led the Ravens with 18, including 10 for 10 from the foul line and two three-point shots. Carter added nine, while Gregory Bloodsworth had eight. The hard-luck loss dropped St. Thomas More to 5-10. The Ravens are back home Thursday and Friday. Wilmington Christian visits Thursday for a 5:45 p.m. start on Thursday, while St. Andrew’s is in Magnolia Friday for a 6 p.m. tip.