Defense leads Loyola to win
Updated: February 9, 2013 1:33AM
CHICAGO — At halftime of Friday night’s boys basketball game, Gordon Tech recognized its 1962 team for winning the Chicago Catholic title. Visiting Loyola had to stand and watch the ceremony before it could re-take the court to warm up. But when the second half was over and the final buzzer rang, it was the Ramblers who had championship plans of their own.
Twenty-fifth ranked Loyola set up a showdown for the Chicago Catholic North title next Friday versus St. Joseph with a 49-40 victory over the Rams. The win was the 11th consecutive one for coach Tom Livatino’s team, all of which followed a familiar recipe — strong defense and clutch outside shooting.
“There’s a tremendous amount of pride in our locker room, and a tremendous amount of pride to what our players do,” Livatino said. “I thought our guys battled. Gordon Tech gave us a whole lot of punches. That was a great Catholic League game. They gave us everything we could handle, but our guys responded. It was a really good road win for us.”
The Ramblers (18-5 overall, 8-2 conference) were led offensively by guard James Clarke and forward Jack Morrissey, each of whom scored 17 points. Both players lit it up from the outside, combining for seven 3-pointers. By stretching the floor, it allowed other players to attack the basket and go to the free-throw line. For the game, Loyola went 13-of-16 from the charity stripe.
“We knew it was going to be tough, that was a hostile environment,” Morrissey said. “They were making some big shots, so it really came down to us making our free throws down the stretch and getting out of here with a win.”
Loyola led by as many as 12 during the second quarter, but the Rams fought back. Guard Jerry Davis (15 points) led the way for Gordon Tech, hitting several big shots to cut the lead down to as little as four midway through the fourth. However, an effective man-to-man defense by the Rabmlers, who switched on every ball screen to avoid dribble handoffs and free looks at the basket for shooters, helped close out the game. Gordon Tech did not score in the game’s final 2:30.
“We play almost all man, and we take pride in doing what we do on defense,” Livatino said. “Our guys do a great job of locking in, knowing who we’re playing and their personnel, and knowing what the plan is. And they go out and execute it.”
Gordon Tech fell to 15-9 overall and 3-8 in conference with the loss.