Boys Basketball Edges Albany in Final Seconds to Advance to NCS Championship

Senior Eddy Ionescu hit a pivotal shot as time expired in regulation to send the game into overtime. Miramonte eventually defeated Albany by four to send them into the NCS Championship Game. The Mats will have to upset top-seeded Moreau Catholic in order to cement their legacy in NCS.

Haley Justus

Senior Eddy Ionescu hit a pivotal shot as time expired in regulation to send the game into overtime. Miramonte eventually defeated Albany by four to send them into the NCS Championship Game. The Mats will have to upset top-seeded Moreau Catholic in order to cement their legacy in NCS.

Xavier Clark, Staff Writer

With 2.9 seconds left in regulation and the Matadors down two points, it looked as if winning the game would be a long shot for the Matadors. Everyone in the gym knew that the ball would go to senior Eddy Ionescu, but that didn’t stop him from driving to the basket for a layup as time expired. Ionescu also stepped up in overtime with five points, propelling his team to a 67-63 win over the Albany Cougars.

“I was frustrated that I missed the free throw before that so I had to make it up for my team to get that basket,” said Ionescu.

Ionescu definitely showed everyone why he was the MVP of the DFAL, dropping 38 points on the night. Every time the Matadors were in need of a big basket, he was there to silence the crowd. Ionescu sparked a 14-0 run in the second quarter to put the Matadors up five heading into the half.

Sophomores Enzo Jiannalone and Ethan Fischler came up huge in the fourth quarter and overtime for the Matadors. Jiannalone had a huge put back in overtime after a missed free throw to extend the Matadors lead. Fischler knocked down multiple free throws when needed to put the game away.

“They were both big for us. Enzo played more aggressive and grabbed some key rebounds. Ethan pushed the ball and hit some key free throws,” said Ionescu.   

Once again, the Matadors created many turnovers off there 1-3-1 zone defense. They got deflections and steals that resulted in fast-break layups. Coach Drew Mcdonald found a big unit, where they used their length to swarm the smaller Cougars, and also allowed them to crash the offensive glass. The unit consisted of three players over 6’5,” including Charlie Hocking, Ionescu and Jiannalone.   

“The 1-3-1 zone forced them to make risky passes and it helped us,” said Ionescu

The Matadors will take on the Moreau Catholic Mariners in the Division III NCS Championship game this Saturday at St. Mary’s College. The Mariners are an offensive juggernaut who average 77 points a game. They present extreme athletic ability and the Matadors will need to play a near perfect game. The Mariners are lead by PG Demari Midstead who averages 18.6 points per game. Moreau has coasted through every opponent they have played in the NCS playoffs thus far.

Last year, the Matadors gave the Mariners all they could handle in the second round. The game was tight until the end, but Moreau pulled away, resulting in a 81-67 win.