DOWNINGTOWN - Less than 24 hours after a tough overtime loss to West Chester Henderson, the Bishop Shanahan boys basketball team had another struggle on its hands. This time, the opponent was Kennett and the two teams went at each other tooth and nail for the entire 32 minutes.
There were runs by both teams, bodies strewn on the floor and many highlights in a frenetic contest. When it was over, Shanahan, behind a superlative performance from Pat Corcoran with a game-high 23 points, survived a last second 3-point attempt and came away with a well-earned 49-46 nonleague triumph.
"I was really amped up for the game tonight,' Corcoran said. "We lost last night (Thursday), but we put it behind us and just came out to play hard. And our offense was moving the ball well all night and everybody likes that because we all get involved.'
Shanahan (10-6 overall) took a 24-20 halftime lead behind Corcoran and the talented Mike Booth, who had 13 points on the night. When the Eagles started the third period on an 8-0 run to open up a 32-20 lead, it looked like the Blue Demons (8-6) were dead in the water. But Kennett received big games from juniors Jackson Hyland and Vaughan Jenkins, who scored 20 and 15 points respectively, would not go away.
The Blue Demons came roaring back, shooting a torrid 7 for 10 in the period to trail the Eagles, 39-37, heading into the fourth.
Booth started things for the Eagles, draining a jumper to make it 41-37. Corcoran drove the lane and missed, but hit on the follow for a 43-37 advantage. Following a turnover from Kennett, Doug Costin took a pass from Hector Hilton to score in tight to make it 45-37. Corcoran ended the run by scoring from medium range and once again, Kennett looked dead.
The Blue Demons, who shot just 2 of 11 in the final period, did not score until there was 2:08 left to play, Gabe Leto recorded an an old fashioned three-point play to cole the gap to 47-40.
"Coach (Ken) Doyle told us that if we play good defense in the fourth period we would win the game,' Booth said. "And even after a tough game like last night (Thursday), we work on conditioning so much it worked out for us tonight. Everybody was alive and the ball was moving around the floor.'
Kennett came back again. With the Eagles suddenly turning the ball over late in the game, Hyland scored from just inside the lane, then Yoshuke Kobayashi hit a pair of free throws to close to 47-44 with 22 seconds left.
With the Blue Demons pressing the inbounds pass, Corcoran broke free and got behind the defense to score on a layup with 11 seconds to play.
Jenkins then followed a Kennett miss to make it 49-46 with four seconds left. Shanahan's Dan Murphy was fouled, but missed the front end of a one-and-one.
Kennett rebounded, but a desperate heave fell short at the buzzer and the frantic 32 minutes ended with a Shanahan win.
"We put a lot of work in in September and October to be ready for games like this,' Shanahan coach Ken Doyle said. "We work there nights a week on strength and conditioning and we have a program in place. Pat was great for us tonight. He made a commitment to us in the fall and he played real well tonight.
"Mike is our leader, but with our offense, everybody has to step up. And Mike is a great passer and has a great basketball IQ. Tonight, we really played well in the trenches and came away with a win.'
For coach Brian Urig, it was a disappointing end to a winnable game. The Blue Demons played very well at times, but stalled at key times.
"We just could not get a basket when we needed it,' Urig said. "We seemed to score after they did. This is a very tough loss.'
Bishop Shanahan 49, Kennett 46
KENNETT: Hyland 9 0-0 20, Jenkins 5 4-7 15, Kobayashi 1 -46-6, Kelly 0 2-2 2, Leto 1 1-1 3, McGlone 0 0-0 0, Middleton 0 0-0 0, Boulden 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 11-16 46.
BISHOP SHANAHAN: Corcoran 8 7-7 23, Booth 4 3-3 13, Costin 3 0-0 6, Alderman 1 0-1 3, Lord 1 0-0 2, Murphy 1 0-1 2, Hilton 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 10-12 49.Kennett 10 10 17 9-46
Bishop Shanahan 14 10 15 10-49
3-point goals: Hyland 2, Jenkins, Booth 2, Alderman.