After watching their 14-point lead slip away in the fourth, Archbishop Williams got one final chance to prevent their battle with Cardinal Spellman from going to overtime. The Bishops’ first option was covered well. The second option didn’t pan out. So, they made a play.
Senior Lorenzo Jackson, left open on the far wing, drilled a game-winning three for his first points of the night, as the No. 1 Bishops fought off the No. 4 Cardinals, 65-62, in the D3 semifinal Wednesday night at Scituate High School.
“When I let it go, it looked good, and I was like ‘it’ll make for a really good picture if I celebrate right now,” Jackson said. “And it went in, thank god.”
FINAL: No. 1 Archbishop Williams 65, No. 4 Cardinal Spellman 62— Mike Puzzanghera (@mpuzzanghera) March 15, 2023
Lorenzo Jackson wins it at the buzzer! He drills a three for his first points of the day, and the Bishops are headed to the state final!@GlobeSchools @goAWathletics pic.twitter.com/krjhaBEBLu
Archbishop Williams advanced to the D3 final against Catholic Central foe St. Mary’s, a 58-47 winner over Old Rochester in the other semifinal, Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Tsongas Center.
The Bishops (23-1) wanted to go inside to senior Josh Campbell (game-high 26 points), but the Cardinals (18-5) had him blanketed in the post. Then, they were looking for junior Tristan Rodriguez (15 points) coming off a screen, but he wasn’t open either. Sophomore Julian Sustache drove into the line and kicked it out to a wide-open Jackson.
“It had nothing to do with me,” Archbishop Williams head coach Brian Holden said. “My guys made the play, and [Jackson] made the huge shot.”
After a back-and-forth first half, the Bishops surged ahead with a 14-3 run coming out of halftime. But the Cardinals opened the fourth with an 11-1 run to get within two, powered by senior Jaydan Exalus (team-high 20 points, 10 rebounds) and junior D’Anthony Amado (18 points). After the Bishops pushed their lead to six, Spellman went on a 7-0 run to take their first lead since the first quarter with a minute to play at 61-60.
During the third, Campbell hit his 1,000th career point with his third bucket of the frame.
“It felt great, and it felt even better to win on it,” Campbell said of passing 1,000 for his career.
St. Mary’s 58, Old Rochester 47 — Trailing until the final minute of the first half, the St. Mary’s boys’ basketball team never strayed far from its identity.
By remaining committed to slashing to the basket and keeping up the pressure on the defensive side of the floor, the second-seeded Spartans remain alive in their quest for consecutive Division 3 state championships following their victory over third-seeded Old Rochester.
Awaiting the Spartans: Catholic Central foe Archbishop Williams, the top seed in the bracket, which advanced via buzzer beater over Cardinal Spellman earlier in the evening.
“We were able to move the ball around and we knew in time we’d be able to knock down some shots,” St. Mary’s coach David Brown Sr. said.
The coach’s son, David Brown Jr., never frayed from attacking the rim for the Spartans (19-7), finishing with 14 points along with six rebounds and five assists. Along with Omri Merryman (game-high 17 points), Brown Jr. was involved in two plays in particular which swung the pendulum towards a return to the final for St. Mary’s.
Brown Jr. connected on a free throw to give the Spartans their first lead of the game, 24-23, over the Bulldogs (21-4), and added a buzzer-beating runner at the end of the third quarter to extend the St. Mary’s edge to 36-33.
Merryman, who connected on five 3-pointers, drained one of his treys at the first half buzzer to cap off a 15-4 run in which the Spartans firmly wrested control away from ORR.
“We were just confident that we’d be alright,” Merryman said. “We were confident in ourselves, confident in our abilities.”
Mike Puzzanghera reported from Scituate, Jake Levin from Quincy.