By Steve Millar
Brother Rice’s Marquise Kennedy and Mount Carmel’s Josh Redic staged quite the one-on-one showdown Friday night.
Kennedy, a Loyola recruit, embraced the challenge.
“It was a great matchup,” Kennedy said. “He played me tough. I played him tough. It was a lot different than normal. I had to spend a lot more energy than normal on defense. I was tired at the end.”
Kennedy, a senior guard, had enough left in the tank to lead the Crusaders to a 65-61 come-from-behind win over host Mount Carmel in a Catholic League crossover.
Kennedy scored 28 points and had nine rebounds for Brother Rice (12-5, 4-2 Catholic Blue), while Jimmy Gavin chipped in with 14 points.
Redic finished with 24 points and six rebounds for Mount Carmel (12-5, 4-2 Catholic White). Liam McDonagh added 14 points and eight rebounds.
“We normally give Marquise an easier matchup on defense so he can save some energy,” Brother Rice coach Bobby Frasor said. “Redic is so good, though, that I felt like we had to put Marquise on him.
“Redic still got his points, but Marquise made him work for it. I’m most proud of the way Marquise played defense.”
Brother Rice trailed 45-34 midway through the third quarter before Gavin hit a pair of 3-pointers and Kennedy scored on a drive to pull the Crusaders within 48-46 heading into the fourth.
“Marquise told me, ‘I need you now,’” Gavin said. “I told him, ‘I’ve got you, ‘Quise.’ I hit those threes and I think I made him pretty happy.”
The Crusaders went on a 7-0 run midway through the fourth to take a 60-54 lead.
Mount Carmel pulled within one twice in the final three minutes, but Conor Glennon’s steal and two free throws with 11 seconds left put Brother Rice up by four points and sealed the win.
Kennedy was proud to see his team respond to Mount Carmel’s 13-2 surge at the start of the third quarter.
“We were in big trouble,” Kennedy said. “I knew I had to step up and make a big play, and I did. I told my teammates to take shots when they were open. They did, and they hit big shots.
“Jimmy Gavin always steps up in the clutch for us.”
Deandre Hagan added eight points for Brother Rice. Will Mendez scored nine points for Mount Carmel.
Redic felt the Caravan let one slip away.
“We didn’t put our foot on their throats,” Redic said. “We should’ve finished it off.
“It was fun playing against (Kennedy). He’s really good.”