Pat Disabato – Daily Southtown
Brother Rice junior Deandre Hagan was making a living from the 3-point line, burying 6 of 7 shots through three quarters.
But late in the fourth, with the Crusaders clinging to a one-point lead against resilient Marist, the 6-foot-4 forward was where he belonged.
Crashing the boards.
Hagan’s rebound, layup and free throw completed a 3-point play Tuesday night and helped host Brother Rice hold on for a 76-72 victory.
It was Hagan’s first 2-point attempt of the game. It couldn’t have come at a better time for Brother Rice (15-6), which took a 16-15 series lead in the rivalry.
“I know you live by the three and die by the three,” said Hagan, who finished with 21 points. “I believed at that time, I’d be more effective crashing the boards.
“I’ll do whatever I need to do — pass, assist, rebound, tip balls — to help us win.”
Brother Rice coach Bobby Frasor was impressed with Hagan’s 3-point efficiency, but even more pleased he had the awareness to go inside to get the rebound and layup.
“For him to get that offensive rebound and then the basket and free throw was massive,” Frasor said. “And if he’s not shooting the three like he was, we’re probably down 10 points in the first half.”
Senior guard Marquise Kennedy, however, was playing at an even higher level, which has been the case all season for the Crusaders.
Kennedy, a Loyola recruit, finished with 28 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
“Marquise does things not a lot of other players can do,” Frasor said. “He’s leading us in every statistical category.”
Senior forward Anthony Arquilla added 12 points for Rice and senior guard Jimmy Gavin had 10, including three 3-pointers.
For Marist (11-10), senior forward Dorion Pendleton led the way with 20 points, including 15 in the fourth quarter.
Senior guard Nile Hill added 16 points and sophomore forward Jabari Hill had 10 for the RedHawks.
When Kennedy converted a steal into a layup, the Crusaders were up 56-45 late in the third quarter.
Marist looked doomed.
Instead, Pendleton powered a ferocious rally. He converted a layup, a pair of 3-point plays and two free throws to force a 61-61 tie with 3:42 to go.
Pendleton chalked it up to having to put on his “big boy pants.”
“Our big men were getting double-teamed,” he said. “Usually I’m a pass-first person. I started attacking and hitting some free throws.”
Marist trailed 65-64 when Hagan came through with the offensive rebound and eventual 3-point play with 2:28 to go.
“It was a big game,” Hagan said. “Coach emphasizes rebounds and putbacks. That’s what I did.”