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Poor defensive second half dooms Bishop Loughlin

Even though his team trailed by two points, Bishop Loughlin boys’ basketball coach Rudy King was pretty happy at halftime of the CHSAA Class AA intersectional semifinal game against Christ the King Wednesday night.

With Big East coaches from St. John’s and DePaul watching from courtside, Jayvaughn Pinkston looked every bit the dominant offensive threat he is. The junior forward scored 15 points from inside and outside, including back-to-back 3-pointers in the second quarter.

The Lions hit six 3-pointers in the first half, and guards Branden Frazier and Anthony Givens looked dangerous, especially in transition. That forced Christ the King to alter its plans for the final 16 minutes.

“When we scored, they got into transition real fast and beat us up the floor,” Christ the King coach Joe Arbitello said. “That’s the first thing we went over in the locker room. The next adjustment was to put Maurice (Barrow) on Jayvaughn Pinkston. We just told Mo to take him out and we just played regular ‘D.’”

Bishop Loughlin struggled in the third quarter, scoring just 10 points. Pinkston was limited to three points in the frame.

“First half, I thought we were patient, and the second half we didn’t play well,” King said.

The Loughlin guards struggled, as well. Givens picked up his third foul midway through the third quarter and the perimeter shots that fell in the first half clanged out for long Christ the King rebounds. That resulted in easy fast-break points for the Royals.

“We just took some bad shots [in the second half],” King said. “They beat us in transition, they killed us in transition. That was one of the things that we really talked about trying to stop.”

Pinkston tried his best to get his team back in the game after the Royals extended their lead to 12 with 5:34 left in the fourth quarter. Pinkston scored on a layup and then knocked down a pair of free throws to get the Lions to within eight. Antoine Brown went to the line to cut the deficit to six, but missed a pair of free throws.

Loughlin trailed by seven with 2:33 left and desperately needed a stop, but instead Sean Johnson (28 points) dropped in a floater and Barrow (19 points) added a layup. Frazier got to the basket and got fouled, but he, too, missed a critical free throw down the stretch as a season that started out with so much promise ended in frustration for Bishop Loughlin in the Class AA intersectional semifinals.

“They play old-school basketball,” King said of Christ the King. “They force us to take a bad shot, and then they’re out [on the break].”

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