Senior guard Jack Martinus started off Saturday’s game with a steal that led to a layup. Senior guard Ramar Evans then took a charge. On its third defensive series, Loyola forced a missed shot.
That’s why the Ramblers were able to earn a 41-32 win over Providence Catholic at Montini in the first round of the Catholic League tournament, according to Loyola head coach Tom Livatino.
“We played well defensively the whole game,” he said. “We controlled the defensive glass, we took charges, we got on the floor. We took them out of what they do.”
With the win, Loyola (17-7) moves on to play Leo (18-6) in the quarterfinals at 2:30 p.m. at Fenwick. If the Ramblers win, they will host a semifinal game Wednesday.
Loyola led 12-2 after the first quarter and 22-12 at the half.
“It all started with our defense,” Evans said. “We made them fight for those 12 points they got in the first half. That’s how we have to play every time.”
The Celtics (11-13) got as close as four in the third quarter and six in the fourth. But Evans, who didn’t score his first points until the 4:18 mark of the third quarter, put Providence away with his drive and layup that gave Loyola a 39-31 lead with 1:27 remaining in the fourth.
Evans, an all-Catholic League pick, finished with a team-high 11 points and went 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter. He also had eight rebounds, two assists, one block, one steal and took two of the team’s three charges.
“Our guys were locked in from the get-go,” Livatino said. “We knew we would get off to a good start.”
Senior guard Jimmy Alexopoulos provided Loyola some offense in the first half, knocking down three 3-pointers to score nine points. Senior forward Kris Lampley finished with eight points, while senior guard Matt Lynch added six points. Although he didn’t score for the first time all season, junior guard Kevin Cunningham had a team-best five assists to go with three rebounds.
The Ramblers went 5-for-11 from the 3-point line and 8-for-9 on free throws. Livatino used nine players in the first quarter and 11 in the game.
Loyola played with senior forward and all-Catholic North selection Julian DeGuzman, who was injured during Tuesday’s St. Rita game. His status is day-to-day.