Less than 24 hours after winning the Jesuit Cup, Loyola gutted out a win at Evanston over another rival and one of Chicagoland’s most highly-regarded teams.
Saturday’s 69-60 victory against St. Patrick — ranked 10th by the Chicago Sun-Times and 11th by the Chicago Tribune — at the seventh annual War on the Shore showed the Ramblers are as tough as they are good.
“It’s a little bit of a grind, but it’s that time of year,” Loyola head coach Tom Livatino said. “We’ve been playing well and playing with confidence. We’ll see how we respond [Tuesday].”
Winners of 10 in a row, the Ramblers (15-5) host Catholic North-leading Fenwick on Tuesday. The Friars are 7-0 in the league, and the Ramblers are tied for second with DePaul Prep at 6-1.
“We are very demanding of our guys, but they are starting to get it,” Livatino said. “We’ve won two really big games, but we have the biggest one of them all Tuesday.”
It wasn’t easy against the Shamrocks (18-4). St. Patrick was ahead by as many as 13 in the first half and held a 37-25 lead 52 seconds into the third quarter after back-to-back baskets.
That’s when the Ramblers woke up, according to Livatino said.
“We were asleep early,” he said. “But we started guarding better and playing with more energy. That was key. We also played with more swagger offensively.”
Senior guard Jack Martinus and junior guard Kevin Cunningham sparked an 11-0 run, and Loyola outscored St. Patrick 23-6 in the third quarter to enter the final eight minutes up 48-43. Cunningham scored seven of his 18 points during a 67-second stretch early in the third quarter.
“If [Cunningham] is making his shots, it opens up the floor for us,” Loyola senior guard Ramar Evans said. “He kept us in the game.”
But it was a total team effort. Senior forward Kris Lampley and Evans had big baskets at the end of the third, and senior guard Matt Lynch (pictured above) took over early in the fourth.
Lynch scored on a jumper on the block and converted a 3-point play to give the Ramblers a 55-48 lead at the 4:31 mark. He later made a layup off an assist from Cunningham to keep the Ramblers ahead by seven, 58-51, with 2:47 to go.
St. Patrick couldn’t get any closer than five in the final two minutes, thanks to Loyola going 9-for-12 from the free throw line down the stretch.
“The biggest thing is we are playing with confidence,” Evans said. “Ever since our Florida trip, we’ve been going straight uphill. We are still going up that hill.”
Evans scored a team-high 19 points and had five rebounds. Lynch finished with 11 points and five rebounds. Junior guard Peter Mangan made two 3-pointers in the first quarter for his six points.
Proceeds from Saturday benefitted the Danny Did Foundation. Loyola, which hosted the War on the Shore for the first six years, is 6-1 at the event.
JACOBS 63, New Trier 49
LOYOLA 69, St. Patrick 60
EVANSTON 60, Homewood-Flossmoor 48