Loyola proved once more that basketball isn’t a beauty contest.
While Detroit Jesuit looked like a college team — and one that fielded several Division I prospects — the Ramblers were the better squad at Saturday’s eighth annual War on the Shore at Loyola.
Despite trailing after each of the first three quarters, Loyola outscored the Cubs in the final eight minutes to earn a 39-35 win. The victory improved the Ramblers (19-3) to 7-1 at the event.
“We hope to put you through the meat grinder and wear you out by the fourth quarter,” Loyola head coach Tom Livatino said. “I think we did that [Saturday].”
Junior guard Connor Barrett’s 3-pointer from the corner with 2 minutes, 55 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter put Loyola up 35-34. Junior guard Quinn Pemberton and Barrett then made all four of their free throws down the stretch to secure the win.
Barrett finished with a team-best 13 points and had three rebounds.
“That’s the second game in a row we played a good second half,” said Livatino, whose team beat De La Salle 63-47 at home Friday in the Catholic Blue. “We need to put a full game together.”
Detroit Jesuit, one of the top teams in Michigan and 2016 Class A state champion, started the game with three 3-pointers to lead 9-0. The Ramblers chipped away and trailed 12-8 after one. They fell behind by as many as nine in the second quarter before going into the break down 18-14.
“We looked tentative,” Loyola senior guard Kevin Cunningham said. “We weren’t ready. Once we started running our offense and picked it up on defense, we got back into the game.”
After intermission, senior forward Pete Mangan scored consecutive layups, the second off an assist from Cunningham, to tie the game at 18-all. Loyola took its first lead, 20-18, on Pemberton’s two free throws with 4:02 left in the third quarter.
That’s when Detroit Jesuit turned to 6-foot-9 junior forward Jalen Thomas. He scored six points in the final 2:31 to give the Cubs a 28-26 lead heading into the final quarter.
Thomas’ basket at the 5:27 mark of the fourth left Detroit Jesuit ahead 33-30, but it was the last field goal for the Cubs.
“This was a great matchup for us,” Cunningham said. “They are very good, but we love to play tough teams. It only helps us.”
Sophomore forward Bennett Kwiecinski (pictured above) had eight points and five rebounds. Mangan finished with seven points and six rebounds, while Pemberton added four points and four rebounds. Cunningham scored three points to go with nine assists. Sophomore forward Jordan Kwiecinski had four points.
Photo credit: Melissa Krein/Loyola