Iglesia dazzles in McQuaid’s overtime defeat of Kearney

McQuaid’s Jermaine Taggart (14) and Anthony Iglesia (1) look to trap Bishop Kearney’s Kevin Goode Jr. during first-half action Friday night. McQuaid edged Kearney in overtime, 82-81. (Photo: PAUL GOTHAM/PICKIN’ SPLINTERS)

By PAUL GOTHAM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — When the McQuaid Jesuit Knights found themselves trailing late in Friday’s Section V boys’ basketball matchup, head coach Jack Leasure only needed to jar his team’s memory. The Knights didn’t need to go back too far in their history to find success with end-of-game situations.

“We had three games this week where we were in very similar positions,” Leasure said after McQuaid’s 82-81 overtime win against Bishop Kearney. “They made the run, went up two and sat in a timeout and said ‘look we were at the same type of game, down nine on Monday. We’ve been here on the road.'”

It also helps to have Anthony Iglesia pushing all the buttons on the court.

Throw any superlative you want at Friday night’s performance. They all can stick. In a game where both teams can boast multiple players who are considered among the best in Section V, Iglesia stood above the rest.

Starting with a corner three to send the game into overtime, McQuaid’s 5-foot-7 assassin delivered 15 of his team’s last 17 points.

 

“I can’t describe it,” Iglesia said. “You’re not going to get many chances like that in this type of environment, this type of atmosphere. Just to be a part of it felt incredible. I’m blessed to be in that position.”

He converted on all eight of his free throw attempts in extra time including an and-one on a three-point play to give McQuaid a lead it did not surrender at 78-75 with 29.6 remaining.

“My teammates and coach had a lot of faith in me,” the senior said. “They told me to get the ball toward the end of the game and make sure to stay controlled and stay poised with the ball.

“Coach told me ‘as long as you have that ball, we should be in good shape. We should be in good position to win this game.’ So I felt comfortable with that.”

 

The win was the fifth straight for a young McQuaid squad which opened the season with three losses and had a record of 4-7 after falling to Rice Memorial High School of South Burlington, Vermont on January 13th. Since then the Knights have defeated long-time rival East High, handed Leadership Academy For Young Men its first loss of the season, knocked off Fairport and outlasted Edison Tech in another heated RCAC matchup.

Friday night, McQuaid slowed a Bishop Kearney team which was on its own upward trajectory.

“We have really started to put the team first,” Leasure said. “When you do that, it’s a lot easier to stay tough. If you’re by yourself, it’s hard to be mentally tough. If you got five guys on the floor and 10 guys on the bench behind you, it’s more of a family feel. It’s easy to be resilient and tough. You grow as a group. We lost to some good teams, played a tough schedule. I think we got better from that.”

Earlier in the week, Iglesia led three in double figures with 17 and scored five in overtime to lead McQuaid past Fairport. His steal and layup in the extra period clinched a 68-59 win.

“This stretch for us he has showed a ton of leadership, resiliency,” Leasure said. “What we’ve been kinda harping on with these guys is no matter what we’re going to make mistakes; we’re going to have turnovers, we’re going to have mental errors. If we just keep tight, stay a family, keep working hard and keep doing the things that we’ve been working on day in and day out, then we’re going to be in a position to win. We’ve done a much better job of that this week. Anthony has been at the heart of that.”

McQuaid looked in command midway through the third quarter Friday night. Iglesia highlighted a 10-0 run with a three from the left corner followed by a steal of the ensuing inbound and layup. Connor Zamiara converted a rebound and putback. Jermaine Taggart hit a pull-up jumper in the lane, and the Jesuit Knights led 53-40 with less than four minutes remaining in the stanza.

Michael Gentile came off the bench and authored the Kearney comeback. The sophomore guard drilled a trio of his own three balls and his rebound and putback pulled the Kings within two at 61-59. Shykell Brown went high off the glass to tie the game. Jamal Fennell took a feed from Brown in the lane and gave BK its first lead since 6-5 at 63-61.

 

“We wasted some offensive possessions,” Leasure said. “For that stretch when we kinda let them back in, we didn’t share it the way we have been sharing it. We got back to that later in the game, played smarter and got to the free throw line, did some good things to pull that out.”

 

The sophomore duo of Kobe Long and Jermaine Taggart paced McQuaid to a 38-31 lead at halftime. Long connected on four 3-pointers in the first half for 12 points. Taggart added 11 before the teams went to the break.

 

Long finished with 17 for the night including a traditional 3-point play on a rebound and putback to give McQuaid a 64-63 edge with 4:22 to go.

 

Taggart had 20. Zamiara added six. Jon Catone scored four points, and Josh Purcell’s  two points of the night tied the score at 73 with less than 90 seconds remaining in overtime.

Fennell paced Kearney (7-9), which had won three of four and seven of nine coming into the game, with 22 points. Brown had 18 and AJ Gray, 12. Kevin Goode, Jr. scored 12. Jordan Love had four points.

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