4A BOYS: Manogue wins battle of Bishops, knocks out Gorman
February 25, 2011 - 12:01 am
A private school called “Bishop” won Thursday to advance to Friday’s Class 4A boys basketball state title game.
But it wasn’t the Bishop everyone expected.
Niles Lujan had 23 points as Bishop Manogue shocked two-time defending state champion Bishop Gorman, 45-44 at the Orleans Arena.
Manogue (25-5) plays Canyon Springs (28-2) for the title at 8 p.m. Friday.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Lujan said. “Last year they beat us in the semis, and our goal from the moment we lost was to come back here and win.
“It’s just a great feeling. It’s irreplaceable.”
Gorman (25-6) led 44-43 with less than 30 seconds to play. But instead of holding onto the ball, the Gaels worked it inside to Ronnie Stanley.
Stanley’s post move wouldn’t fall, and Zachery McElroy grabbed the rebound for the Miners.
Manogue pushed the ball down the court, and Ethan Dillard’s driving layup with nine seconds left put the Miners on top, 45-44.
“We should have held the ball and we forced it inside,” Gorman coach Grant Rice said. “There was some contact in there, obviously, but we didn’t expect that call there at the end.”
Gorman called timeout with 7.4 seconds left. The Gaels, ranked No. 15 nationally by USA Today, got he ball to freshman point guard Noah Robotham, who drove the length of the court.
Robotham got into the lane, but his layup rimmed off. Shabazz Muhammad got a tip, but that missed as well, and Manogue’s Obim Okeke grabbed the rebound as time expired.
“We wanted him to penetrate and if they closed it off to kick,” Rice said. “He got to the basket. We had a good attempt, Shabazz had his hands on the ball and he didn’t put it in, either. So we had two chances.”
Gorman hurt itself with sloppy play, turning the ball over 18 times, including 12 in the first half. Manogue had only 12 turnovers on the night.
“It’s not a shock the way we played,” Rice said. “It’s not a shock. They’re a good team. They competed with us last year and they beat us this year. I’m not shocked. They outplayed us tonight. They made big plays when they needed to, and we didn’t finish.”
Most of those big plays were made by Lujan, who scored 16 points in the second half.
Gorman led 36-32 after a three-point play by Ben Carter, but Lujan came back and hit a 15-foot fallaway jumper to pull the Miners within two.
After a spinning move in the lane by Carter made it 40-37, Lujan hit a 26-footer to tie the score with 3:04 to go.
“I was just in the zone, I guess,” Lujan said. “We needed to score and we weren’t getting open looks. We couldn’t get anything inside, they were that much bigger than us. So we had to come up with something, and today it was me.”
Lujan had 11 points in the fourth quarter, including a pair of 3-pointers when Gorman threatened to pull away.
“Lujan did a great job,” Rice said. “He made some big shots right when they needed it. I felt like we could have pulled away several times in the fourth quarter, and he made some big shots to keep them in the game.”
Muhammad, Gorman’s leading scorer and one of the top-rated juniors in the country, spent a good portion of the second half on the bench and finished with nine points.
“Shabazz has been hurt all week,” Rice said. “His ankle’s really bothering him. He just wasn’t even close to himself, obviously.”
Carter led Gorman with 13 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots.