Immaculate Conception boys, girls hoops’ valiant tries for state sectional titles fall short
The Immaculate Conception boys and girls basketball teams might have both fallen short of their goal of a state title, but both gave audacious tries before falling short.
The Lions girls team found itself down by 15 points with two minutes left in the first half only to come all the back to slice the Morris Catholic lead to one.
But the fourth-seeded Immaculate Conception girls could not close it out in the final minute and fell 55-49 to second-seeded Crusaders on Wednesday, March 1 at Kennedy High School in Paterson. The Immaculate Conception girls were seeking their first state title.
And the sixth-seeded Immaculate Conception boys (18-10) at Franklin High School, also could not catch up to fourth-seeded Roselle Catholic, considered the top team in New Jersey, and dropped a 71-61 decision, also on March 1 in the Non Public North B state sectional title game. The Immaculate Conception boys were looking to win their first state title since 1978.
For the Immaculate Conception girls (22-6) they were down by 15, 27-12, with two minutes remaining in the first half.
But the Lions inched their way back in the third quarter to two points after senior Ciera Cevallos buried one of her three, three-point buckets to cut the Morris Catholic lead to 38-36 with one minute left in the third quarter.
Immaculate Conception though could never take the lead but stayed within at most a two-possession game in the fourth quarter. The Lions had several opportunities to take a lead or tie the game but could not get over the top.
And the Morris Catholic twin guards, Mya Pauldo and Mia Pauldo, just did enough to hold off the Immaculate Conception comeback.
Cevallos hit another three-pointer with 2:40 remaining in the final to slice the Crusaders lead to 50-47.
And three times the Immaculate Conception defense stopped Morris Catholic for a chance to at least tie the game.
But each time the Lions offense came up empty and with 41 seconds, Mia Pauldo, hit two free throws putting Immaculate Conception down by five, 52-47.
The Lions could never come back after that.
For the Immaculate Conception boys basketball team, they stuck with Roselle Catholic despite the Immaculate Conception Lions being undersized against a Roselle Catholic Lions team that had four players that had who were taller than 6-feet-8-inches.
Immaculate Conception can take some solace in that they lost to Roselle Catholic, 90-70, on Jan. 7.
Immaculate Conception senior Tavian Pullock and junior TJ Robinson did their best to keep up with Roselle Catholic. The team's top duo scored 18 point each. Senior Amir Dunlap added nine points.
But Immaculate Conception could not hold off Roselle Catholic's Mackenzie Mgbako, who will be playing at Duke University, and had a game-high 26 points against Immaculate Conception in the final.