By Phil Anastasia
Inquirer Staff Writer
Jesse Saul scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half to rally Bishop Eustace to a 69-63 victory over Seneca Monday night in an Olympic Conference boys' basketball game.
Saul, a 6-foot-2 junior forward, scored 12 in the fourth quarter for Bishop Eustace (2-0), the No. 22 team in The Inquirer preseason Top 25.
Senior guard Eric Sobocinski made four 'threes' and added 16 points for Bishop Eustace.
Senior guard Tommy Egan made six 'threes' and finished with 23 points for Seneca (1-1).
"He only made six 'threes'?" Bishop Eustace coach Bob Falconiero said of Egan. "Seemed like more than that."
Seneca made 11 'threes' as a team and battled to the end, despite an 11-point deficit midway in the fourth quarter.
Egan hit a three-pointer and Zach Evans scored on a put-back to cut Bishop Eustace's lead to 60-57 with about two minutes to play.
But Saul converted a traditional three-point play off a nice feed from senior guard Mike Cohen to give the Crusaders some breathing room.
Egan's four-point play cut Bishop Eustace's lead to 66-61 with 0:15 on the clock.
"They're a scrappy team," Falconiero said of Seneca. "We're scrappy too. I think we're going to be OK. We made some youthful mistakes but they can be corrected."
Bishop Eustace tightened its defense in the third quarter and took the lead as Sobocinski made a pair of shots from behind the arc..
In the fourth quarter, Saul kept muscling inside for hoops to fend off Seneca's comeback attempt.
Junior forward Alec DiPietrantonio added eight points and sophomore guard Pat Fish scored nine for Bishop Eustace.
The Crusaders also got strong work down the stretch from Cohen, who battled foul trouble and finished with seven points.
"I needed him in there at the end," Falconiero said of Cohen.
The entertaining game featured a total of 18 'threes' as both teams looked to connect from behind the arc.
Bishop Eustace junior guard Nate Carpenter hit a buzzer-beating, three-pointer to cut Seneca's lead to 27-26 at halftime.
Bishop Eustace 11 15 21 22 -- 69
Seneca 13 14 14 22 -- 63
BE: Alec DiPietrantonio 8, Pat Fish 9, Jesse Saul 18, Eric Sobocinski 16, Mike Cohen 7, Jack McCaffrey 5, Nate Carpenter 6.
S: Mike Ginyard 5, J.J. Scarpello 11, Zach Evans 7, Brett Barnes 8, Tommy Egan 23, Jack Brockett 5, Brad Jankowski 4.
-- Contact Phil Anastasia at firstname.lastname@example.org