Friday night may have been the first game of Izaiah Brockington's senior season, but the Archbishop Ryan guard played as if it was his last.
The defensive hunger he showed was exactly what his team's sluggish offense needed against visiting Constitution.
Despite shooting poorly from the field, the Raiders held off the Generals, 44-42, in a thrilling season-opener.
"This season is everything to me," said Brockington. "This is my last chance to bring a championship to this school. My last chance playing high school basketball with these guys. I have to savor and cherish every moment of it and have no regrets."
The 6-foot-4 New Jersey Institute of Technology recruit finished with team bests in points (16) and steals (6).
His penultimate pilfer came with just less than a minute remaining and led to an intentional-foul call that angered the Constitution sideline.
Trailing, 42-41, Brockington stole the ball near midcourt and was chased, nearly shoulder to shoulder, by a defender, who eventually grabbed him near the basket and prevented a shot attempt.
Brockington made both intentional-foul free throws with 49.2 seconds left.
On the Generals' next possession, Brockington slapped the ball away from Maurice Waters, then chased the loose ball with teammate Amin Bryant, who dived on the floor to secure the possession.
"The guys follow him," said Ryan coach Joe Zeglinski, who used Brockington to slow Constitution's top guard, Tamir Green, in the third quarter. "He set the tone for us, and I think everyone followed."
Senior Matiss Kulackovskis finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Bryant added 10 points for Ryan (1-0), which shot just 31 percent from the field and went 1 for 11 from the three-point line and 13 of 25 at the foul line (52 percent).
For the Generals (0-1), Green led the way with 16 points on 7-of-19 shooting. He also added five rebounds, five assists, and two steals.
Maurice Waters added 10 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Waters also finished with six rebounds and three blocked shots.
Constitution, which led, 21-12, at halftime, was outscored, 19-6, in the third quarter.
The Generals finished 18 of 46 overall, 1 of 10 from three-point range, and just 5 of 14 from the foul line (35 percent).
Archbishop Ryan 10 2 19 13 - 44
Constitution 10 11 6 15 - 42
R: Izaiah Brockington 16, Amin Bryant 10, Matiss Kulackovskis 10, Chris Palantino 2, Fred Taylor 2, Jaquill Stone 4.
C: Tamir Green 16, Hakim Hudson 2, Maurice Waters 10, Raquon West 3, Tyree Mitchell 1, Leeron Willis-Worthy 6, Youssef Diabate 4.