Long Island Lutheran ousted in quarterfinals of GEICO Nationals
Long Island Lutheran stormed back from a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter but couldn’t get the stop or score it needed to advance.
No. 7 AZ Compass (Arizona) defeated No. 2 Long Island Lutheran, 73-71, in the quarterfinals of the GEICO High School Basketball Nationals in Fort Myers, Florida, on Thursday evening.
Jayden Ross scored 25 points for the Crusaders (23-3). Jayden Reid had 17 points and nine assists.
“Ross had an amazing performance. That’s a senior trying to go out by leaving everything on the court,” Crusaders coach John Buck said. “I’m proud of him, He played like a true UConn commit.”
Reid converted a tough finish and drew a foul at the rim, making the free throw to tie the score at 71. He was instrumental in the Crusaders’ comeback as he scored 11 points in the fourth quarter and got his teammates open looks.
Rayvon Griffith hit a putback with 10 seconds remaining to give AZ Compass a 73-71 lead. Lutheran opted against taking a timeout and was forced into a tough three-point attempt at the buzzer that was off target.
“I think we got the shot I feared we would if we called timeout,” Buck said. “I didn’t want the defense to be set.”
The Crusaders’ only lead came within the first minute when VJ Edgecombe connected on a three-pointer. They got back into the game in the fourth with a 10-0 run punctuated by back-to-back three-pointers from Reid and Ross.
“It was no surprise to see Reid make the plays and shots he did in that fourth quarter. He’s had an incredible career for us,” Buck said. “We made a run and cut the lead to two within three minutes. Credit to our guys for an incredible season.”
Lutheran had won 22 straight games, beating Stepinac to capture the state Federation championship.