Jon Harewood pointed at the scoreboard and shrugged. “You can see that at times this year, we haven’t been the best offensive team,” the St. Anthony’s guard said. “But night in and night out, we guard.”
Once again, it was the Friars’ defense that delivered, holding visiting Ward Melville to 10 points in the fourth quarter and erasing a five-point deficit to notch a 52-48 non-league victory Thursday night.
Harewood had 15 points, eight assists and six rebounds and provided a defensive spark. Tyrone Lyons contributed 19 points and 12 rebounds as St. Anthony’s improved to 3-2 despite scoring more than 54 points only once this season.
Center Alex Sobel scored 11 points, all in the second half, and forward Chris Buehler added 10 for the Patriots (2-2).
“We had to pressure their guards and make them uncomfortable,” St. Anthony’s coach Sal Lagano said.
“It was all about our defense and our intensity,” Lyons said. “Without intensity, we’d be dead on defense and dead on offense.”
Harewood, Jevon Burke and Mike Pavinelli were very much alive in doing the defensive dirty work on the perimeter. They helped hold high-scoring Matt Hudzik to nine points, including a buzzer-beating three-pointer from about 40 feet that gave Ward Melville a 38-35 lead after three quarters.
“The best thing we did was guard number 3,” Lagano said of Hudzik. “He’ll probably get 20 points in his next game.”
Ward Melville held a 42-37 lead with four minutes left when Harewood went to work. He forced a turnover and set up Lyons for a crowd-pleasing dunk. Corey Bernard came off the bench to sink a big three, Lyons hit two foul shots, Burke added one more from the line and Harewood made a steal and layup for a 47-46 lead with 2:15 left. It was the Friars’ first lead since midway through the third quarter.
Harewood and Lyons added a free throw each for a 49-46 lead but Sobel answered with two foul shots to cut the deficit to one with 16.6 seconds left.
Harewood was quickly fouled in the backcourt. “I had missed one free throw early, but that was no time to get down on myself,” he said. “I wanted the ball. I got it back and just forgot everything that happened before. Two new shots.”
He made both, and when Ward Melville missed a hurried three under duress and Pavinelli added a free throw, the Friars had another 50-something victory.