The Knox School took its place on the Long Island basketball map Wednesday night.
The tony private school with an enrollment of only 160 staked a claim by taking down Catholic school power Chaminade, 69-59, in overtime. The host Falcons trailed by eight in the fourth quarter before Markell Lake’s three-pointer from the right wing with 10 seconds left sent the game to OT. Knox outscored the Flyers 10-0 in the extra frame with Lake scoring five of his 18 points.
Josh Gray, a 6-10 junior who is beginning to get looks from high major programs, finished with 20 points and 21 rebounds and Jaden DeJesus had 16 points — 13 in the second half and overtime — and four assists for the Falcons (11-5).
“It’s a huge win,” said coach Majestic Mapp, the former McDonald’s All-American from St. Raymond’s High who went on to play at Virginia. “We just haven’t felt like we’re visible in basketball. This is a real step, but we have a long way to go before we’re up with the Chaminades, Long Island Lutherans and St. Anthony’s.”
Maybe so in terms of overall profile, but the Falcons reached the state private school Class C final last season.
“We had a good season, but I still think people hear our name and have sort of heard of us but throw it away,” DeJesus said. “At the end of the day we have talent and I hope people can see we’re ready to play.”
The teams met for the first time last season and Chaminade posted a 24-point win. That seemed to be in the Falcons’ minds as they took a 19-13 lead after one quarter. Chaminade, currently in first place in the CHSAA Diocese of Rockville Centre, reasserted control in the second quarter by outscoring Knox 21-4 with Michael O’Connell scoring eight of his 28 points.
The Falcons made a run to get within three in the third quarter but held Chaminade without a basket in the final two minutes of the fourth when it evened the score.
The Flyers (10-5) had possessions that ended with 6-10 junior Josh Gray blocking a shot and a five-second violation on an inbounds play before Lake’s three. “I was just ready for the shot and sort of felt like I was getting hot,” said Lake, who finished with 18 points. “I wanted it because I knew that if we won, we might be more known.”
“They made [five] three-pointers in the first half and we did better closing the shooters out in the second half.
Gray made one of two free throws to put the Falcons ahead in the first minute of the overtime. He later added a dunk off a DeJesus feed for a 67-59 lead with 1:31 left in the extra frame. Lake had four points in the OT and DeJesus had three.
“I know this wasn’t a big game for them, but it was for us,” Mapp said. “We want to show we can play with the better schools consistently. Maybe this is a start.”