With school out for Martin Luther King Day and snow falling outside, Bishop Ford boys’ basketball coach John Infortunio was concerned about his team’s level of enthusiasm heading into a CHSAA Class A league game against Xavier.
Xavier coach Joe McGrane also wasn’t sure the response he’d get from his young squad after two days off. They’d both soon find out.
The varsity game might have started about a half hour late because of the freshman and junior varsity games played beforehand, but it ended quickly. The Falcons raced out to a 20-2 lead after one quarter and cruised to a 61-42 victory Monday afternoon.
“That’s one of the things we stressed in the locker room coming in,” Infortunio said. “On a day like this, the weather the way it is, the whole feel to it, they could have come out and been flat in the first quarter.”
Chaz Williams showed no ill effects from a sprained ankle suffered last week as the Hofstra-bound point guard had a game-high 19 points and five assists. Thanks to an increased emphasis on defense, Bishop Ford (14-1, 11-0 A-South) was able to do what it does best – get out and run in transition.
And nobody in the city is better on the break than Williams, a lightning quick senior, whose layup midway through the third quarter put the Falcons in front, 45-19.
“That’s our game and that’s what we want to do,” Williams said of getting out in transition. “I can’t be any happier of my guys because we’re playing real good, playing hard defensively and scoring a lot of points.”
Kamari Murphy added 11 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks and Matt Hall also had 11 points and grabbed four boards for Bishop Ford, which has strung together three consecutive solid performances.
“You want to avoid lulls in your season of continuously bad play and you also want to avoid inconsistency,” Infortunio said. “I think we’re at a point now where our level of play is the highest it’s been. Now the true test comes with sustaining that for the rest of the season.”
True to its season-long tendency, Xavier (3-10, 1-8 A-Central) played better in the fourth quarter, even cutting its deficit to 50-35 on a 3-pointer by Chris Coyne, who, along with Bobby Gallagher, scored a team-high 10 points. But the 18-point hole the Knights dug themselves eight minutes into the game proved to be too large.
“It’s almost like it’s a bipolar team,” McGrane said. “In certain games, in certain quarters, we’ve played very well and other times we play very flat as if we don’t know what we’re doing.”