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Without Pinkston, Bishop Loughlin rallies past Cross

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With Jayvaughn Pinkston on the Bishop Loughlin bench, ruled academically ineligible, Trevon Hamlet knew he and his teammates on the boys’ basketball team had a chance to prove they could win without one of the most dominating players in the CHSAA.

The Lions did just that and did it in dramatic fashion, rallying from a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit to defeat Holy Cross, 58-55, on Tuesday at William O’Meara Gymnasium in a Class AA league game in Queens.

“It shows that when everyone is stepping up we still can do good even without him,” said Hamlet, a 6-foot-6 senior forward who scored 16 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and had four blocks. “With him its just even better.”

Pinkston, a 6-foot-6 junior forward being recruited by a bevy of Division I schools, missed his first league game Tuesday after being ruled ineligible.

“We made a decision he has to improve academically in order for him to benefit himself, not today, not tomorrow, but as an adult he has to have responsibi­lity,” Bishop Loughlin coach Rudy King said. “He understands that and he’s not far off. It’s temporary. Once he shows the improvement that we need to feel comfortable with, he’ll be back on the floor.”

Without Pinkston’s immense presence on the court, King saw the chance for another player to step up and make a name for himself with added minutes.

That player was Rasi Jenkins. The 6-foot-8 junior forward scored 12 points, including 10 in the second half to help key the Lions’ stirring comeback. He also had 15 rebounds and seven blocks in a dominant performance.

“Tonight was very important for him from a mental perspective, from a maturity perspective to say, ‘I’ve arrived. Coach you can depend on me,’” King said. “You just saw the beginning of what he can do. He’s as athletic as anybody in our league, he has a nice touch, he can play basketball. … He’s going to big for us in the playoffs.”

Jenkins also had a clutch steal, taking the ball away from Sharif Mair with Loughlin clinging to a 57-55 lead in the closing seconds. Mair was forced to foul Antoine Brown, and the senior guard, who scored 20 points, went 1-of-2 from the line with 5.5 seconds remaining in regulation.

Needing a 3-pointer to force overtime, Joe Monahan’s deep attempt from straightaway fell well short of the target.

“This was probably our toughest loss of the season because of the fact we were playing so well and we had the lead,” Holy Cross coach Paul Gilvary said. “Really we just needed to keep doing what we were doing. We didn’t have to change anything. We made a few mistakes, missed a few shots and the thing kind of gets away from you fast.”

Eric Klingsberg led Holy Cross (10-11, 4-6) with 20 points, but missed the critical front end of a one-and-one bonus with the score tied at 53 with 2:30 left. Brown followed with a 16-foot jumper to give Bishop Loughlin (13-8, 7-4) its first lead of the game with 1:03 left in the fourth quarter.

Monahan tried to feed Mair inside, but the Knghts’ turned the ball over again.

“I really feel like we kicked this one away,” Gilvary said. “And that hasn’t happened too much this year.”

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