Cardinals plow through Lancers, 66-49

The Bishop Diego boys basketball team kept its playoff hopes alive on Friday night with a 66-49 Frontier League victory over visiting Grace Brethren on Senior Night.

The Cardinals were appropriately led by seniors Connor MacGillivray and AJ Fling, who both recorded double-doubles to help Bishop (8-17, 3-7) close out its regular season with two consecutive wins and a share of fourth place in league.

“It’s been our hope this entire week that if we play well throughout the rest of the season that we’ll go to playoffs,” explained MacGillivray, who has really turned it on late by posting three consecutive double-doubles.

Cardinals coach Ray Vazquez hopes his team’s strength of schedule and strong play at the end of the regular season meets the criteria for an at-large bid.

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“We’ve been preaching all year that we played a really difficult schedule,” said Vazquez. “We didn’t get a couple of breaks to go our where or we could definitely be 12-and-13 or 14 – it just didn’t happen.

“I mean, I wouldn’t want to play us in the first round.”

Along with two double-digit victories to close out the season, the Cardinals impressed at the highly competitive Holiday Classic in the preseason and can make the claim as the only team able to defeat the No. 1 team in Div. VI-A, Besant Hill (18-1).

Playoffs aside, the Cardinal faithful gathered at the Brickhouse to send off seven seniors.

“It sums up my career here at Bishop in a great way, just to have this support,” Fling said of the crowd and made sure to return the favor with 11 points, 16 rebounds and five assists.

Unlucky for some, Bishop Diego’s MacGillivray recorded 13 points and 13 rebounds on Friday the 13th.

It was Lancers coach Dale Ackerman who must have felt like he was trapped inside a horror movie, being able to do nothing as his team, which had problems keeping players on the court, unraveled starting in the second quarter.

Freshman Jordan Slider was ejected just before the half after he pushed Sam Kwock in the back on a breakaway, and Kevin Ramay (3rd quarter) and Brandon Pullen (early 4th) both fouled out  with plenty of time remaining.

Bishop took advantage, really opening things up in a 24-9 third quarter. After Zech Hogan – who led the Lancers with 25 points – knocked down a 3-pointer to make it 34-28 Cardinals, Bishop closed the quarter on a 17-3 run to gain the dominant hand.

In the fourth, with the outcome a forgone conclusion, the Cardinals focused on getting the seniors that don’t normally play big minutes into the game. Michael Schlesselman knocked down a jumper and Caesar Del Campo and Thomas Salgado were active under the basket much to the delight of teammates and fans.

“They’ve been practicing with us the entire season and have been a big help in practice,” Fling said. “It was good to see them get in and get some good looks at the basket.”

Scott Kohler and Art Gonzalez fill out Bishop’s seven seniors on the roster this season.

“We’re excited about these kids and their futures but we hope that they get to play one more game,” Vazquez said.

The Cardinals learn of their playoff fate on Sunday.

BISHOP DIEGO 66, GRACE BRETHREN 49

GRACE BRETHREN – Hogan 25, Curnel 2, Pallin 3, Riley 8, Slider 9, Kupfer 2. Totals – 7, 14-16, 49.

BISHOP DIEGO – Slaught 8, Fling 11, Kwock 9, MacGillivray 13, Shlesselman 2, BGonzalez 5, Munoz 10, Shull 4, Kohler 3, Del Campo 1. Totals – 16, 16-42, 66.

Grace Brethren 14  8  9  18 – 49

Bishop Diego   14 13 24 15 – 66

3-Pointers – GB 7 (Slider 3, Hogan 2, Riley 2), BD 6 (Munoz 2, Slaught 2, Kwock, BGonzalez). Total Fouls – GB 27, BD 17.

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