Vienna Playing in its ninth road game in 26 days and fresh off an excursion to St. Mary’s Ryken the night before, the Bishop Ireton boys’ basketball team headed to overtime against the Flint Hill Huskies on Jan. 5.
The Cardinals had squandered a 13-point halftime lead against their 3-7 opponent from the Mid-Atlantic Conference and faced the possibility of dropping a winnable game amidst a cloud of fatigue. Instead, Ireton buckled down and dominated the final four minutes.
Bishop Ireton outscored Flint Hill 16-2 in overtime and pulled out a 70-56 victory on Saturday afternoon, improving its non-conference record to 9-1.
The Cardinals allowed just two free throws in the extra period. Meanwhile, Davon Wiley made a pair of field goals for Ireton and Wynn Miller knocked down a 3-pointer from the left corner.
“We just dug deep,” junior point guard Taylor McHugh said. “We’ve been in a lot of close games before, so we knew it was going to be tough, especially because we were a little tired.”
Ireton built a 30-17 halftime lead, but Flint Hill erased most of its deficit during a strong third quarter. The Cardinals led 52-45 midway through the fourth quarter, but Flint Hill closed regulation on a 9-2 run to force overtime.
“Our guys have proven to be resilient. We still have to develop a killer mentality when teams are down. This is the third game that we were up 13 at halftime — we lost the first two, one at PVI, one at St. John’s [and] we almost lost this one.”
— Bishop Ireton boys’ basketball coach Neil Berkman
“Our guys have proven to be resilient,” Ireton head coach Neil Berkman said. “We still have to develop a killer mentality when teams are down. This is the third game that we were up 13 at halftime — we lost the first two, one at PVI, one at St. John’s [and] we almost lost this one.”
McHugh led Ireton with 14 points. Patrick Moseh finished with 13 points, Dan Noe had 11, and Khyree Robinson and Miller each finished with 10.
Berkman said the Cardinals have several players who are capable of scoring in double figures each night, but the team needs to improve at the defensive end of the court, especially with communication.
“The greatest paradox that I’ve found since I’ve been a full-time math teacher is we can’t get the kids to shut up in the classroom, [but] on the floor we’re begging them to talk and they’re mute,” Berkman said. “It’s an incredible paradox. I haven’t been able to figure that out in 20 years.”
On Tuesday, Ireton lost at DeMatha, 73-56, according to the Washington Post. The loss dropped the Cardinals’ record to 12-4 overall and 3-3 in the tough Washington Catholic Athletic Conference. Last year, Ireton finished 6-12 in the conference, which was an improvement over previous seasons.
“We want to build on that and really make moves in the WCAC,” Berkman said after the Flint Hill game. “… We have to get over the hump and figure out how to beat a top-half conference team.”
Ireton will host Bishop McNamara at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 11.