(Pictured above: Junior Shane O'Donoghue '16 sinks a foul shot late in the game to help secure the Regis varsity basketball team's victory over the Xavier Knights.)
Friday night’s Regis-Xavier triple header, held at Xavier High School, was the latest in the long-standing sports rivalry between the two Jesuit schools. The match-ups began in front of a packed Xavier gymnasium with the Regis Freshmen dropping a close Game 1 by a final score of 53-50. Following the Freshmen, the Regis Junior Varsity squad found themselves on the winning end of another tight game, with a 50-47 Game 2 victory.
Following the Freshmen and JV games, the Varsity teams took to the court for the Game 3 rubber match of the night.
"The atmosphere in the gym as the game was about to start was electric," said Kevin Cullen, now in his 14th year as head coach of the Regis varsity team. "It's an awesome feeling for us to have that support every year at this game. It really helps us in the way we play."
The game opened with an emphatic dunk by senior forward Declan Cronin '15. But early on Xavier took the lead, and the Knights clung to a tight 16-15 lead at the end of the first quarter.
"I told them after the first quarter to settle down," added Cullen. "I told them to play together both offensively and defensively and we'll win the game."
The Regis defensive strategy switched to a box-and-one on Xavier's Ryan Kennedy who had 10 of the Knights' 16 first quarter points. Junior Shane O'Donoghue '16 and senior Liam Hogan '15 were tasked with defending the Xavier guard who, after the defensive switch, was held to just 7 points for the rest of the game.
In addition to the adjusted defense, a fast-paced second quarter offense led the Raiders to a 35-26 halftime lead.
Regis would never lose that lead, increasing it to 16 points by the end of the third quarter, a margin they would maintain until the final buzzer, securing a 65-49 victory.
(Pictured: Senior Charles Gavigan '15 puts up a shot during the Regis-Xavier Varsity basketball game.)
The out-of-conference win improves Regis's overall record to 8-7. Xavier, who plays in the CHSAA A-Division, saw their overall record drop to 8-7. The win is the first for Regis over Xavier since 2012 (Read the archived 2012 news story: Regis raids Xavier, leaves with signature win in front of packed house | The New York Post | January 28, 2012).
Prior to the leaving for the games, a student rally took place in the Regis Auditorium to showcase the student and faculty support for the teams.
"The pep rally was great, there was a ton of hype leading up to the game," said senior Declan Cronin '15.
"The students and faculty took that energy to the gym and it was electric, unlike any other game I've ever played in. I have to thank every single person for coming out and getting loud. They were a definite difference maker."
For Cronin, nothing compares to the Regis-Xavier match-up.
"The rivalry is so special. The minute you don the Regis uniform for the first time, you know that one of the main goals of the season is going to be bringing home a win against Xavier. It's a lot of fun for both teams, I think."
"For the seniors on the team, this was our last game against Xavier and it will be unforgettable," added Cronin.
"It's a really great feeling knowing that we grabbed that win tonight in our last chance."