The CACC semifinals were under the Friday Night lights, and the two teams with the best records on the season prevailed:
HOLY FAMILY 70 SCIENCES 62
For the third time in as many tries this season, Holy Family edged University of the Sciences, using a late 16-4 surge to turn a tight contest into a 70-57 advantage with 44 seconds to play, punching its ticket to the CACC Tournament championship game at the Hennessy Center. Reggie Charles thrived off the dribble, collecting 16 points and four assists, while Marvin Crawford matched that point total (6-9 FG) with five helpers for the Tigers, who closely tangoed with their crosstown rivals the majority of the game, with neither club able to open up more than a six-point separation until 2:42 was left in the contest. Turhan Griffin made an impact off the bench with 12 points (4-5 FG, 3-4 from deep), highlighted by a lay-up and 3-pointer in successive possessions to help Holy Family build its second-half lead. Derrick Stewart – who compiled 11 points and 12 rebounds – capped the game-clinching run with a monster dunk at the 44-second mark as the Tigers dominated in the paint (38-18) and off turnovers (21-8), helping offset disparities on the glass (35-42) and at the foul line (9-18 to 18-20 for US). Wes Kerr and Sho Da-Silva (seven rebounds) each produced 20 points in their final games for the Devils, who also received 10 points and as many rebounds from Will Gregorits.
PHILADELPHIA 77 BLOOMFIELD 77
It will be an inner-city tourney final on Saturday night after Philadelphia held off a late Bloomfield rally to reach the championship game for a third straight season. CACC Player of the Year Peter Alexis amassed 18 points and 17 rebounds for the Rams, and was matched in the score column by T.J. Huggins (six rebounds, six assists) and Brendan Kilpatrick (4-7 from downtown Orangeburg). Philly U. used a 13-4 spurt in expanding an 18-14 lead to 30-18, then stretched it to 42-29 by halftime. The advantage was 61-50 with six-and-a-half minutes remaining when the Bears made a late push, rattling off eight straight and drawing within a single possession (61-58) after a triple by Safee Abdus-Sabur with 5:31 to go. Bloomfield was still within striking distance at 69-65 when Mike Louden (all seven points in the second half) converted a huge 3-point play with 2:38 on the clock, setting in motion an 8-2, game-closing flourish. Nick Davidson had the hot hand for the Bears with 20 points (8-11 FG, 3-4 from 3), while Claude Blue (17 points, eight boards, four blocks in his collegiate finale), Abdus-Sabur (13 points, nine rebounds) and Rakwan Kelly (11, 10) provided solid support in a losing effort. The Rams – who are looking to become only the second CACC team to three-peat as tourney champions (Bloomfield has done it twice) – were the more accurate shooters (50%-42%), although not from beyond the arc (BC 9-16, PU 9-19). Both sides mirrored each other with 16 assists and just seven turnovers.
CUT DOWN THE NETS
Championship games in the CACC and Northeast-10 are on tap for Saturday, and the ECC semifinals get underway in Washington, with the title game on Sunday afternoon. The NCAA pairings will be announced later that night.