By Rob Abruzzese
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Bishop Loughlin’s strong defensive pressure was the difference in Sunday night’s home game against Fordham Prep. It allowed them to open the second half on a 13-3 run that put them well on their way to an easy 76-51 victory.
Early on, Loughlin was having trouble with with Fordham Prep’s shooters, helping the road team build a 26-19 lead midway through the first quarter. Head coach Ed Gonzalez had seen enough from his defense and called timeout.
"We knew that they had some kids that can really shoot the ball so one of the things that we talked about before the game was defending their shooters," Gonzalez said. "Early on, though, we were playing very poorly on the defensive end and we were missing our assignments so I thought we needed to talk it over."
Immediately after the timeout, Loughlin went on a 14-0 run to give them a 36-30 lead going into halftime. Gonzalez still wasn't satisfied though and told his players at halftime that they needed to keep up that defensive intensity.
"We were playing crappy defense, we had to pick it up on the defensive end," Loughlin star Khadeen Carrington said. "We were getting our points, especially in transition, but once we started locking it down defensively we started to pick it up."
With the win, Loughlin improved to 8-2 on the season and they currently sit atop the Catholic High School Athletic Association's Brooklyn/Queens AA Division's standings with an eye firmly on the city championship.
"We have a great chance," Loughlin’s Michael Williams said of a potential city championship. "I feel like we can beat anybody in the city. If we can keep playing like this week should have a run at the championship."
To win a city title, Loughlin is going to have to overcome a big obstacle in Christ the King, a team that has given them fits for years. The Lions think that they can finally get over that hump this year though thanks to the dangerous combo of Carrington, a Seton Hall commit, and Williams, a Rutgers University commit.
"I'm not saying this just because I have them, but I think that they are one of the best 1-2 punches that I've seen in a long time," Gonzalez boasted.
Of course, there are a couple of Carrington's future teammates at Lincoln High School, Isaiah Whitehead and Desi Rodriguez, that would disagree about who the best duo is. Loughlin's pair has more than talent, they have displayed a great chemistry together.
"I think we complement each other well," Carrington explained. "(Mike) is more of a shooter and I'm more of a slasher so if I'm going to the basket I can kick it out to him. If he's hot, they'll cover him and he can find me open in the lane. I think it's a good complement."
"So I think Mike and I are the best duo," Carrington added with a laugh.
While Carrington and Williams get most of the attention, the Lions have plenty of other talent as well. Anthony Vernon has shown the ability to be one of the best big-men in Brooklyn, Javian Delacruz has an excellent shot and Issak Bodon runs the whole unit as the point guard.
"Everybody has their role and they play them very well," Williams said. "(Vernon) is there to get rebounds, our big man. Javian is a great shooter and he slashes too. Issak, our point guard, does a great job running the offense. Everybody contributes."
Loughlin knows that it still has a long way to go. The Lions have made it through their first 10 games, but still have 14 more. However, Gonzalez refers to the games as "scrimmages" leading up to the playoffs and the team talks about getting revenge on Christ the King every day. They're sights are set.