Burke Catholic bounces Albertus in states
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NEWBURGH, N.Y. — The dream of a state championship for Albertus Magnus ended on Wednesday night in the same spot as last season and against the same opponent.
The Falcons were a far better team than the one that lost to eventual state champion Burke Catholic in last year’s Class B state regional semifinals. But like last season, they couldn’t get the fourth-quarter stops against a team that was just a little bit bigger and a possession or two better.
Burke Catholic survived a second-half surge by Albertus Magnus and grinded out a 43-38 victory at Mount St. Mary College. Zach Rufer, a senior guard headed to Lafayette, had 12 points and 12 rebounds, and knocked down a pair of clinching free throws with 7.2 seconds left.
It was a game with a sluggish start early and missed opportunities late for the Falcons, who close the season 20-3. They managed just 12 points in the first quarter, hitting just 4 of 18 shots but trailed by only nine.
Albertus soared out of the break, opening up the third with a 15-0 run to go ahead 27-21. Jack Sullivan had the first five points during the stretch and standout senior Tyler Sayre had six of the next nine before picking up his third foul of the game, sending him to the bench.
The momentum immediately swung.
Burke scored eight straight points to go ahead 29-27 before a Pat McGuinness tied it with a jumper heading into the fourth.
The teams traded baskets to start the fourth with Sayre making it 36-36 on a leaning jumper in the lane with 3:40 to play. Sayre had 15 points and 11 rebounds.
With Burke ahead by two, Rufer delivered a crushing blow, knocking down a deep 3-pointer to make it 41-36 with just over two minutes left..
After three straight empty possessions, Sullivan’s jumper got the deficit back to three for the Falcons with 1:19 left.
An offensive rebound for Burke on the ensuing possession allowed the Eagles to run the clock down to 30 seconds. But Sayre’s driving layup attempt on the other end missed, leaving the game in the hands of Rufer, who knocked down the winning free throws.
Burke moves on to the state regional finals on Saturday at SUNY New Paltz. They’ll play the Long Island champion at 1 p.m.
Email Kevin Devaney Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org