Corey Grant was nearly added to list of Spellman players succumb to the flu. Instead the senior guard sucked it up, played 32 minutes and nearly led an undermanned Pilots boys’ basketball squad to victory.
Grant scored 12 of his game-high 22 points, including three 3-pointers, in the fourth quarter. His final trey in the closing secons, which was highly-contested, hit off the side of rim and Spellman fell 49-45 to Tappen Zee in the Slam Dunk Challenge at the Westchester County Center last Sunday. Spellman was without 6-foot-3 forward George Stevens and William Lopez because of the flu.
“I was close to saying no, but he ended up playing 32 minutes,” Spellman coach Fred Opper said of Grant. “I was a afraid to take him out. He felt better when he played.”
Even under the weather Grant shot Spellman (4-6) back into the game in the fourth quarter after trailing 35-26 after three. His NBA range 3-pointer from the top key to tied the score at 39-39 with 3:42 remaining in the game. A 3-point play and another long three helped got Spellman get as close as 47-45 with 19 ticks left. Tappan Zee’s Dylan Kane was all over Grant on Spellman’s final possession and kept him from getting a good look on a potential tying three.
“I knew I was going to let my team down if I didn’t play,” Grant said. “I just said I just got to suck it up and do whatever I can.”
Spellman’s lack of size showed in the second and third quarters. The Pilots were outscored 28-13 during that span. They watched Tappen Zee beat them on the glass and extend its zone to make driving and getting open looks tougher on their guards. Jason Grant added nine points and Paget Bramble and Adam Bilosi had nine apiece for Spellman. Luke McLaughlin, a Division-I prospect led Tappen Zee with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
“It was tough getting rebounds because guy were uncomfortable,” Corey Grant said. “It was little guards trying to get rebounds.”
The loss is the Pilots third straight, but all of those have come in non-league contest. Spellman is off to a strong start in the CHSAA Class A division at 3-1 with road wins over league stalwarts Nazareth and Monsignor Scanlan.