There is one certainty in this most uncertain of AIC basketball seasons – the First V competition is wide open after a thrilling series of matches in last weekend’s third round.
Villanova College maintained its unbeaten record with a 77-74 win over Iona College at Lindum.
St Edmund’s College needed overtime to defeat the dangerous St Patrick’s College 60-55 while Marist College Ashgrove pipped St Laurence’s College 57-55.
Padua College’s 47-35 win over St Peter’s Lutheran College was the only match that allowed its spectators to breathe during a fine weekend of basketball.
Villanova needed all of its talent to claw back Iona in an entertaining match at the Oblate Hall. Iona were on track for their third win from as many matches as they skipped to a nine-point lead.
But Villanova held the home team to only two points in the last five minutes despite the urgings of a supportive Iona crowd.
Villanova coach Jordan Mullen commended both teams for their play, noting the attacking skill of Iona.
“The Villanova boys hung tough throughout the contest, even when the Iona offense started to look not too dissimilar to that of the famous Golden State Warriors at different stages,” Mullen said.
The strong finish enabled Villanova to claim the outright premiership lead with their third win but the challengers are looming.
St Edmund’s were tipped as challengers for the title this season and they needed all of their skill to outlast the determined St Patrick’s team, which had delivered Marist Ashgrove’s first loss in several years in round two.
St Edmund’s Benicio Hortle had quietened the passionate Shorncliffe crowd when he landed five consecutive three-pointers to help build a 33-19 halftime lead.
But this St Patrick’s team is never out of the contest.
A huge 21-9 fourth quarter by the green and gold brought the teams level at the close of regular time. St Edmund’s needed some tense Logan Atkin free throws to remain alive in the contest.
The visitors had the best of overtime, logging their second win of the season.
They will welcome back Merrick Small for their fourth-round clash with Marist Ashgrove after he missed the third round because of Queensland Under 18 representative duty.
Marist Ashgrove joined Iona and St Edmund’s in equal second place with a 57-55 win over St Laurence’s.
The Champagnat Centre shook in the final moments as Marist Ashgrove held on in front of a big crowd.
Marist Basketball Coordinator (Grade 10-12) Michael Connolly said: “As with each game, the Ashgrove squad approached the contest with the desire to execute and do the little things well on every possession.”
In the final game of the round, Padua played well at Indooroopilly to defeat St Peter’s.
Padua had been brave in its opening losses to Iona and Villanova and made the most of the opportunities presented against St Peter’s.
The fourth round, to be played after this weekend’s bye, features more outstanding match-ups as this excellent AIC competition continues.