It was a special night for St. Joseph, as it continues its drive for a first FCIAC championship in eight years. Read the game story here: Langston leads St. Joseph past Harding
Bolstered by the packed, sold out gymnasium, highlighted by the an overflowing student crowd directing their chants at the arch-rival sitting on the other side of the floor made for an electric atmosphere
There were plenty of heroes, like little-used reserve Matt Marconi, who came in for injured sub— Matt Delmonte —and made two big shots as St. Joseph made its comeback from a 14-point deficit.
But nobody was a bigger hero than sophomore Greg Langston , who’s been great since coming back from the football knee injury that kept him from playing his freshman year.
While Langston has averaged over 15 points per game, this was his breakout. He scored 23 of 26 points in the second half (13 in the fourth quarter) as St. Joseph came back from a 14-point third quarter deficit to win 76-74.
He took two charges down the stretch, the second against Harding’s Johnny Stovall with the game tied at 74 with 34 seconds left. That set up his game-winner, a beautiful reverse, baseline layup past two Harding defenders with 10 seconds left.
“It’ll be the first of many,” senior captain Nick Gerrity said of Langston’s performance.
And so St. Joseph kept pace with Trinity Catholic in what is shaping up to be a tremendous race for first place in the FCIAC. They play the second to last week of the regular season.
Of course, when asked about whether this game would be a springboard, St. Joseph coach Vito Montelli said maybe, “But they’d better not sleep on Stamford, or they’ll in for a surprise.”
It just didn’t feel like a true Harding-St. Joseph game without Harding coach Charlie Bentley in the house. On Tuesday, Bridgeport Superintendent’s Chief of Staff Bob Henry said, “Nothing’s changed,” in regard to Bentley’s suspension for allegedly slapping a Harding freshman two weeks ago.
While no official news has been forthcoming since, there appears to be signs that Bentley has been absolved of any wrongdoing.
Lesha Powell , the mother of the Harding freshman, Troy Williamson , said on Monday via email that she was disappointed by the outcome of the police investigation into her charges of assault, but didn’t provide any information.
“Mr. Bentley has won again,” she said in a statement. “Where there were no witnesses in the beginning, now there are two. I am very upset at the outcome, but not surprised. Mr. Bentley has a strong support system.”
Powell did not return a phone call seeking further comment. Neither did Bentley. Asked about Bentley’s status after the loss to St. Joseph, interim coach Marvin Gray had no comment. We were left with very little to go on for an official story.
When Bentley was first suspended, there were rumors that he would be out at least two weeks. One estimate placed his suspension until the end of January. As of Wednesday, however, he remains suspended indefinitely.
Now, I can barely chart the game scoring by myself. So I leave keeping track of timeouts to the professionals. St. Joseph’s book afterward said that Harding played the final 10 seconds and took its final shot with a full timeout in its pocket.
“What were they holding onto it for?” a fan asked. “The next game.”
Yet, Harding coach Marvin Gray said he had none left — and was told he didn’t have one by scorekeepers.
Not that it really mattered. Loquan Mendenhall’s final shot, thought a high-percentage 3-pointer, was as close as it gets to going in.
A scary moment
It was pretty hot and stuffy in St. Joseph’s gym Tuesday night and it almost became dangerously so for at least one woman. Just as St. Joseph took a time out at the height of Harding’s 16-2 run that put them ahead by 14 points, there came frantic calls of “911!” from the stands.
An elderly woman, apparently overcome by the heat of St. Joseph’s sold out gym, had fainted. Everything appeared to be OK. She was smiling while being escorted down from the stands to applause.
St. Joseph’s administrators quickly had students and fans open the windows in the upper reaches of the stands, which helped considerably.