The game began to turn early in the second quarter with the Bishop McGuinness Fighting Irish leading 18-9. Ryan Radcliff scored 10 during a 12-5 run that cut the lead to two at the half. But even though Ryan Radcliff (24 points) was doing the majority of the scoring, it was the Bulldogs move to share the basketball that opened up the offense.
“I thought early they were a little impatient on offense,” Forgan coach Todd Kerr said. “We were going a little too quick, and I didn’t think we were moving the ball and playing together as well as we needed to. About midway through the first half I thought we started sharing the ball better, and then we started to get the looks we needed to get — things started to go our way.”
Forgan scored the first four points of the second half to grab their first lead of the game at 25-23 with 6:43 left in the third quarter. The two teams traded baskets through the rest of the quarter that included eight lead changes and three ties, and ended in a 35 all tie with only one period left.
“I told the kids at halftime we’re in a good position right here, and we haven’t shot well, and eventually those shots are going to go, and they did,” Kerr said. “We did an outstanding job of moving the ball with patience and getting the looks we needed to in a game that turned into a possession-by-possession game.”
Bishop McGuinness regained the lead, 37-36 30 seconds into the fourth quarter, and continued to hold it until Jake Regier (11 points) hit his second three of the half to tie it with 4:05 left. McGuinness appeared to lose their composure late in the game. It may have been some panic that they were unable to put the game away against the smaller Forgan.
Regier hit his third three with 1:35 left to give the Bulldogs a lead they would not relinquish. Forgan hit seven of nine free throws down the stretch, and pulled off a win few outside Forgan thought was possible.
“It’s been an unbelievable experience for us,” Kerr said of playing in the Tournament of Champions. “When we came here last year we didn’t know if we could top the way that experience was, but the kids did. They absolutely topped it. I’m so proud to be a part of it, because these kids will have this memory for the rest of their lives.”