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Miracle shot lifts Marauders

March 9, 2008
The Altoona Mirror
Note: This article originally appeared in the Mirror on Monday, March 19, 1984.

By Frank Polito

Mirror Sports Staff

Bishop Guilfoyle’s Mike Iuzzolino is an outstanding playmaker with a deadly perimeter shot. He makes things look easy and exciting at the same time.

Guilfoyle coach Tom Lane points out, however, there is another facet of Iuzzolino’s game — one he exhibited Saturday afternoon in the Marauders’ astonishing, last-second 66-64 win over Bishop Boyle in the first round of the state playoffs at the AAHS fieldhouse.

“He’s a hustler,’’ said Lane of the 5-foot-9 sophomore, who streaked from one end of the floor to the other, grabbed the basketball coming off the glass inside the paint and promptly banked it home underhanded — just prior to the final buzzer.

“He was hustling down there,’’ said Lane. “He was obviously thinking the ball might hit off the board and he might be able to get it. He was coming after it.’’

Iuzzolino, coming off a foot injury, said he was looking to pick the ball up and then shoot it.

“But I wasn’t sure how much time there was,’’ he explained. “The only time I saw the clock was when Luce (Mike Luciano) shot it. I saw three seconds and there was no one down there.’’

Describing the game-winning hoop, Iuzzolino said, “It was sort of a throw. It was the last thing I could do.’’

Iuzzolino’s unbelievable bucket climaxed a series of three solid efforts that left Guilfoyle followers ecstatic.

BG’s Tony Koehle was responsible for the start of the incredible finish. With the game knotted at 64 and Boyle looking for a go-ahead bucket with 10 seconds left, Koehle blocked Shawn McCallister’s shot.

Luciano, the Marauders’ small (5-4) but determined backcourt performer, scooped up the ball and headed toward the other end of the floor. Just prior to reaching mid-court, Luciano released a desperation shot.

Luciano had enough on the toss to bounce it off the glass — from where the ever-alert Iuzzolino took over.

Once he had the ball, Luciano was concerned about getting a shot off.

“I saw there were four seconds left and I just threw it up,’’ said Luciano. “When I missed it I didn’t see Izzy put it in. When I missed, I walked over and put my head down because I didn’t think there would be any time left.’’

Luciano was unaware Iuzzolino was following him.

“No one was in front of me,’’ said Luciano. “He was trailing me. He must have followed me the whole way.’’

Seeing the ball reach glass shocked Lane.

“I’m amazed Luciano hit the board with that long one,’’ said Lane.

Koehle, assisting Luciano on McCallister, said he didn’t get that much of the ball.

“I didn’t get a good piece of it at all,’’ said Koehle. “I just tipped it a little bit. It was with my finger tips.’’

When McCallister went up for the shot, Koehle said his immediate concern was playing good defense.

“If you don’t get a hand in his face,’’ said Koehle, “he’s going to make it. He’s tough.’’

Lane called McCallister, a great shooter who finished with 26 points, “one of the best players I’ve seen.’’

Lane pointed out, however, McCallister may have helped the Marauders down the stretch by getting too close to the basket.

“I think he penetrated too far,’’ said Lane. “He probably would have been better off pulling up and shooting it.’’

Lane called Saturday’s outing a great game, a great win for his team, which was behind by 11 late in the third quarter.

“Let’s face it,’’ said Lane. “It could have gone either way. We only had the lead once in the second half. Of course you only need to have it once in the second half. We had it at the right time.’’

GAME NOTES: Guilfoyle’s second-round opponent, Wednesday at 8:30 at St. Francis College, is Washington, District 7 champion ... BG girls will play earlier at 7 ... Bus reservations can be made by calling BG at 944-4014 ... Guilfoyle picked up its 20th win against 10 setbacks ... Boyle closed with a 17-10 log ... Iuzzolino, who hit nine of 12 shots from the field, paced BG with 20 points ... Koehle, (seven of 13) added 18 points, and Bill McManus (six of 13) chipped in with 14 ... Guilfoyle shot well, hitting 28 of 52 shots ... Boyle also did a good job shooting, clicking on 27 of 56 ... Koehle, McManus and sophomore Chip Conrad, playing in place of the injured Jamie Corle, each grabbed seven rebounds ... Lane on Conrad, “He was getting his hands on the ball. He did a good job.’’

Bishop Guilfoyle (66): McManus 6 2-3 14, Koehle 7 4-6 18, Conrad 2 0-2 4, Iuzzolino 9 2-3 20, Luciano 3 0-1 6, Preininger 1 0-0 2, DiSabato 0 0-0 0, Tomassetti 0 0-0 0, Emery 0 2-2 2. Totals — 28 10-17 66.

Bishop Boyle (64): McCallister 11 4-4 26, Tirpak 6 4-5 16, Sullivan 4 0-1 8, Smith 5 1-2 11, Rafferty 1 1-2 3. Totals — 27 10-14 64.

Score by quarters

Bishop Guilfoyle 18 14 14 20 — 66

Bishop Boyle 18 22 13 11 — 64

Officials: Dwight Brocious, Mike Gaydosh

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