NEW HAVEN, Conn – Tuesday evening the Great Northeast Athletic Conference basketball playoffs began. The #8 seed AMCATS travelled to Connecticut to take on the #1 seed Albertus Magnus College Falcons. Albertus came in to the game 15-1 in conference and went wire-to-wire as the number one team in the league. The AMCATS clinched their playoff spot last Tuesday and were riding high on a six-game winning streak coming in to the game. Though their spirits were high, the Falcons dashed any hope of a Cinderella run by the 'Cats knocking them out of the playoffs with an 87-66 victory.
For the AMCATS, in his final game as an Anna Maria player, senior guard Liam Pickett (Oxford, Mass) led all scorers with a career-high 30 points in the game. Pickett shot 12-of-15 from the field and made four-of-seven shots from beyond the arch. Senior forward Kenneth Graham (West Haven, Conn) scored eight points for AMC. After his record breaking performance in the last few games, sophomore forward Mike Rapoza (Charlton, Mass) scored just seven points in the game while pulling down eight boards. Rapoza had connected on 26 consecutive shots coming in to the game, a streak that ended on his first shot of the night. His eight rebounds led the AMCATS.
Albertus was led by senior forward Jaqhawn Walters (Hartford, Conn) with a team-high 21 points. Walters grabbed 19 rebounds as well in the game for a double-double. Junior guard Ryan Pittman (Stratford, Conn) added 17 points to the Falcons tally on seven-of-eight shooting from the field.
Albertus Magnus and Anna Maria battled over the first nine minutes of play as the Falcons held a seven-point advantage, 18-11, on a jumper from Pittman at the 11:11 mark. Soon after, Albertus Magnus saw its lead double, 30-15, before closing out the half with a 46-17 lead, following a 16-2 run sparked by a layup from Walters.
Despite Anna Maria outshooting the hosts, 49-41, in the second half, the AMCATS were unable to stop the Falcons offensively. Albertus Magnus took its largest lead of the game at 35, 56-21, with 16:13 remaining in regulation and never looked back to secure the home win.
With the loss the AMCATS season comes to an end. They finish the season with a 10-16 record, 7-10 in conference.