McDevitt cliches Catholic League playoff berth

Posted: February 12, 2014

IN THE BASEMENT of the Long family residence in Olney, you will most likely find the television stuck on cartoons or sports.

And at the clicker controls, you will find Tyrell Long, a 6-5, do-it-all forward for Bishop McDevitt. Apropos of his on-court versatility for the Royal Lancers is the love Long has for his favorite animated character, Bugs Bunny. You should have seen the senior's face after he was asked about the baseball episode in which Bugs plays every position against the Gas-House Gorillas.

"Yep!" Long said, wide-eyed and smiling. "That's one of my [favorites]. That's Top 10! Top 10!"

Yesterday, visiting Bonner-Prendergast fought hard until the end, but didn't have enough for Long and Co., who triumphed, 85-76. The win clinched a preliminary playoff berth today for the Lancers (10-11, 5-7 Catholic League) against Father Judge, to be played at La Salle High at 5:30 p.m.

Long clinched the Catholic League scoring title with 33 points, along with 10 rebounds, and his versatility was illustrated during a key sequence just before halftime. With the Friars (2-19, 0-12) on an 11-3 run and down only eight points, McDevitt head coach Jack Rutter went to Plan A.

"Tyrell," he screamed with the clock showing about 40 ticks, "come get the ball."

The long-armed forward sprung from the low post and grabbed the ball at the Lancers' emblem near midcourt. After about a 30-second filibuster, Long parried past a defender with the dribble and delivered the ball to James Bogans, who played hot potato to Amin Taylor in the left corner for a three.

The result: a hockey assist for Long and a momentum-stealing triple for McDevitt, which led, 41-30, at the break.

"He can do anything on the court," Rutter said. "He has to rebound. He goes from the center to being the point guard, to the shooting guard. He kind of covers everything for us."

In Rutter's 19 years as head Lancer, this is the team's fourth trip to the Catholic League playoffs.

"He's one of the best players I've had," Rutter continued, citing Wayne Bishop and Ryan Presson. "I had some great players. [Tyrell] has a lot of game ahead of him.

"He's a good kid and a basketball junkie, and we'll go as long as he'll take us."

The pressure doesn't bother Long, who recently surpassed 1,000 points. Freshman year, he recalls telling teammates on the bus after an Archbishop Ryan loss that someday he would be the go-to guy.

"They all thought I was joking and goofing off," he said. "I was dead serious."

Later, he added, "It's good to have a coach that believes in me to lead the team."

Rutter and Long both acknowledged contributions from senior guard Amin Taylor, who scored 23 points on 9-for-18, two threes and 3-for-5. Taylor has recovered well after missing five games with a broken hand.

For the Friars, junior guard Danny Ings shot well from the perimeter and navigated the paint all day en route to 29 points (12-for-19, two threes, 3-for-4) and five assists. Senior forward Jack Carden added 13, while fellow senior Joey Quinn and junior Tyler Higgins (nine boards) both added 11 points.

As for Long, who reports low Division I interest, as well as Division II looks, summer work with his shooting coach Curt Hall has yielded dividends. He also credited his dad, Terrance, and mom, Carolyn, for constant encouragement.

Long grew up playing in the post, but expanded his game this season. . His 23 points per game bested runner-up Chris Clover's 22 for St. Joseph's Prep. Against B-P, he shot 12-for-18 from the field and 3-for-4 from three.

Perhaps college coaches should take heed of his hobbies and ensure that dorm-room cable packages are properly equipped.

"I only have two channels on in my house," Long said. "It's either ESPN, cartoons, or I'm on the computer watching Kevin Durant, LeBron [James] or Kobe [Bryant]. I'm a basketball junkie."

On Twitter: @AceCarterDN

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