Cowan, SJC Outlast Trimble, O'Connell

ARLINGTON, Va. -- After the Jan. 25 unbelievable triple-overtime game between Clinton Christian and Cape Henry Collegiate, I certainly didn't expect to see anything closely resembling that classic anytime soon. And then it happened... about 15 hours later. St. John's outlasted Bishop O'Connell in a double-overtime thriller at O'Connell, 82-80.

ARLINGTON, Va. -- After the Jan. 25 unbelievable triple-overtime game between Clinton Christian (Washington, D.C.) and Cape Henry Collegiate (Virginia Beach, Va.), I certainly didn't expect to see anything closely resembling that classic anytime soon. And then it happened... about 15 hours later. St. John's (Washington, D.C.) outlasted Bishop O'Connell (Arlington, Va.) in a double-overtime thriller at O'Connell, 82-80. This one had it all, and featured some big-time performances.

This was a nip and tuck affair for the first three quarters until SJC broke it open to go up by eight points, at 58-50 early in the fourth quarter. Making matters worse for the Knights was their star guard Romelo Trimble being saddled with four fouls. Somehow O'Connell hung around, and down six with 1:20 to go, Trimble, as he often does, hit a bomb to draw within three. Then, with only 30 seconds remaining, the 6-foot-2 gunslinger nailed another long trey, to tie the score at 62.

After a SJC turnover with five seconds left, Trimble then exploded downcourt, and pulled up for a potential game winner from 30 feet... which went in and out.

Trimble eventually fouled out in the second overtime, after playing with four fouls most of the second half. The Cadets then rode a tremendous performance from 6-5 two-guard James Palmer, a Miami recruit, who is developing into an outstanding ball player (one the Terps may regret not recruiting harder). He's long, lean, quick, can penetrate, and not a bad shooter, as his three treys Jan. 26 would indicate. And he gave Trimble fits defensively as well.

For O'Connell, an encouraging sign is the emergence of 6-9 junior big man Oumar Berry, who has gone from playing very little earlier in the year to being a force in the paint, garnering 18 points and probably 10 or more boards. Berry's improved play should keep O'Connell in contention in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference for the remainder of the year. He's come a long way, and looks like a solid mid-major recruit at the moment if he keeps developing and gets stronger.

Sophomore Anthony Cowan struggled early for SJC, as the physical nature of the game was a real challenge, but acquitted himself nicely down the stretch, finishing with seven points and making 5-of-6 free throws. He has a lot of physical maturation still to come, but he's going to be a very good player in time. This will be his team next year.

Trimble's performance was a mixed bag. His numbers were solid: 26 points, 7-of-16 field goals, 10-of-13 free throws, six rebounds, eight assists (including some exceptional dimes), but eight turnovers. SJC threw four and five different defenders on him, and double teamed him on every inbounds play. The Cadets basically just wore him down as the game went along.

At times, Trimble tried to do too much off the bounce, and got into trouble with several charging fouls and sloppy possessions. As we said when Maryland signed him, Trimble is still learning the position, and though his handle has improved a lot, he still is susceptible to ball pressure, and the Cadets are a team with the athletes and depth to provide it.

That said, the guy picks his spots offensively, and when the game is on the line, you won't find a better open shooter -- or someone more anxious to take the shot. In the last minute-and-a-half, with SJC having the game in hand, Trimble dropped two bombs from the parking lot -- and we've seen this many times before. He does have physical limitations, but there's a lot of heart in his game.

SJC, Paul VI and O'Connell all have one loss in the WCAC, and the rest of the season should be an absolute treat for hoop fans in the DMV.

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