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Oak Park, 01/25/13--Fenwick's Thomas Planek looks for an open teammate as Loyola's Griffin Boehm and Matthew Sullivan defend. Fenwick High School hosted Loyola Academy in boys basketball Friday evening. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Loyola found itself down 22 points less than two minutes into the second half Friday in Oak Park.
That's when Ramblers coach Tom Livatino relied on his seniors, namely Jack Byrne and Richie Wehman.
Despite the hole, both players stayed positive and sparked the team on a sensational comeback that resulted in a 52-50 overtime win over Fenwick.
"Our seniors' voices made the difference," Livatino said. "Any great team is led by the players, not the coach. Jack and Richie told everybody we are not losing this game."
Loyola junior guard Jack Morrissey hit three 3-pointers in the third quarter to get the Ramblers going, and senior forward Matt Sullivan took over in the fourth quarter.
Sullivan scored all eight of his points in the final 12 minutes. He also added four rebounds — three on the defensive end — in the extra period.
"That was definitely one of my best games," Sullivan said. "I have to keep it going and play like that every game."
In winning its eighth game in a row, Loyola (15-5 overall, 6-2 Catholic North) outscored 31-9 in the final 12 minutes of regulation. The Ramblers then held the Friars (10-7, 4-4) scoreless through overtime until senior guard Luke Lattner hit a 3-pointer at the final buzzer.
"That's when you show your true colors," said Sullivan of the uphill climb Loyola faced in the second half. "We kept making shots and kept getting stops."
Morrissey went 6-for-10 from long range and finished with a game-best 23 points. His two free throws at the 1:40 mark in the fourth sent the game into OT. Fenwick freshman Michael Smith scored 15 in the loss.
Loyola's victory sets up next week's home showdown against St. Ignatius, which came into Friday leading the league at 6-1.
"It's going to be a big game now," said Livatino, who's never beaten the Wolfpack in his tenure with the school. "Should be a great game, one you want to be a part of."