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Westchester, 2/15/13--Loyola Academy's bench erupted onto the floor at St Jospeh, after they held on for a thrilling victory. | Vincent D. Johnson~for Sun-Times Media

It took until the final second to determine the outcome of Friday night’s Catholic League North clash between Loyola and St. Joseph, but it turned out to be worth the wait for the Ramblers.

St. Joseph senior Loren Horton missed a potential game-winning jumper in the final seconds that was rebounded by Loyola’s James Clarke (10 points) as the buzzer sounded, preserving a 43-42 victory for the Ramblers in Westchester.

With the win, the Ramblers (20-6, 9-2) earned their 13th straight victory and claimed the Catholic North title.

The Chargers (15-11, 7-4) were given one last chance when Loyola turned the ball over on an inbound play under St. Joseph’s basket with 19 seconds left.

Despite building a 10-point lead in the final minute of the first half, Loyola trailed by the end of the third quarter after A.J. Patty converted a dunk to give the Chargers their first lead at 36-35.

Panic did not set in for the Ramblers, as they regained the momentum when Chris Sullivan’s three-pointer gave them a 41-40 lead in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter.

Loyola never trailed again, holding St. Joseph scoreless for more than five minutes in the final period.

“I had no doubt in my mind that we were going to win,” Sullivan said. “We have such chemistry and such confidence after what we have been doing recently.”

Loyola opened the game on a 10-0 run behind back-to-back three-pointers by Jack Morrissey, as St. Joseph missed six straight shots.

Morrissey (five three-pointers) led all scorers with 24 points, including 22 in the first half.

Patty paced the Chargers with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Horton added 12 points, while Paul Turner finished with 11 for the Chargers, who could have forced a tie atop the conference standings with a victory.

“I wanted to win,” Patty said. “I mean, it is my senior year and it was real important to try to win the conference championship.”

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