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Resilient Saints edge Whalers before full house

Jan. 5—NEW LONDON — A forever fact about sports: Championship pedigrees are earned. And their foundations are established on nights like this, when you are coughing and wheezing on your enemy's court, have the lead for all of 10 seconds in regulation and still figure out victory.

This was sixth-ranked St. Bernard on Friday night. The Saints endured a night of frustration management, crawled over broken glass to force overtime and then emerged with a 67-61 win over No. 8 New London before a full house of 1,223 at Conway Gym.

"We knew as soon as we forced overtime we'd have more energy," junior guard Amyre Gray said. "The first four quarters weren't the best. But they gave us a shot and we blew it open."

Naz Rembert's 3 to begin overtime gave the Saints (6-2, 2-0 in Division I of the Eastern Connecticut Conference) their first lead since it was 3-2 early in the game. Gray, who led the Saints with 19 points, also led them with six in overtime.

"Big shout out to Naz," St. Bernard coach Mark Jones said. "He came in and sparked us."

They needed sparking. Troy McKelvin hit a 3 to begin the game for the Saints, whose next three came from Gray at the end of the third period. St. Bernard missed 11 of its first 12 3s and trailed by as many as 10 in the first half.

Rembert hit a 3 with the Saints down 57-52 in the final minute to set up Curtis Marshall's game-tying putback with 20 seconds left in regulation. New London (6-2, 2-1) had a chance to win in regulation, but the Saints used a foul to give with 1.8 seconds left, leaving SaVahn Warren with an errant desperation heave at the buzzer.

"They're resilient," Jones said of his team. We're figuring it out. It's a long season. There's a shot clock now and that means more possessions."

St. Bernard went from man-to-man to a 3-2 zone defense in the first half that disrupted New London's offense.

"That's Marcus's zone," Jones said, referring to assistant coach Marcus Outlow. "He wants me to play it all the time."

Curtis Marshall and Amare Marshall had 11 points apiece for the Saints and McKelvin had 10. At one point, McKelvin and Curtis Marshall, both freshmen, scored all but 10 of St. Bernard's points.

Devan Williams led the Whalers (6-2, 2-1) with 20 points. Julius Washington had 11 and Da'Shaun Phillips had 10.

New London is back on GameDay next Friday vs. Fitch.

m.dimauro@theday.com