Timothy Christian still felt the pain from nearly a year ago.
"We definitely remember it," said senior guard Ty Merrick. "It was kind of a personal thing."
It was the memory of IC Catholic Prep's 2017 Class 2A regional final victory over the Trojans on a basket in the last 10 seconds. On Friday revenge-minded Timothy started fast on its home court then held off the surging Knights to win the Metro Suburban Conference crossover and battle of Elmhurst parochial schools, 50-42.
Timothy Christian (12-4) led 20-6 after one quarter, going 8 for 11 from the floor -- then made 8 baskets over the next three quarters as IC Catholic (13-6) pulled within 5 points in the last minute.
"They came out motivated," said ICCP coach T.J. Tyrrell. "Obviously we knocked them out in a very competitive regional championship last year. They probably had this game marked. I've been in that position before. Great atmosphere for them, it was a playoff environment tonight."
Timothy guard Mike Thomas scored 10 of his team-high 17 points in the first quarter, Matt Owens hit a pair of 3s and 6-foot-7 Brandon Orange established offensively and defensively, holding down the paint. On the perimeter Justin Baez contained ICCP scorer Alex Meurer.
Out of the gate everything clicked for the Trojans.
"It's been a little bit of our tradition when we play here. For whatever reason we get out on a really hot start," said Timothy coach Scott Plaisier. "Our energy is great, our ball movement is really good, we shoot the ball with confidence. And then for whatever reason after that first quarter we have a tendency to stop moving the basketball like we normally do."
And ICCP "kind of got focused," Tyrrell said.
The Knights played even with their foe over the next two quarters, then turned it up. His team down 35-20 after three quarters, Meurer scored 14 of his game-high 21 points in the fourth.
He and guard 13-point scorer Kevin Cheng led a 17-4 run to draw ICCP within 46-41 with 28 seconds left. Merrick dove on the court to corral a long, loose rebound, and Baez, Merrick and Thomas hit just enough late free throws to thwart the Knights.
Timothy 6-7 senior Nick Huisman returned to action for the first time since a Dec. 9 foot injury. He sparked the Trojans with 7 rebounds and a basket.
"Just never let up and keep our foot on the gas pedal," was his take. "You can't have too comfortable of a lead."