If coffee was truly only for closers, Malachi Flynn would be the sole proprietor of an entire chain of Starbucks.
The kid can finish on the court.
Flynn once again showcased his ability to close out quarters with a scoring frenzy, going off for a game-high 34 points, with many baskets coming in the waning moments of the second and third quarters to lead visiting Bellarmine Prep to a 68-54 victory against Timberline in a Class 4A Narrows League game Wednesday.
“This is a great win for us,” said Flynn, who hit five 3-pointers. “The Narrows is most likely going to come down to us and Timberline. So, this is a big road win.”
The Lions improved to 3-2 overall and a perfect 3-0 in league with the victory. Timberline, which captured its first Narrows League title last season, dropped to 3-2 and 2-1.
“This was a good game, hard fought,” Bellarmine coach Bernie Salazar said. “(Timberline coach) Allen (Thomas) does a great job here. We knew it would be a battle. I was proud of our team’s toughness. I thought we rebounded well and kept our composure. It’s tough to come down here and get a win.”
Jarryn Bush paced the Blazers offense with 15 points, while sophomore guard Eli Morton came off the bench and added 12 for Timberline.
Bellarmine, which never trailed in the contest, got eight quick points from Flynn to establish an early advantage that it never yielded.
Flynn scored 17 points in the first half to help the Lions enjoy a 39-28 lead at the break.
Trailing 24-14 midway through the second quarter, Timberline got a boost off the bench from sophomore guard Casson Rouse, who opened an 11-3 Blazers run by sinking a pair of free throws and hitting a 3.
A Bush free throw capped the offensive burst, pulling Timberline within a bucket at 27-25 with just under 2 minutes remaining in the half.
That proved to be far too much time for Flynn.
The 6-foot-2 senior closed out the half with eight quick points and assisted on Isaac Wojtanowicz’s buzzer-beating 3 to push the Lions’ lead to 11 points.
“When they started coming back, I just tried to take matters into my own hands,” Flynn said. “I just wanted to lead my team. Not just play selfish and look for my shot, but trying to get everyone involved. If I have a good shot, though, I am going to take it.”
Flynn’s second scoring barrage came in the final 2 minutes of the third quarter.
After Bush scored six consecutive points for the Blazers to bring the deficit under double digits, Flynn heated up from long range, burying back-to-back 3s to put the game out of reach for good.
A third consecutive triple looked destined to find the mark, but it rimmed out late in the third quarter. It was one of a handful of quality shots that failed to fall for Flynn, preventing him from posting his second 40-point game of the young season.
“I should have had 40,” said Flynn, who scored 43 in a season-opening loss to Lincoln. “Some of the shots just didn’t fall for me.”
But plenty did, and now Bellarmine has early control of the league.
Joey Bodoia added 14 points for the Lions, who also got 11 points each from Wojtanowicz and Christian Moore.