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Bears Win Overtime Thriller over Rancho Solano

January 17, 2017


On a frigid Saturday night the boys’ basketball team heated up Swanson by winning an overtime thriller over Rancho Solano Prep, 68-65.

The Mustangs, out of Scottsdale, Arizona, made the trip east to play their sister school, Leman Manhattan Prep, and scheduled the Bears to add a second game to their east coast swing. Despite their unfamiliarity with their new opponent, the Bears came out firing, turning in one of their best individual quarters of the season. Seamus Scanlon opened up the scoring with a 3-pointer on the first possession, then followed two possessions later with an acrobatic layup while drawing a foul to give the Bears an early 6-4 edge and ignite an 8-0 run. Jyles Etienne followed with a hook in the lane and Mac Bohuny capped the spurt with a 3-pointer to give the Bears a 12-4 advantage. A Bohuny 3-point play pushed the lead to 15-5 before back-to-back drives by Harry Zhu and Etienne extended the lead to 19-7. Rancho responded with a quick 5-2 run, but the Bears closed the quarter with five straight points thanks to a Zhu 3-pointer and a layup from John Eshirow to take a 26-13 lead after the first.

The Blue and White lead swelled to as much as 16 points early in the second quarter after an Etienne putback, but the Mustangs began to find their offensive rhythm and ratcheted up their defense behind the impassioned pleas of head coach Aaron Trigg. Rancho closed the half on a 9-4 run, thanks in part to five free throws, to trail 35-24 at the break.

Rancho continued to turn the tide as the second half began, quickly cutting their deficit to just six points after a 7-2 spurt. Scanlon responded with a key 3-pointer that pushed the lead back to 40-31. After a Mustang basket, a Zhu 3-pointer and an Etienne layup extended the lead to 45-33. Rancho clipped their deficit back to eight, but an Eshirow bucket and a pretty floater from Brandon Providence gave the Bears a comfortable 51-39 edge heading into the fourth.

The Mustangs showed their mettle over the final eight minutes by scoring clutch baskets and forcing the Bears into numerous turnovers. Rancho carved the Bear lead back to eight in the early moments, but a Bohuny 3-pointer left the Brook ahead 56-45. Rancho then reeled off their largest run of the game, a 9-0 stretch that left them down just 56-54 once the dust settled. Despite the unlikely turn, the Bears’ confidence never wavered. Etienne followed with a free throw and Bohuny notched a 3-point play on the next possession to give the Blue and White a 60-54 cushion. But on the ensuing possession Rancho turned in their own 3-point play and then followed with a 3-pointer to knot the game at 60-60. The Mustangs capped the 8-0 run by taking a brief lead, 62-60, off of a great cut and layup. On the Bears’ next possession Zhu’s layup attempt rolled tantalizingly off the rim but Eshirow, in his first of several heroic moments down the stretch, gathered the rebound and laid it in to tie the game at 62-62. Both teams had chances to win the game in regulation, but could not convert, ushering in an overtime period. The Bears misfired on their possession with 40 seconds left, then Rancho missed the front end of the 1-and-1 with 23.1 seconds remaining, and the Bears missed a shot at the buzzer to send the game to a four-minute extra period.

The Brook never trailed in overtime. Etienne continued his best performance of the season, finishing through a foul to give the Bears a 64-62 edge. 3-pointers on two consecutive possession rimmed out for Rancho, but they halved their deficit on a free throw midway through the frame. On the ensuing possession the Bears broke the Mustangs’ full court press when Providence found Scanlon who converted an acrobatic up-and-under layup to give the Bears a 66-63 edge. Despite the raucous environment, Rancho refused to be rattled, scoring on a putback with 20.3 seconds left. Clinging to a one-point lead the Bears took the ball out of bounds under their own basket. After several attempts to get the ball in bounds, the Bears turned it over, eliciting a collective gasp from the Swanson crowd. A Mustang corralled the loose ball and elevated to shoot from just outside the paint when Eshirow wrested the ball away to preserve the lead with 6.6 seconds remaining. After drawing a foul, Eshirow furthered his heroic effort by draining both free throw attempts to give the Brook a 68-65 lead. The Mustangs’ attempt to extend the game found only iron and the Bears escaped with a thrilling victory.

Etienne turned in one of his finest performances of his three-year career, leading the Bears with 19 points and 16 rebounds. Bohuny (13 points), Eshirow (12), Scanlon (11), Zhu (10), Providence (2), and Emil Vaughn (1) rounded out a very balanced scoring attack.

The Bears return to action on Wednesday night at Shelter Island.


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