Yesterday evening, the boys’ basketball team built on their momentum from Wednesday’s thrilling 71-68 victory over Knox, by topping Christian Heritage (CT), 60-49. Though the Brook led nearly wire-to-wire, it was far from an easy win as the Kingsmen pushed the Bears the entire way. A year ago, the boys traveled to Trumbull, CT in the first ever match-up between the two schools. In a high-octane affair, they emerged 81-72 victors. This year’s edition featured less scoring, but was just as hotly contested.
The Bears jumped out to an early 8-4 lead behind 4 points from T.J. Wachter. A 3-pointer and jumper from Heritage gave them their only lead of the game at 9-8, but it was short-lived as the Blue & White closed the quarter on a 16-5 run to carry a 24-14 lead into the second quarter. The Bears drained three 3-pointers during the run, including a four-point play from Colin Scanlon, to take control of the contest with an offensive explosion nearly nine points above their first quarter average.
They continued their surge in the opening moments of the second frame. CJ Edwards began a quick 7-2 spurt with a 3-pointer. After a Heritage layup, Wachter followed with a putback before Malik Ulysse capped a steal with a euro step and layup that brought Swanson to its feet and gave the Brook their biggest lead to that point at 31-16. After both sides notched a free throw, Matt Fajfer canned his second 3-pointer to give the Bears their biggest margin of the game. Heritage sank a pair of free throws to close the first half scoring and head into the break down 19-35. The Bears ratcheted up their defensive intensity in the period, holding Heritage to a single field goal and three free throws.
The Kingsmen came out of the break with renewed energy, trapping on the wings, collapsing down on the interior, and scraping for every rebound despite being significantly undersized. Their fresh intensity carved into the Bear lead with an 11-4 run to open the second half. Only a 3-point play and a free throw from Wachter interrupted the Kingsmen’s scoring surge. Scanlon responded by slicing through the heart of Heritage’s defense and scoring a tough layup and Sobel added a putback as the Bears propped the lead back to 13. Heritage closed the frame with two free throws as the Bears took a 43-32 advantage into the final quarter.
The Kingsmen began the quarter with a layup and a 3-pointer to pull within six, the closest they’d been since mid-way through the first quarter. With plenty of time on the clock and belief brimming from the visitors, Wachter stepped up with eight points and several huge plays down the stretch. He began by jumping a cross-court pass off of the Blue & White press before feeding Edwards for a fastbreak layup. In hindsight it was a huge play, stemming the tide as Heritage would get no closer the rest of the way; but even in the moment it felt like the Bears had wrested away a key chunk of the remaining momentum. Wachter followed with a layup as the Bear lead swelled back to 48-37. After Edwards swatted a Heritage layup attempt off the backboard, Wachter notched a pair of layups inside, overpowering his smaller defenders as the lead grew to 52-39. Heritage refused to melt away, answering with four straight points, but Wachter’s transition layup with 2:09 left snuffed out any hopes of a late rally. The Bears closed the game on a highlight when Sobel fed Edwards on an alley-oop layup out of full court pressure, capping the 60-49 win.
Wachter led all scorers with 20 points. Scanlon (13), Fajfer (9), Edwards (8), Sobel (7), and Ulysse (2) rounded out the Blue & White attack.
The Bears are back in action this evening in a non-league match-up at Port Jeff.