Monday, February 2, 2009

Bridgton Falls To Notre Dame Prep, Wins Consolation Game

The Wolverines headed up to Maine Central Institute for a two day tournament starting on Saturday and came away with one win and one loss.

Things got started Saturday night when the Wolverines locked up with Notre Dame Prep for the second time in less then two weeks. With the Wolverines having knocked of Notre Dame 72-68 in their last meeting it was clear ND Prep was going to do everything they could to even the season series. Bridgton fell behind early as it seemed everything Notre Dame was putting up from behind the arc was falling, and in a matter of minutes the Wolverines were down by double figures. Notre Dame continued to stay hot as they were looking to take a 12 point lead into the break before Bryant Avent (Phoenix, AZ) knocked down a "3" as the horn sounded to bring the Wolverines to within 9 to start the second half.

Bridgton was able to play even with Notre Dame over the opening minutes of the second half cutting the lead down to as few as 6 before Notre Dame caught fire from behind the arc again pushing their lead back to double digits and coasting to an impressive 86-72 lead. Notre Dame Prep finished the game with a very impressive 15 made 3 pointers.

Jamal Crook (Louisville, KY) led Bridgton with 13 points, Carl Blair (Katy, TX) and Jack Houpt (Chesterton, IN) each scored 10.

When asked for his thoughts after the game Head Coach Whit Lesure said, "Our guys hung in there pretty good, knowing Notre Dame Prep was trying very hard to even the series this year. We needed to finish a few more plays when we had the chances in the second half."

Having lost in the first day of the tournament the Wolverines found themselves playing the early game Sunday afternoon, this time against NEPSAC foe St. Thomas More. Both teams struggled to get any consistent offense going throughout the game, however Malik Stith (Long Island, NY) was able to score 10 first half points that helped give Bridgton a 30-20 lead entering halftime.

In the second half Bridgton's offense continued to struggle, while St. Thomas More slowly began to close the gap one basket at a time. The Wolverines again looked to Stith who scored 13 of the team's second half points (Dwayne Smith scored the other 7) when they needed a score. Thanks to some timely defensive stops and some big free throws from Stith in the final seconds the Wolverines were able to hang on and earn an important conference win 50-46.

Stith led all scorers with 23 points, while Dwayne Smith added 10.

The close game throughout wasn't a big surprise to Lesure as he said, "We expected a difficult game with St. Thomas More. I conveyed that message as soon as Saturday's game was over, and again this morning. Everyone knows they are a dangerous and well coached team."

When asked for some comments about the weekend as a whole Lesure replied, "There were some positives to gain in getting home with a win the way we did. Guys may begin to see this is not a short, typical high school season. It's a grind. And you have to be mentally and physically tough. If you told me in September that we'd be 17-5 and leading our conference I'd be alright with that. We just have to keep our focus on getting better."

The Wolverines will return to action when they travel down to Rhode Island this weekend for the National Prep Invitational where they will square off against St. Marks on Friday afternoon and will then meet #1 ranked Patterson School (NC) on Saturday.

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