Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Harris Sparks Wolverines to Upset Over Brewster

A season long journey of putting a complete game together carried the Wolverines to an exciting upset of NEPSAC #1 ranked Brewster Academy, 70-67 Wednesday night at the Wolverdome.

After a sluggish start which saw the visitors bolt to a 13-4 lead within the first five minutes, the home squad played some inspired basketball to get even at the half on a 3 pt bucket by Ruben Kanya (Hamilton, Ontario). The teams went into the locker rooms deadlocked at 28. Kanya scored the last 5 points of the half to bring BA even after trailing throughout the half.

Bridgton started fast in the second half to take their first lead at 33-28 but the two teams traded leads throughout much of the first ten minutes of the second half. The last ten minutes saw more back and forth play with the Wolverines responding to each Brewster run. During one stretch the two teams traded several long range bombs that had the overflowing ancient hoop hall rocking.

BA secured the lead for the last time in the final two minutes and withstood the full court pressure of the Bobcats with Alex Harris (Richmond, CA) hitting four clutch free throws to seal the upset victory. Harris was outstanding all night leading all scorers with 29 points but also handling the ball and setting up his teammates for big shots of their own. One of those shots was an athletic put-back by Jeff Smeltz (Pascoag, RI) off a Harris miss with 23 seconds to go that gave the Wolverines a 4 point cushion. Kevin Anthony (Columbus, OH) chipped in with 9 points of his own in his first start late in the regular season and added 6 rebounds to the hustling Bridgton defense.

The Bridgton effort was markedly improved over many performances to date and Coach Lesure had a hard time pin-pointing any specific area of play in his comments afterward. "We played very well, as consistently as we have against any team this year, for us the turnovers are huge (11 for the game)." Lesure went on to say, "We have to be able to run our offense and get good looks at the basket and I thought our guys made a lot of smart decisions tonight. What can I say about (Alex) Harris? He was special out there. But he had a team behind him, and perhaps the biggest contribution was (Athletic Trainer Joe) Sawicki, working some magic late in the game to get him back on the floor after suffering some leg problems."

With the win the Wolverines enter their final regular season contest, against Winchendon on Friday, with a bit of momentum and perhaps better feel for themselves. Lesure said afterward that "you always want to earn your way into the playoffs and prove you belong at the dance. That Brewster team is number two in the country for a reason and will have the opportunity to rebound," Lesure remarked. The question now is how the Wolverines handle their new found success.

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