Bridgton Academy forward Donnie Hale (New Albany, IN) swished a sixty-five foot shot as time expired Friday night to force overtime and ultimately spur the Wolverines to a thrilling 87-80 victory over Phelps Academy PA in the first round of the Prides Corner Tournament at the St. Thomas More School CT.
Hale’s heroics came after Phelps missed a free throw with a chance to ice the game with only seconds remaining. The late game excitement was not the only desperate comeback made by Bridgton Academy in the game. Seemingly showing some effects of a more than six hour bus ride begun in the snow of Central Maine, Phelps Academy raced to a 30-11 lead midway through the first half. Remarkably, the Wolverines were able to reduce the deficit to four by half at 40-36, and took their first lead in the game with eleven minutes to play in the second half. Bridgton Academy had several chances of their own to put the game away in the final minutes but ultimately a total of 12 missed free throws in the second half alone set up the game’s biggest drama. Five Wolverines scored in double figures, led by Hale’s 18, to reflect a balanced offensive output.
BA Coach Lesure credited his team’s determination in the uplifting win. “The shot was incredible, but you could see Donnie line it up and shoot it like he was going to make it. My hat’s off to him for the mental toughness to play to the final second. I think our team showed great poise in the first half getting to halftime with a life…We talk about 40 minutes and how long a game is all the time and tonight it really showed," said Lesure.
St. Thomas More beat MCI in the early game of the tournament setting up the championship contest for Saturday afternoon.