PREP BASKETBALL: Bear River falls to Center at buzzer
Special to The Union
Cougars 48, BRUINS 47
BR: David O’Brien- 14 pts, 3 stls
BR: Dave Mastrella- 8 pts, 9 reb
BR: Jason Voter: 12 pts, 4 asst
C: T.J. Caldwell: 16 pts
For the second straight game the Pioneer Valley League gave the Bear River boys basketball team all it can handle.
This time around wasn’t as sweet for the Bruins, who let a 33-17 third quarter lead slip away as Center stormed back and won 48-47 with a clutch jump shot as time expired Wednesday.
“You got to give it to Center,” said Bruins head coach Duwaine Ganskie, who’s squad took a late 47-46 advantage after a Jason Voter free throw with 20 seconds to play.
“They played well, they hung around. I thought we gave them some chances. We should of had a little wider gap, but that’s what happens. Got a close game, came down to the last shot and that kid hit it.”
Trailing 47-46, Center went for the win and held for the last shot. Cougars junior forward Nathan Pattison ended up with the ball after the Bruins denied top-scorer, sophomore T.J. Caldwell any good looks. Pattison, remained poised under pressure, turned and popped in the game-winner.
Caldwell finished with 16 points for the Cougars, followed by senior big man Kevin Acuffa, who dominated the paint in the second half to finish with nine points.
In the second quarter, the Bruins opened up the floor on the offensive end with great passing and took advantage of some open looks during a 15-6 run to grab a 27-15 lead. Senior David O’Brien hit a runner in the lane and added a free throw after drawing contact. O’Brien led the team with 14 points to go with three steals.
The Bruins led 28-19 at the break and held a 16-point advantage early in the third quarter before the Cougars flipped a switch to begin a 21-5 run, picking up the tempo, attacking the basket and getting to the foul line to tie the game 38-38 heading to the fourth quarter.
Voter tossed in 12 points and added four assists for Bear River as he proved clutch from the foul stripe, shooting 9-for-13. Dave Mastrella rounded out the offense contributing eight points and nine boards.
Bear River (11-5, 1-1 PVL) looks to recover quickly as the intensity keeps rolling with another PVL bout Friday at Lincoln.
Brian Shepard is a freelance sports writer who contributes to The Union regularly.
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The Little League District 11 postseason is off to a hot start.