By: Jeremy Leveille
Bishop Brady boys basketball is a team on the rise. And even though they have the smallest school in Division II they defeated the defending champs Portsmouth 57-49 on Tuesday night.
Still, the Green Giants are not satisfied with their win this evening.
"Coach told us that we gave up 30 offensive rebounds" lamented Bishop Brady sophomore guard Jourdain Bell. "So it's disappointing because we should have won by more. We're supposed to be one of the top teams in the division, but we have to rebound better."
Meanwhile for Portsmouth, Patrick Glynn, Colin MacDonald and Ben Landry all had 10+ rebounds on the game.
"We out-rebounded them 50-something to 20" said Portsmouth head coach Jim Mulvey. "I've never coached in a game where we dominated the boards that much and didn't win."
So why didn't the Clippers win? Well Brady went from being down by 8 (19-11) in the 2nd quarter to being up by 7 (30-23) in the 3rd quarter. That 19-4 run by the Green Giants was the difference.
"It's just inexperience" said Coach Mulvey, whose Clippers graduated their entire starting lineup from last year's championship team. "They're working hard, but we lack experience and made too many mental errors tonight."
Oh yeah, and that Jourdain Bell kid may have also had something to do with it. The explosive 6-foot sophomore guard registered a game-high 25 points, 9 rebounds, 8 steals and 6 assists. 4 of those steals came during the first 2 minutes of the 3rd quarter, and Brady turned all 4 of those turnovers into points on the other end.
Bell also had a pair of strong drives and finishes during crunch time in the 4th quarter, plus some clutch free throws to ice the game. Bell's younger brother Joe Bell (a freshman guard) also went 3/4 from the charity stripe late in the game. Both Bell brothers played tenacious defense.
Down the stretch Portsmouth really picked up their defensive intensity to try and make a comeback. As a result of the pressure 'D' the Giants did turn the ball over a couple of times and rushed some of their possessions rather than running the clock.
Meanwhile on the other end it was Travis McDonald and Landry leading the way, as Portsmouth mounted a comeback. Colin MacDonald made a strong put-back, Travis McDonald hit a floater in the lane on the break and that cut the Brady lead to 48-43 with 3:04 left in regulation.
Jourdain Bell made some crucial buckets, but then Travis McDonald drained a 3-pointer (his second trey of the 4th quarter) and the Brady lead was now down to 50-46 with 2:12 left to play. Both teams were pressuring the other defensively and there was a lot of intensity out there.
The Clippers got a steal and junior guard Donovan Phanor made the layup on the other end. Phanor then made 1 of 2 free throws shortly after to cut the Giants lead to 51-49 with :41 left.
From that point on though it was all Brady. They didn't turn it over anymore, they made their foul shots, and Portsmouth went cold with their shooting.
"We just tried to stay calm out there and not force things" said Jourdain Bell.
Landry made a great move, knifing his way through the Brady defense to get to the rim. His shot inside barely rimmed out though, it would have made it a 2 point ballgame with :20 left. Portsmouth had a few shots down the stretch where they just weren't getting the bounces, especially on their put-back attempts. They were getting tons of offensive rebounds, but didn't turn enough of them into points.
Also playing key roles in the win for Bishop Brady were senior forward Stephen Desmarais (11 points) and sophomore guard Brendan Johnson (11 points). Desmarais got Brady rolling in the 2nd quarter with a great blocked shot on the break, followed by a smooth turnaround jumper on the baseline. He then hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key off a kick-out by Jourdain Bell to cap a 7-0 Giants run and cut the Clippers lead to 19-18 with 2:08 left in the 1st half. Portsmouth led 21-20 at halftime.
Then in the 3rd quarter Brady continued to build momentum. Bell was making steals left and right, while Desmarais made a great pass from up top to a cutting Johnson for a layup. Then after Glynn made a strong and-1 finish off an offensive rebound Desmarais answered right back with another 3-pointer to put Brady back on top 25-23.
Johnson would then add a solid finish in transition off a pass by Bell, and then Johnson also hit a big 3-pointer at the beginning of the 4th quarter to put Brady back up by 7, 41-34.
The 1st quarter was low scoring, with both teams playing tough defense and being tentative on offense. Travis McDonald (had a team-high 21 points on the night) and Joe Bell hit long jumpers, and then Portsmouth junior guard Nick Mackey hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to put the Clippers up 12-8 after 1 quarter.
This could end up being a crucial win for Brady, since these teams will likely be battling each other for playoff seeding as the season goes on. Pembroke is the clear cut favorite in D-II, but after that you have a handful of teams who all have a shot to make it to UNH. Brady and Portsmouth are in that discussion, and so is Souhegan, Lebanon, Hollis-Brookline and Goffstown.