Monday, February 17, 2014

Pembroke Makes 4th Quarter Comeback, Beats Rival Brady in OT Thriller

It was originally scheduled for Friday night, then rescheduled for Saturday, then rescheduled for Sunday - but it was worth the wait. It was one of the best games of the year, as Pembroke came back from a 14 point 2nd half deficit to beat rival school Bishop Brady in overtime.

Brady shot 65% from the floor and hit 6 three-pointers in the 1st half - they couldn't seem to miss! Finally in the 4th quarter those shots started to rim out, and that's when Pembroke made a furious 4th quarter comeback led by senior guard Patrick Welch (game-high 31 points) and junior forward Dominic Timbas (21 points and 11 rebounds). Pembroke went on a 16-0 run to start the 4th quarter to take a 59-53 lead. Brady junior guard Jourdain Bell made a tip-in at the buzzer to force overtime, and the Spartans won it 70-65 in OT.

"It was high level basketball" said Pembroke Academy head coach Matt Alosa. "You had the 2 best players in the state in my opinion out there with Pat Welch and Jourdain Bell. Pat had 31 points and Jourdain had 27, it was tournament basketball. The key to our comeback was they started missing shots. Our kids did a great job of digging their way back in it, and Dom had a great game."

You couldn't ask for much more in a regular season high school basketball game. Two rival schools, a packed house with both student sections rocking, possibly the 2 best players in the state matched up all game battling each other, kids hitting big shot after big shot, a tremendous 4th quarter comeback and overtime to boot.

Both teams came out strong defensively at the outset, and on offense were pushing the tempo and hitting shots. Joe Bell (11 points) hit a 3-pointer right out of the gate off a kick out pass by his brother Jourdain. Welch came back with 2 quick layups as he made a number of determined drives to the rim throughout the game. Joe Bell picked up his 2nd foul with 4:23 left in the 1st and had to sit the rest of the quarter.

Then Jourdain Bell drew a charge on Pembroke senior forward Jordan Williams, and on the other end Jourdain Bell drove to the rim and hit a tough leaner. Then Brendan Johnson hit a pair of 3-pointers, with the second one being from 4 feet behind the line on a baseline out of bounds play. Timbas cut to the rim, caught the ball in the lane and scored and it was 14-11 Pembroke after 1 quarter.

The 2nd quarter had to be the best quarter Brady has played all year. Jourdain Bell went hard to the rim, dribbling through the whole Pembroke defense for a score. On the other end Welch did the same thing, getting the bucket for an and-1 finish. Then it was again Johnson's turn, driving into the lane and hitting a leaner. Pembroke still led 17-15. Then Brady ran a nice set play, a corner fade with Johnson fading to the corner opposite the ball and Jourdain Bell zipping a pass cross court to him for another 3-pointer. Brady had taken an 18-17 lead. Timbas buried an 18-footer to put the Spartans back on top 19-18, but then Joe Bell drove and made a nice dish to senior forward Aaron Svendsen for 2. Brady got the ball right back, and Joe Bell took it right to the rim for a fast break layup. The shots kept falling for Brady, as Danny Fogarty hit a 3-pointer followed quickly by another fast break layup by Joe Bell. It was now 27-21 Brady with 3:26 left in the 2nd quarter and Pembroke called timeout.

"When you play P.A. you need to play your best game and you need to make shots to have a chance" said Bishop Brady head coach Mark Yeaton.

Out of the timeout Welch made a steal and easy layup on the other end. Jourdain Bell answered right back with a 3-pointer from the corner. Timbas was working hard on the low block, grabbing a rebound and putting it back in. But then Jourdan Bell hit a step-back jumper from 18 feet, followed by another 3 from the corner. Then Joe Bell hit an 18-footer with just 3 seconds left, and it was 37-25 Brady at halftime. The Giants had just scored a whopping 26 points in the 2nd quarter!

"We felt like we were playing good defense, they just hitting some tough shots" said Welch, a 6-foot-1 shooting guard who has already scored well over 1,000 career points. "He told us they wouldn't be able to keep up the pace of hitting all those shots, and to just keep playing good defense."

The 2 teams exchanged buckets in the 3rd. Welch again sliced through the Brady defense for a tough bucket. Svendsen converted a put-back for Brady. Then on a 2-on-1 break Welch dished to Timbas for a layup. But then Jourdain Bell hit another 3-pointer, and Brady now led 42-29.

Welch again answered back, using a crossover dribble to free himself up for a shot, which he buried from beyond the arc. Joe Bell hit a turnaround jumper off the glass, but then it was again Welch with another strong drive and and-1 finish. With his ability to score off the dribble or with his outside shot Welch is a nightmare to defend.

Jourdain Bell answered with an off balanced jumper from 15 feet, and then Fogarty hit his second 3, this one was a big one as it put Brady up 49-37. Then after a steal, Jourdain Bell took it to the rim for a layup in transition and Brady now had their largest lead of the game, 51-37.

Welch again answered with a big shot, hitting a 3 to cut the lead to 51-40. Welch had 11 of his 31 points in the 3rd quarter. Cameron Taylor made a put-back for Pembroke, and it was 53-42 Brady after 3 quarters.

That's when PA went on a 16-0 run to start the 4th, and it was Timbas who scored the first 9 consecutive points during that run. First he had an and-1 put-back, then he backed his man down with the dribble, spun towards the basket and hit a turnaround jumper. On the next trip down the floor he converted yet another put-back. Then came a huge call, as there was a scramble with both teams fighting for a loose ball. Jordan Williams looked like he may have gained possession of the ball and was trying to call a timeout. However it appeared as if a jump ball should have been called before that. Instead, Joe Bell was called for a reach-in foul, and it was his 5th foul so he had fouled out with 5:31 still left in the 4th quarter. That was a tough call for Brady.

"Losing Joe in the 4th quarter was big" lamented Coach Yeaton. "That changes everything we do defensively."

Timbas capped his personal 9-0 with by going inside for 2 more, and it was now 53-51 Brady. Welch hit a pair of foul shots to tie it up 53-53, and then on the next time down the floor he drove to the rim and hit a tough leaning scoop shot to put the Spartans back on top 55-53 with 2:30 left. Timbas scored again inside to make it 57-53 and then Williams brought the house down with a thunderous one handed slam dunk off an inside dish to make it 59-53 Pembroke and cap the 16-0 run with 2:02 left in regulation.

It wasn't over yet though, as freshman guard Matt Quirk hit a big 3-pointer to cut the PA lead to 59-56 with just over a minute remaining. Then Welch missed the front end of a 1-and-1, giving Brady the ball down 59-56. Fogarty got a good look at a 3 from the top of the key, and his shot went halfway down and then popped out. Brady gets the offensive rebound, and Jourdain drove to the rim and got fouled. He made both free throws, but Brady still trailed 59-58 with just 10 seconds left. It was Pembroke ball, and Connor Boucher got fouled. He went to the line for a 1-and-1. Boucher made the first shot but missed the second, giving Brady one more chance down 60-58. Fogarty had the ball on the right wing. He didn't have a great look as he was falling out of bounds and had a hand right in his face. But with time running out he had to shoot it. The shot was no good, but Jourdain Bell leaped up fr the offensive rebound, and while still in mid-air he laid it in for the score at the buzzer. The officials had put an extra 1.5 seconds back on the clock at the last timeout and that turned out to be crucial. We were headed to overtime tied 60-60. What a game!

Jourdain Bell made another put-back to begin OT to put Brady up 62-60. But then Pembroke went on a 7-0 run. Welch drove to the rim for 2 more, then Pembroke got a quick steal which lead to another layup by Welch. Then Welch again used his tough crossover dribble to get in the lane and made another bucket in traffic. Brady had 2 costly travel calls and also airballed a pair of 3-pointers in overtime - they were clearly running out of steam and the Spartans led 67-62.

Brady wasn't ready to give up though, as Johnson hit another 3 (his fourth of the game from downtown). It was now 67-65 Pembroke. But then Williams hit a pair of free throws, Brady turned it over again and Pembroke held on for the 70-65 win.

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