By: Tuesday and Friday
Bedford seniors Liam Greene and Troy Meservey combined for 28 points to help lead Bedford to their first ever D1 Championship game to be played against Portsmouth on Saturday at 3:00 pm at UNH.
22% is all you need to know about this game. This is the percentage the Red Raiders shot in tonight’s game on 13 for 57 shooting. D1 POY, Cal Connelly, wasn’t even in double figures to start the 4th quarter. The Bedford defense combined with the cavernous shooting background of UNH spelled doom for the Red Raiders.
Going into this game I really thought Spaulding would put forth an effort to propel them to their first D1/Class L state final basketball game since 1964. Yes, that’s correct. The last time Spaulding made it to a basketball championship game was in 1964 against the great Bishop Bradley team. Spaulding lost a close one to the Pioneers 48 to 46. I’m sure Justin McIsaac has an 8mm tape of that game buried in his wrestling closet at his house.
Bedford didn’t want to be a part of history as they came out shooting at a 53% clip in the first quarter to take a 16 to 5 lead. Nolan Anderson’s 6 points and 3’s by Crowley and Mokas gave the Bulldogs a comfort zone. Spaulding climbed back some in the 2nd quarter out scoring Bedford 11 to 5. Both teams were cold. The 3rd quarter featured more cold shooting as Bedford outscored Spaulding 9 to 7.
Cal Connelly hit 2 NBA range 3’s to help give Red Raider Nation some life at the start to mid-way of the 4th quarter to get the Red Raiders close, but not close enough. Spaulding continued their shooting woes while Bedford calmly sunk FTs to widen the margin in the last few minutes. Bedford canned 10 FTs, after Spaulding drew within one possession of the lead in the 4th, to give them breathing room down the stretch. Spaulding tried one shot after another and the rim, backboard and air was touched by the Spaulding shots, but not the inside of the net.
Even though Bedford was helped by the poor shooting night of Spaulding, the Bulldogs showed some good mental makeup in advancing to the championship game. Previous Bedford teams have lost their prelim and quarterfinal playoff games in D1 while turning into a puddle of mental mud in a lot of those games. This Bedford squad is different. While they don’t have top heavy scorers, as in previous D1 seasons, they have interchangeable parts that adapt to any particular game nicely. This might not be the most talented Bedford basketball team that has been in D1 the last few years, but they are the best Bedford TEAM that has been in D1 since they joined. They will need a great team effort to give Portsmouth their first and only loss of the season on Saturday at 3:00 pm at UNH.
This was a sad ending for Spaulding for sure. Justin McIsaac was walking the Red Raider basketball funeral march after the game receiving condolences all along press row. 6’4 Spaulding sophomore Arie Breakfield showed a nice touch by coming over to media row and shaking all the hands of the media and thanking them after the bitter defeat. Spaulding graduates 3 of their 5 starters, including POY Connelly, which will be a huge loss. Somehow, Tim Cronin finds a way to restock and come back. The dark basketball cloud won’t last that long in Rochester. Life will not end in the Lilac City. The Elks Lodge on Columbus Ave will still be holding the best karaoke east of the Lee Traffic Circle. The Riviera Motel will still be hopping on the weekend and you can still get a damn good used car in Rochester. Yes, life will still go in Red Raider Nation. Weep not for them!!