BRISTOL BORO – Hawked by Overbrook defenders all game long, Bristol senior Deonte Harris had just drained a pair of free throws to draw the Warriors within three points with three minutes remaining in the contest.
Yet somehow, the Philadelphia Public League Panthers pulled away to a 60-44 season-opening win over their hosts in the Chic D’Angelo Memorial Coaches Versus Cancer Tipoff Tournament Friday night, Dec. 4 at Bristol High School.
“It was a mental breakdown,” stated Bristol first-year head coach Matt Gasper. “Some of the kids, they haven’t been put in that position before. We have a lot of first-times playing varsity and they didn’t know how to handle it.
Overbrook starter Daevon Ravenell – a 5-7 senior who sat for large portions of the first half after getting in early foul trouble – tore at the heart of the Warriors with nine fourth-quarter points including 5-of-6 from the foul line.
For his part, Harris tallied 14 of his game-high 20 points in the second half including 7-of-10 from the charity stripe. While Harris repeatedly drove the lane and got to the foul line, many times, he went sprawling to the floor on his way to the basket.
“He played his heart out for us but he’s got to learn some control,” said Gasper. “Every time he gets to the lane, he’s going to face contact. He’s got to learn a little more control there to avoid that contact.
“He’s not going to be able to last the whole season taking bumps like that.”
On the scoreboard, aside from five points scored in the fourth quarter by junior Parker Kelley and six registered after the break by senior Dom Sica, Harris had little help from the remaining cast.
“We expected a lot more from our bench but it didn’t come through,” said Gasper.
On the other hand, the Panthers received 14 points from their bench including five points in the first quarter from 5-9 senior reserve Corey Womack, who subbed for Ravenell when he got into foul trouble.
Teammate Jaquil Madison, a 6-3 senior starter, also came through for the visitors, registering six fourth-quarter points including 5-of-8 from the foul line. Madison was among the co-leaders in scoring for Overbrook along with 5-10 senior Ronald Watkins. Both players registered 13 points in the game with Watkins hitting three shots from the floor and one from the foul line for a 7-point final frame.
“It was a complete mental breakdown on our part,” said Gasper. “We told them the right sets to run that got us back in the game.
“As soon as it got close, they just had a mental block and that’s what hurt us.”
The Warriors will have little time to regroup though recover they must. Bristol faces Plumstead Christian in the tournament consolation matchup Saturday afternoon on its home court. Plumstead lost 61-43 in an earlier matchup with Mastery Charter North, which faces Overbrook in the tournament championship.
“It’s just one game; I’m not really worried about it,” said Gasper. “We’ll come back strong but we have a lot of things to work on. We do a have a bright season ahead of us.”
On the girls side, Pennington, a 46-19 winner over Bristol, faces Truman, a 46-36 winner over Morrisville, in the tournament championship. The Lady Warriors battle the Bulldogs in the girls championship matchup.
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Overbrook 60, Bristol 44
(Dec. 4 at Bristol)
Overbrook 15 11 8 26 – 60
Bristol 8 7 14 15 – 44
Parker Kelley: 11
Dominic Sica: 8
Deote Harris: 20
Adrian Elerbe: 2
Ronnie Garrison: 3
Ronald Watkins: 13
Anthony Sheppard: 5
Daevon Ravenell: 11
Jaquil Madison: 13
Dahmere Jackson: 2
Gary Hawes: 7
Jordan Byard: 2
Yusuf Coleman: 2
Corey Womack: 5
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