BRISTOL BOROUGH – Bristol shot less than 23 percent from the floor in the first three quarters and turned the ball over 25 times and still found a way to climb back into its battle with visiting Bicentennial Athletic League (BAL) rival Calvary Christian Academy (CCA).
The Warriors finished the game with a 13-2 scoring run, and yet somehow, the Cougars found a way to escape Anthony ‘Chic’ D’Angelo Gymnasium with a 42-40 triumph Wednesday night in the Borough.
“When you’re down, there’s no pressure so you play more relaxed,” explained first-year Bristol head coach Jerry Devine. “But we keep putting ourselves in tough situations.
“I’m proud of them for fighting back but we have to figure out what we are doing in those 3-minute stretches where we kind of lose it.”
Try as they might, the Warriors could not solve the visitors’ three-quarter press. Time and again, Bristol turned the ball over with errant passes.
“We knew what they were doing and we adjusted what we needed to do,” explained Devine. “We went out in the second half and we just didn’t execute.”
After turning the ball over a dozen times in the first half, Bristol surrendered the rock more than 10 times in the third period, a quarter in which the Warriors tallied just three points.
“It’s a lack of communication,” stated Bristol senior Dayeshawn Cortez. “On defense, we didn’t really talk about rotations.
“We have to come out next game and try to fight, communicate better and hopefully, get off to a better start.”
After three periods, the home team trailed 33-19 before staging a furious comeback attempt in the final frame.
Junior Kevin Farrell – who gave the Warriors a fighting chance by scoring 11 of his team’s 19 points in the first three frames – hit a layup and senior Austin Funair canned a 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter with a 5-point swing for Bristol, drawing the home team back within nine, at 33-24.
The Cougars answered right back, however, with a pair of baskets including a 3-pointer by senior Josh Buck and a driving layup by classmate Vijay Nalliah, extending the visitors’ edge to 13 midway through the final frame.
Calvary didn’t hit a shot from the floor after that however as the Warriors’ offense came alive.
Bristol senior Jarvis Zyvonoski ignited the spark, hitting the first of two treys he canned in the fourth quarter and classmate Alex Jerbo poured in a pair of layups sandwiched around a Zyvonoski jumper.
All of a sudden, it’s a 7-point ballgame with 2:20 remaining in regulation.
Add to that another trey by Zyvonoski and an easy layup off a steal by Cortez and now, the Warriors were within striking distance, trailing by two at 40-38 with 1:30 showing on the fourth-quarter clock.
Somehow, Bristol could not get the points it needed to go ahead.
The Warriors – who shot just 3-for-11 from the foul line – missed their last four free throws and an easy layup in the post and the visitors hung on to a 42-40 win, their sixth of the season against four losses.
Bristol fell to 2-7, overall.
“We had a rally but we got killed on the boards on those free throws,” explained Cortez. “We had to get to the boards to get the ‘W’ and we just didn’t execute with rebounds at all.”
With his team trailing 41-38, Farrell came up with a huge defensive rebound after Buck missed the second of two free throws with 30 seconds left. Cortez followed with a fast-break basket, cutting the Warriors’ deficit to a single point (41-40) with 18 seconds left.
While Khian’Dre Harris missed a pair of foul shots for Bristol with 12 seconds left, Nalliah returned the favor when he missed a pair for the Cougars.
Calvary Christian 6-3 junior Anthony Manigrassi out-jumped everyone for the rebound and that gave Buck two more tosses from the foul line, where he canned one of two.
With less than 10 second left, Cortez grabbed a hold of the next rebound, following with an outlet to Zyvonoski.
The Warriors’ final pass went out of bounds however as the final seconds ticked away. It was apropos, given the events that transpired on the court in the first 28 minutes.
The Cougars could have closed the game out earlier but shot just 2-for-8 from the charity stripe in the final frame after going 8-for-8 from the foul line in the first three quarters.
Buck led Calvary Christian with 13 points while classmate Tristan Hahn chipped in with 10 points and Nalliah added nine.
Farrell was the Warriors’ leading scorer with 13 points, Zyvonoski chipped in with eight, Cortez added seven and Jerbo had six.
Next, Bristol will host Holy Ghost Prep (5-7) Friday night at D’Angelo Gym while the Cougars travel to defending District 1-AAA champion Valley Forge Military Academy.
The Firebirds evened their record at 5-5 with a double-digit win over defending D1-AA champ Church Farm School on Jan. 3 but lost two ensuing battles with BAL rivals Dock Mennonite and New Hope-Solebury. The Pioneers (10-1) are the top-ranked team in the Class AA field while New Hope is fourth in the AAA rankings.
Calvary Christian 42, Bristol 40
(Jan. 10 at Bristol)
Bristol 7 9 3 21 – 40
Calvary 11 8 14 9 – 42
BRISTOL (2-8) — Laroy Freeman 2, Dayeshawn Cortez 7, Kevin Farrell 13, Austin Funair 4, Alex Jerbo 6, Jarvis Zyvonoski 8; TOTALS — 17 3-11–40.
CALVARY CHRISTIAN (6-4) — Jay Winterstein 6, Tristan Hahn 10, Vijay Nalliah 9, Zach Covelens 2, Josh Buck 13, Joe Ehrgot 2; TOTALS — 15 10-16–42.
3-POINT GOALS: B — Funair, Zyvonoski 2; CC — Nalliah, Buck.