Bristol bounces back in repeat District Championship win over Church Farm

PLYMOUTH MEETING — In one of the most unbelievable comebacks — or one of the biggest collapses, depending on your perspective — Bristol bounced back from a 15-point deficit with five minutes remaining in regulation to beat four-time District 1 Class A champion Church Farm School 65-63 in overtime Saturday afternoon at Colonial Middle School.

Junior Deonte Harris poured 29 points into the basket, not the least of which were a pair of free throws in overtime that tied the score at 63-all and senior Sieed McFadden — who didn’t score a point until midway through the third period — registered the winning basket, a putback layup off the glass of a miss by Harris with seven seconds to go in the extra session.

Moments later when CFS senior Michael Mohamed’s baseline attempt at a layup went over the basket, the Warriors had their second consecutive District 12 Class AA championship under second-year coach Tyrone Lewis.

“No one believed we were gonna win; no one’ said McFadden, after the game. “Even our own fans probably didn’t believe we were gonna win.

“We just kept the attitude that we were gonna come back and win. Coach Ty believed in us; he kept telling us to fight and that’s what we did — we fought.’

The Warriors could have lost this game in so many ways, you lost count. They were down 17 points at the half with no answer offensively for CFS freshman Fred Odhiambo, who registered nine blocks and kept Bristol from taking the ball to the cup.

own 13 points after three periods, the Warriors — after ending the third quarter with a pair of airballs — began the fourth quarter with a couple of turnovers. A moment later, McFadden got a steal then promptly missed a wide open dunk. Right after that, CFS sophomore James Lawton marched right down the lane with a layup to put the Griffins up 46-31 with five minutes remaining in regulation.

Had Church Farm arrived with the spirited fans the Warriors came with (they didn’t), they would have been chanting “start the buses.’

Instead of hitting the panic button, that’s when Bristol began its comeback bid. Harris hit his own putback and McFadden hit a jumper in the lane, cutting the deficit to 11 with three minutes left.

Off consecutive steals by the Warriors, Harris hit yet another putback and senior Ryan Cosby hit an open layup off a feed from classmate Aidan Coughlin. That cut the Griffins’ lead to six points with 2:28 remaining.

Cosby again came through, punching in a layup on which he got clobbered by a defender then hit the and-one. After a 5-second inbounds violation on Church Farm, Harris hit a 3-pointer, his fifth in the game to draw Bristol within three points, 48-45 with two minutes left in regulation.

While McFadden’s shot off the glass with 1:30 to go cut the deficit to two, a 3-point play by Mohamed extended the Griffins’ edge to five with 1:15 to go in regulation.

That’s when sophomore Parker Kelley stepped up. Until then, Kelley had tallied just three points, all on free throws he poured into the basket at the beginning of the second half. Now, here he was hitting back-to-back 3-pointers when the Warriors needed him most. Kelley’s first trey cut the Griffins’ edge to 52-50 with 36 seconds left. Around a pair of Cosby free throws and two by Odhiambo — who also missed four straight foul shots, he tossed in another trey to give Bristol a 1-point lead with 14 seconds remaining in regulation.

With his team trailing for the first time in the game, Mohamed stormed up the court. Instead of letting him go, Cosby fouled him on his way. Ironically, it all worked out because the man with the herculean effort for Church Farm — he led all scorers with 33 points including three 3-pointers — missed the second of two free throws to send the battle into overtime.

In the extra session, a McFadden layup and a free throw by Harris put Bristol on top by two with 2:30 to go. But the Griffins countered with a driving layup and two free throws by Lawton, giving CFS a 61-59 lead.

The Warriors answered with two free throws by Nick Santana that came off a steal for his only points in the game — though, without them, Bristol has no chance — and two more by Harris wrapped around a putback by Odhiambo that put Church Farm up 63-61 with a minute left in overtime.

After the foul shots by Harris that deadlocked the score at 63-all with 54 ticks remaining, McFadden tipped the ball off the arm of CFS sophomore Kareem Hughes for the biggest turnover in the game.

Moments later, Bristol was celebrating its second District 1-AA championship in as many seasons.

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