Bristol boys basketball takes ‘must-win’ Faith Christian game in double OT (VIDEO)

BRISTOL BORO – Bristol head coach Matt Gasper had his Warriors’ Dec. 17 home court battle with Faith Christian penciled in as a “Must Win” game.

The boys must have taken head because they came away with a victory, earned through blood, sweat and well, save the tears for the opponent – the Lions lost 64-61 in double overtime.

“I kept telling my players, ‘We made it this far. Now, we need to win,’ said Bristol junior Parker Kelley. “We didn’t put all this work in for nothing. We really needed this win. It was on the board so we really needed to pull it off.”

The Warriors’ offense was led by senior Deonte Harris, who poured 27 points into the rim including five 3-pointers. Harris had plenty of help from a supporting cast that included Kelley (11 pts.), Ronnie Garrison (7), Adrian Ellerbe (7) and Alex Jerbos (7).

“Sharing the ball, we learned it’s not a one-man show,” said Kelley. “We kick the ball around, work the screen, hit the open man for an easy shot, easy layup.”

Bristol actually fell behind 10-5 early in this game, emerging from the first period trailing, 16-14.

Sophomore reserve guards Austin Funair and Alex Jerbos hit a pair of early shots from the floor and Jerbos added a free throw, putting the Warriors (2-4, 1-2: BAL) on top, 19-17. Faith Christian (3-1, 2-1: BAL) would tie the score at 19 with its next basket but Garrison’s 3-pointer would put Bristol back on top.

While Harris extended the edge to four with his second trey in the game, the Lions deadlocked the score again, this time at 25-all when Sawyer Smith hit a free throw late in the second period. With less than a minute remaining in the half, Harris found classmate Adrian Ellerbe alone under the basket for a reverse layup then Deonte beat the buzzer with his third 3-pointer in the contest, sending the Warriors into the locker room with a 30-25 lead.

While Harris was a key piece to this important win against a tough BAL opponent – Faith entered the game unbeaten – the offense had plenty of other moving parts.

“If he’s being boxed-and-one like the other games, we run the offense around him, we keep it away from him so we have more open lanes,” explained Kelley.

“Today, they didn’t really face-guard too much. And we learned when there’s no look, share the ball, share the ball, kick it out and everybody else gets the looks.”

Garrison opened the third period with a driving layup and Harris’ fourth trey put Bristol up six, 35-29. A jumper by Kelley, coupled together with yet another 3-pointer by Harris, extended the Warriors’ edge to nine, 40-31. In the closing seconds of the third quarter, after nearly turning the ball over near mid-court, Kelley hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to extend the Bristol lead to 11 points, 43-32.

In expanding the lead to double digits heading into the fourth quarter, the Warriors used some staunch defense with Samir Brisbon forcing a turnover near the baseline in the Lions’ end of the court and Harris intercepting an outlet pass tossed down the court by Smith.

While Jerbos and Kelley began the fourth period with two more steals, they failed to turn the thefts into points. Faith would then turn the tables on the Warriors, using three straight steals of its own to turn a six-point deficit into a 46-all deadlock.

Lions 5-5 freshman point guard Isaiah Robinson took the first theft and turned it into a layup. Then senior Chris Clark stole the ball and followed that up with a convincing dunk that drew his team within two. Robinson grabbed another Ball from Bristol and drew a foul, making both free throws to tie the score at 46-all with 2:30 remaining in regulation.

Tied again at 48, Kelley hit an open layup with 40 seconds left but FC sophomore forward Landon Coyle hit a 1-handed bank shot to lock things up at 50-all with 15 ticks remaining.

With a chance to get the final shot in regulation, Bristol coughed the ball up on the inbounds pass, giving Faith one final shot for the win with eight seconds left.

The Lions missed however, sending this one to an extra session.

Like it never happened, the Warriors shrugged off their ball security problems in the fourth quarter and came out strong in overtime. To start, Jerbos pulled off yet another steal of his own then followed that up with an easy layup. Then, Harris drove the baseline and got to the basket for a 4-point lead.

“I told them to let it go; we have another quarter to play,” said head coach Matt Gasper. “It’s nothing-nothing; come out with that energy and they bought into it and laid everything out on the line in the first overtime.”

With less than a minute left in the first OT, Bristol went up 58-54 on a pair of free throws by Harris. When Faith missed its next shot, Kelley had a chance to extend the lead to six with 35 ticks remaining. But Parker missed the first half of a 1-and-1, Coyle hit a 1-handed bank shot and Clark hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the game to a second extra session, tied at 59-all.

The sides traded blows early in the second overtime with Clark driving the lane for an early bucket and a 2-point Lions’ lead. Harris would counter with a drive to the basket of his own to tie the score at 61 with 1:30 left. He followed that up with a steal then made 1-of-2 free throws for a 1-point Warriors’ edge. Bristol senior Dom Sica and Ellerbe extended the lead to three when each made 1-of-2 from the stripe.

In between, Robinson missed a pair of shots from the foul line then Coyle missed an attempt at a 3-pointer that came much too close to dropping in after clanging off the top of the backboard.

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Bristol 64, Faith Christian 61

(Dec. 17 at Bristol)

Faith Christian 16 9 7 18 9 2 – 61

Bristol                14 16 13 7 9 5 – 64

BRISTOL — Parker Kelley 11, Ronnie Garrison 7, Adrian Ellerbe 7, Deonte Harris 27, Alex Jerbos 7, Dom Sica 2, Austin Funair 2, Samir Brisbon 1; TOTALS: 23 11-21 64

3-POINT GOALS — Kelley, Garrison, Harris 5.

FAITH CHRISTIAN — Zeke Snowdon 15, Landon Coyle 12, Sawyer Smith 9, Chris Clark 15, Derek Crivello 2, Ozgur Ozguven 2, Isaiah Robinson 6; TOTALS: 22 15-23 61

3-POINT GOALS — Coyle, Clark.

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