Kobel shines with 39 points in loss
By Steev Riccardo. Patriot staff photos. More follow the article.
Nick Kobel had one of the greatest quarters in Bartlett High School history, scoring 25 of his 39 points in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough as the Indians were eliminated from post-season play by St. Bernard’s of Fitchburg 84-75 on Monday night.
Despite going down in defeat, Bartlett’s most recent 1000-point scorer put on a show for the ages as he played his final game in a Bartlett basketball jersey and left his mark and place in Indian history.
The Indians came out quick behind the hot shooting and 11 first-quarter points of junior Akeem Belnavis and took an early 17-15 lead.
The Bernardians used a dominant inside game and some strong rebounding to take control in the second quarter, opening a 40-30 lead at half time.
The Indians were playing hard in the third quarter but the Bernardians were making their shots and taking advantage of free throw opportunities to open a huge 17-point lead in a contest that appeared to be headed for a blow-out.
Trailing 64-47 heading into the final quarter, Kobel took over and put on an unforgettable performance and nearly saved his team’s season. Playing in his final game, the senior point guard caught fire and at one point connected for 14 straight points, which drove the home town crowd into a frenzy.
Kobel’s free throw with 2:22 left miraculously tied the game at 75-75, but the Indians were unable to capitalize against their stronger opponents after that and were outscored 9-0 in the final minutes and their season was over.
Despite the loss, Kobel put on a show that will long be remembered in Bartlett basketball history, and ended his career with class.
Bartlett Head Coach Tony Paranto reflected on his team’s play afterwards, “We didn’t do a very good job in the first half, they were pretty athletic, they went to the glass pretty hard, we tried to change our defense up and even when we were switching defenses and went to a man-to-man defense we had a hard time locating people.”
Paranto’s team adjusted and nearly pulled off a miracle win, “We emphasized at halftime that we had to limit them to one shot and I think we did a pretty good job with that in the third and fourth quarters. We eliminated their sideline passes and they struggled with their offense.”
Although the comeback was incredible, the Indians fell short at the end, “If we could have grabbed the lead we would have gained more momentum, but we couldn’t get the lead. We had plenty of opportunities, we missed five free throws down the stretch and we missed some wide open three-point shots and they made their free throws when they had to.”
As for the play of his senior co-captain, Paranto praised his star, “he is a never-say-die kid, he showed his character, put us on his shoulders, and tried to will us to a win.”
A somber Kobel said afterwards, “We knew it could be our last game and we were down, we had to dig deep, play defense and give ourselves a chance to win, we just fell a little short at the end.”
Belnavis finished with 16 points and Alex Givens-Perry had 11 points and eight rebounds in the loss, which ended the Indians’ season at 13-9.
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