By Steev Riccardo
The Bartlett Indians split their final two regular season games last week, losing in overtime to the Southbridge Pioneers 86-79 on the road and blasting Worcester North at home 84-50 last Wednesday on seniors’ night.
The Southbridge contest was an all out war that featured a raucous crowd, gritty basketball, and an extra stanza to resolve. It was a classic encounter between the two rivals.
Both teams came out firing from the start. Indians co-captains Nick Kobel and DJ Kirby-Thomas paced the visitors with 10 and 8 points respectively as they went to head to head with the Pioneers in an 18-18 first quarter.
The hungry Pioneers continued their hot shooting and outscored the Indians, taking a 41-33 for a half time lead. Junior Akeem Belnavis kept the Indians close with some great all-around play and a seven-point quarter.
The third quarter was all offense. Both teams battled, but the Pioneers were able to open a 15-point lead behind the overall outstanding play of Enrique Ortiz, who sparked his team all night.
Sophomore Alex Givens-Perry was a force on both ends of the court, helping to spark a huge Indian comeback in the fourth quarter. Both Belnavis and Matt Huberdault also pitched in with some big three-pointers and the Indians fought all the way back.
Kobel connected on a deep three-pointer with just over two minutes left and the Indians had come all the way back to take a 79-78 lead.
The final two minutes were frantic. Both teams had chances to win, especially the Indians, who could not capitalize in the final 17 seconds after Belnavis made a great defensive play which led to a rebound basket by Kirby-Thomas to tie the game at 84 a piece.
The Pioneers dominated the overtime and got the season split that they desperately wanted. For them there were no playoff appearances at 9-9 but the satisfaction of beating their rivals in one of the final games at the old Southbridge high school gym, which is in its final season.
Kirby-Thomas led the Indians with a monster game finishing with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Kobel was equally impressive with 23 points and 9 assists, while Belnavis finished with 22 points and 6 rebounds.Givens-Perry, who fouled out but was a huge factor in the Indian comeback, also played well with 13 points and 11 rebounds
The Pioneers took the junior varsity game 69-52. Anthony Higbie led the Indians with 15, while Jacob Simonis added 13 points in defeat.
Belnavis and Indians trounce NorthAkeem Belnavis sparked the Indians in their final regular season game as the Indians dominated Worcester North and capped a 12-7 regular season with a 34-point win.
Belnavis, who finished with 16 points, brought the house to its feet twice with a pair of rim shaking dunks. The two dunks made it a total of four slams on the season for the high-flying junior and was just an indication that the best is yet to come
Nick Kobel led the Indians with 21 points, while Matt Huberdault pitched in 12 points, including a pair of long-range three-point bombs. Kirby-Thomas also scored 12 points in the last home game of his spectacular career as an Indian.
Before the game the Indians honored its seniors Kobel, Kirby-Thomas, and Andrew Meloche. Kobel was also presented with a ball honoring his 1000-point career.
Higbie exploded for 25 points and led the Indians’ junior varsity by North 66-54. Simonis added 11 points while Neil Flanagan contributed 9 points to the win and final game for the junior squad.
- Sunday, 19 February 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Sports