Bartlett’s Evan Anderson (10) takes it to the hoop in between Nathan Richard (22) and Jesse Gilchrist (3).
By Steev Riccardo
The Bartlett Indians put it all together and beat a very good Shepherd Hill Rams team 66-59 in Dudley Friday night (January 27) in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd.
Coming off their worst loss of the year, a humbling 48-38 defeat to the Oxford Pirates, the Indians showed true character and determination and outplayed their fierce rivals in a hard fought contest.
The Rams were also coming off a loss to a tough Uxbridge team earlier in the week and were looking to get back in the winning column, but ran into a hungrier Bartlett team.
Both teams fired away early as the Rams took a 16-15 first quarter lead behind seven early points from senior Kyle McKissick.
Indian senior co-captains Nick Kobel and DJ Kirby-Thomas each made some big shots as the Indians put together a solid 18-point second quarter and took a 33-28 lead at the half.
The third quarter was an all war, but it was Indian forward Akeem Belnavis who took control of the game, putting together a 9-point quarter. The Indian defense was also on the top of its game as the visitors held the Rams to only nine points and held a 48-39 lead heading into the final stanza.
McKissick was all over the court for the Rams and was not about to go down easy, but a key offensive foul drawn by Indian sophomore Evan Anderson proved costly for his team.
Despite being outscored by the Rams 20-16 in the final quarter, the Indians’ Matt Huberdault made five key free throws in the last minute to seal the huge victory for his team.
Bartlett Head Coach Tony Paranto reflected on the events of the past week. “We are going to chalk up Tuesday (Oxford game) as one of those stinker games I guess. I’m not sure if they were looking ahead or not, we try and stress in practice not to look ahead, but obviously in the back of their minds they knew they had the Rams coming on Friday night.”
“This win bodes really high for us, we beat some teams that are average, we weren’t sure if we could beat the better teams, Shepherd Hill is a perennial team, they play a Division I schedule, this is a big win for us.”
Paranto praised both Thomas and Belnavis for having “great games in the middle” and was also impressed with the play of one of his younger players, Evan Anderson, who was outstanding on defense. “He is one of those kids with a lot of basketball knowledge even though he is only a sophomore. He knows how to do the little things, the intangibles that don’t show up in the box score, and he is obviously starting for a reason right now.”
Kobel, who rebounded tremendously from an off game against Oxford, and Belnavis, who had one of his best games of the season, led the way with 18 points a piece, while Thomas and Huberdault also played key roles, each scoring 14 points.
McKissick led the Rams with 15 points and a great overall performance, while Matthew Rayla also had a strong game with 15 points.
The Shepherd Hill Junior Varsity team beat Bartlett 77-52 in the preliminary. Drew Jean Guillaume led the Rams with 15 points, while Anthony Higbie played a strong game in defeat, scoring 20 for the Indians. Justin Stately added 15 for the visitors.
Shepherd Hill’s Matt Rayla (22) slaps the ball from the hands
of Alexander Givens-Perry (30).
Nick Terranova (14) and Bryan Stearns focus on securing a loose ball.
Nick Kobel (23) drives hard past Justin Terlizzi (30)
on his way to the hoop.
Kyle McKissick (24) takes a short jumper from the baseline.
and check out View from the Sidelines for more on local high school hoops.