Thunderous dunk by Belnavis leads surge
By Steev Riccardo
The Bartlett Indians staged a huge second half comeback and rallied from a 13-point deficit to defeat the Douglas Tigers 62-52 in an inter- league game played in Douglas on Friday night.
Spurred by a rim-rattling slam-dunk by junior Akeem Belnavis, the Indians scored the first 14 points of the second half and took control of the game and never looked back.
Bartlett Head Coach Tony Paranto shuffled his lineup a bit, starting Matt Huberdault and Nick Terranova instead of Belnavis and Alex Givens-Perry because he felt “coming off a loss we had to adjust something” and the plan seemed to work well enough in the long run.
The hometown Tigers came out of the locker room with a lot of energy and relied on some hot outside shooting to open up a 16-12 first quarter lead despite Nick Kobel’s 3 three-pointers.
The Indians were lulled into the Tigers game even further in the second quarter as they were outscored 19-10. Paranto felt his team “played poor defensively,” which they did, and it cost them as they went down 35-22 at the half.
Whatever was said and happened in the Indians locker room at half time worked marvelously as Belnavis and Givens-Perry led a charge that resulted in a 14-0 run sparked by one of the biggest plays of the season.
Early in the third quarter and already on a 7-0 run, the ball was knocked loose and ended up in Belnavis’s hands, who drove to the basket and slammed down the ball, causing everyone in the gym to erupt. Even Douglas fans reacted to the thunderous dunk that deflated the Tigers even though at that point they still had a lead.
The Indians continued their surge into the fourth quarter and outscored the Tigers 40-17 in one of their most impressive halves of the season, which ironically came after their worst half of the season.
“We questioned their character a little bit at half time and obviously they showed character in the second half. We have some pretty good leaders on this team, veterans that knew they had to step their game up in the second half and they did,” said Paranto.
The coach went on to praise Belnavis, who had his second straight outstanding performance of the season. “When he’s active, he is one of the better players on the floor. He’s athletic, obviously, with the dunk; he’s a ball hawker out there too. If he’s active and ball hawking with his defense his offense comes too.”
Belnavis led all Indian scorers with 22 points and also added seven rebounds, three blocks, two steals, and one volcanic slam dunk. Kobel contributed 14 points and six assists, while sophomore Givens-Perry played another solid game with 13 points and five rebounds.
Huberdault, who does a lot of things on the court that don’t always show up on the stat sheet, also played a strong overall game for the Indians, making three of four shots for seven points.
The Bartlett junior varsity squad lost to the Tigers 76-49 despite a nice performance by Anthony Higbie, who scored 25 points in a losing cause. Neal Flanagan added ten points in the loss.
- Saturday, 14 January 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Sports