Trojans rally, top BC boys
All Bethlehem Catholic boys’ basketball coach Ray Barbosa could do after the Hawks’ last minute 58-56 loss to Greater Nanticoke in the first round of the PIAA state playoffs last Saturday afternoon was shake his head.
“They scored 30 points in the fourth quarter. Our defense has to be better than that,” Barbosa said. “We can’t give up 30 points in one quarter. We can’t do that.”
A lot happened in the last minute, but by then, the Trojans were well on their way to scoring those 30 points that Barbosa could barely wrap his head around.
With Becahi leading 51-45, Cody Piestrak hit a three pointer for Greater Nanticoke, and Patrick Caesar scored two more points for the Trojans, pulling them to within one point of the Hawks.
Becahi then turned over the ball on a hard pass that was deflected and went out of bounds, and Piestrak was fouled and sank two free throws to take the lead from the Hawks.
Rich Wiaterowski also sank two free throws for the Trojans, and with 12 seconds remaining, Nate Kreitzer had a steal, was fouled, and made two free throws of his own.
“I saw some flashes,” laughed Kreitzer, regarding the pressure of making the foul shots. “We just kept pushing, and this is amazing because we knew if we could stick together, we could win, and because this is the first time we made states since 2003.”
A last second three pointer by Becahi’s William Melson left the Hawks three points short of a state playoff victory.
“Down the stretch, we did not play well at all,” Barbosa said. “We had defensive breakdowns.”
The Hawks led 40-28 heading into the fourth quarter, but Greater Nanticoke poured on the threes by Kreitzer, Piestrak, and Luke Butczynski to chip away at Becahi’s lead fast.
Both teams were fairly even in the first quarter until Ryan Young, Darreon Robinson, Jordan Odle, and Justin Paz combined for eight straight points for the Hawks in the second. Becahi proceeded to hold the Trojans to six points in the third quarter, a combination of shots not falling for Greater Nanticoke and a well-timed forced turnover created by Melson.
“We knew they were a good team. When you’re in the tournament, every team is going to be good,” Barbosa said.
“Sometimes, you don’t win a game that you should.”