Photo credits to Bob Dahlberg
On Friday night, the boys’ basketball team bounced back from their first loss of the season with a close win against the Burlingame Panthers. Despite a surge in the second half from Burlingame, the Bears held on for a 44-40 win.
After the game, senior Justin Moore said, “Going forward we have to bring more intensity on defense, especially in the second half, and offensively we have to be more comfortable playing against zone defense.”
The game started off with a bang as senior Jack Anderson slammed home a dunk to get M-A on the board. After an M-A free throw by senior Jonah Missan, junior Trevor Cadigan connected on a three-pointer to give the Bears an early 6-0 lead.
A heavy push from M-A—including another basket from Anderson and a steal from Missan—put the Bears ahead with a score of 12-7 to wrap up the first quarter.
M-A’s defense held Burlingame to only seven points in each of the first two quarters, the Panthers only finding their rhythm on offense as the half continued. A three-pointer from senior Ben Timm and another dunk by Anderson extended the M-A lead to nine, before a second three-pointer by Cadigan and an emphatic dunk by Moore left the score at 27-14 in favor of M-A heading into halftime.
The Panthers came out in the second half playing a very constricted zone defense, which gave M-A trouble offensively throughout the rest of the game. Missan said, “They were compressing their zone and leaving our shooters open, and we couldn’t hit our shots, but down the stretch we were able to penetrate the paint and get layups through their zone.”
The Panthers also started sinking more shots, scoring 13 points in the third quarter, after scoring only 14 in the first half. However, a crafty spinning layup by sophomore Jacob Sutton and a three-pointer from Moore kept the Bears on top by eight going into the final quarter.
The Bears were looking to close Burlingame out as the fourth quarter started, but the Panthers’ stellar shooting kept them hot on M-A’s tail. After making a three-pointer followed by a steal and layup, the Panthers had suddenly cut their deficit to just four points with 2:30 left in the game.
Burlingame’s zone defense continued to pressure M-A down the stretch, as they were held to just seven fourth-quarter points.
M-A had a 42-40 lead with eight seconds left when the Panthers purposefully fouled and sent sophomore Jerry Williams to shoot two free throws.
Williams later described the moment, saying, “It was nerve-wracking, and I could hear the noise until I got the ball, and then everything suddenly just got blocked out.”
Williams sank both free throws, neither even touching the rim, and secured the 44-40 victory for M-A.