Bay Area Christian had a pair of key runs in the second and third quarter, and then fended off a spirited fourth-quarter comeback try from O’Connell, as the Broncos defeated the Buccaneers, 58-52, at home Monday.
Making Bay Area Christian’s win even more impressive was the fact that multiple key players had just barely returned to the court from the gridiron after Friday’s state semifinal football game.
“The team has just meshed together in one game, so the chemistry is just phenomenal,” Broncos head coach Tim Sharer said. “That’s senior leadership right there.”
Leading 19-16 early in the second quarter, the Broncos went on a 10-2 run capped by back-to-back buckets from Matthew Hopper to open up a double-digit lead, and Bay Area Christian held a 36-25 lead at halftime.
Bay Area Christian scored six unanswered points to end the third quarter with its largest lead of the game at 47-30.
In the fourth quarter, the Bucs worked to chip away at the Broncos’ sizable lead. An and-one converted by Joseph Orrell got O’Connell back within single digits at 48-40 midway through the final period. A Chris Horton 3-pointer got the Broncos’ lead down to 55-49 with 43.6 second left to play and barely missed on another that would’ve got the lead down to two points.
“When we made that run to come back, we finally showed some composure,” Bucs head coach Derek Martin said. “We’ve had a few games like this where we’ve shot ourselves in the foot because we have moments in games where we lose our composure and we try to force things that aren’t there. But, when we actually settle down, run our system and have some composure, we can be a pretty darn good team.”
But, the Broncos were able to close out the win by making enough free throws down the stretch, and Mike Morris emphatically put the game on ice with a rim-rattling slam dunk that fired up both the team and the home crowd.
To each team’s credit, both sides showed composure in a highly physical game where the teams combined for 59 fouls.
Nico Hinson had 14 points and Morris had 12 points and 12 rebounds to lead Bay Area Christian. Orrell poured in a game-high 24 points to lead O’Connell, while Christian Quinn added nine points.
Both teams will be in tournament action Thursday through Saturday. The Broncos will be at Grace Preparatory Academy in Arlington, while O’Connell hosts its Gulf Coast Classic tournament.