BBA falls in back-and-forth contest

MANCHESTER — In a game that had more than 20 lead changes and no team led by more than nine, the Burr and Burton boys basketball team fell to South Burlington, 71-67, in the Bulldogs' home opener on Friday night.

Tied at 61-61 with 2:54 left, South Burlington's Brendan Bridge hit a three-pointer and was fouled on the ground after the shot, giving him two free throws on top of the made field goal.

Bridge then hit both free throws to give the Wolves a 66-61 lead.

"It was demoralizing," said BBA coach Eric Green. "We have to close out better, we can't just run and jump [at shooters]. "We work on that in practice for plays like that. Technically it was the right call."

Jay McCoy hit a pair of free throws a couple minutes later to pull BBA within 67-65 and after Hakeem Fuad made 1-of-2 at the line, Jake Nicholson scored on a floater to make it 68-67.

On the next possession, Evan Parker made 1-of-2 for the Wolves and a tying three was short on the other end for the Bulldogs.

McCoy led the Bulldogs with 21 points, while Nicholson had 20 points. South Burlington was led by Ethan Klesch's 21 and Bridge's 19.

The game was back and forth throughout as each team pressed to start. Bryce Little scored the first eight points of the game for the Bulldogs, but on the other side, Ethan Klesch had eight of his own as South Burlington took a 17-16 lead after the first quarter.

In the second quarter, River DeFelice had a pair of free throws to give BBA a 29-24 lead with two minutes left in the half and they led by two at the break.

South Burlington came out firing in the third quarter, scoring the first 11 points of the frame to take command with a 39-30 lead, forcing BBA coach Eric Green to take a timeout to regroup.

"As a coaching staff, I said, we need to challenge them," said South Burlington coach Sol Bayer-Pacht. "I wanted to see if they can win a game playing man-to-man defense. We do a lot of pressing and the zone, the trapping. [BBA] is a good team, they have good shooters, picking apart our pressure, we have to work on our defense."

McCoy and Nicholson helped BBA come back, Nicholson hitting one of his four 3-pointers to cut the lead to 43-35. At the end of the third, McCoy hit a layup to make it 47-39 and he was fouled on the play. On the free throw attempt, McCoy missed but got his own rebound as the clock ran out in the quarter to send it to the fourth at 47-41 South Burlington.

"We have to have a little more poise to start [the second half]," Green said.

Nicholson drained another triple on the first possession of the fourth quarter and McCoy added another layup to cut the lead to one with 7:20 to go.

Burr and Burton is 3-3 on the year, while South Burlington improves to 5-1. BBA travels to St. Johnsbury on Jan. 20 for a 2:30 p.m. start.

"I think we made a case for what we can be," Green said.


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