Bears Outlast Eagles in Double-Overtime Thriller

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Patchogue, N.Y.—The St. Joseph's College annual "East vs. West" contest Friday night was as close as they come. Both East (Long Island) and West (Brooklyn) teams put on a show for the overflowing stands of the John A. Danzi gymnasium, matching each other's score at every turn. After ten minutes of extra play in double-overtime, the Golden Eagles (1-5) fell to the Bears (7-3), 90-87.

Sean McCarthy (Kings Park, N.Y./ Kings Park) was the first of the night to light up the scoreboard with a three-point jumper in the first minute of the game. McCarthy's defensive rebound shortly after resulted in a layup by Cody Loshen (Centereach, N.Y./ Centereach) off of an assist by Keith Anderson (Central Islip, N.Y./ North Babylon). Brooklyn bounced back from this early punch with ease though and quickly tied the score, maintaining a relatively balanced tally for the remainder of the half. Down by three with a minute left, the ball found Eagles' Wade Richardson (Copaigue, N.Y./ Copaigue) who's three-point jumper put the last three points on the board for the first half and created the first tie of the night.

The second half began in a familiar fashion, both teams matching each other point for point, however, with 11 minutes left in regulation play, the Brooklyn Bears began to pull away. Three layups, two free throws and a three pointer later, the Bears turned a one-point game into a ten-point spread with seven minutes left.

The Eagles weren't done playing though and slowly battled back; two three's and a layup from Richardson coupled with two free throws from Anderson brought the team even with Brooklyn at 63-63 with two minutes left in the game. Evan Mohammed's (Bayside, N.Y./ Holy Cross) three-pointer mere seconds later put the Eagles up by three, a lead that the Bears quickly made up for, ending regulation at an even 66-66.

The "brother" teams played like twins, again matching each other step-for-step in the first overtime session. Both the Bears and Eagles seemed to pick up their intensity as the game went on, hitting shots that they had had trouble hitting earlier in the game.

Free throws quickly became a game changer with both teams in the double bonus round of fouls. St. Joseph's had five players on the bench after fouling out earlier in the game, four of them starters, and Brooklyn had one player foul out as well. Brooklyn's Vernon Maddox seemed to be ice on the foul line, sinking two with twenty seconds left to put them up by four points.

Absolutely refusing to quit, Eagles' Phil Calixte (Amityville, N.Y./ Holy Trinity) sunk a free throw eight seconds later bringing the game within three. Against all expectations, Vernon Maddox missed two free throws after being fouled in an attempt to stop the clock and Evan Mohammed took full advantage of this opportunity. With nine seconds left Mohammed grabbed the defensive rebound off the second miss, flew down the court and hit a three-point jumper just as the buzzer sounded. His three-pointer tied the game for the third time of the night…and the crowd went wild.

The second overtime ended with a definite winner as Maddox regained his composure on the foul line and sunk the two free throws that put the Bears up by three. The Eagles couldn't find a way to come back from this deficit with ten seconds left and the game ended in a Brooklyn victory, 90-87.

Mohammad led the Eagles with 21 points and seven rebounds; Keith Anderson contributed 15 points and a solid 14 rebounds while Phil Calixte came away with 15 points and seven rebounds. Wade Richardson and Jordan Kowalski (North Babylon, N.Y./ North Babylon) chipped in with 13 and ten points respectively.

The Bears win was their first over the Eagles in five "East vs. West" meetings and the first victory for the Brooklyn sqaud against the Long Islanders in over 10 years.

The Eagles will host Yeshiva in a Skyline Conference game on Sunday, December 9th at 2 p.m.