“We knew they like to dump (the ball) inside, and we felt we could defend that,” said Andrew Holmes.
“They have big guys, and they’re well coached,” said Bethlehem coach A.G. Irons. “John (Sica) got pushed around a bit, but he wasn’t the only reason why we lost.”
Eventually, the long-range shots dried up for Bethlehem. Morelli didn’t score another point after halftime, despite his best efforts to take the ball to the basket when he stopped making three-pointers. Kane netted 11 of his game-high 21 points in the second half, but that also represented more than half of Bethlehem’s output.
“Our defensive effort was very good tonight. We limited a team that averages more than 60 points per game to under that,” said Irons. “But their defensive effort was very good, too.”
Bethlehem jumped out to an 18-11 lead in the first quarter and had a 40-33 advantage in the third quarter before Shaker went on a 12-0 run to pull ahead 45-40.
The Blue Bison went cold through the first four minutes of the fourth quarter, which helped Bethlehem chip away and take the lead on Kane’s fourth three-pointer of the night. Holmes made two free throws to give Shaker a 52-51 advantage, but Kane took it right back for Bethlehem with a jump shot.
Holmes went back to the foul line a short time later, and he delivered with two free throws to put Shaker back in the lead. Morrison put back a missed shot with 20 seconds left to extend the Blue Bison’s advantage to 56-53, and Holmes made a free throw with 3.3 seconds left to seal Shaker’s victory.
Landers contributed 15 points, and Morrison added 13 points for the Blue Bison, who pulled even with Bethlehem for the best record in the Suburban Council.
“We couldn’t afford to lose another out-of-division game,” said coach Holmes. “If we lost another out-of-division game, we might not have home court advantage for the playoffs.”