Our Briarcliff Bears took on the Horace Greeley (Chappaqua) Quakers on Wednesday, December 11th, marking Briarcliff’s first game against a team in its league. Briarcliff started out a bit sluggish, trailing 16-11 after the first quarter. After asking coach Moffet about his team’s slow start, he said, “We started out slow. We were down 14-7 at the very start.” Briarcliff shot just 38% from the floor in the first quarter, which was a big reason why they fell behind, along with a lack of defense.
The second quarter began and in came freshman Jack Reish. Reish played the role of the energizer with his strong play off the bench. That helped give the Bears the lead. Reish had the team’s first two field goals of the quarter to go along with a couple of rebounds and steals as well. Coach Moffet described the Bears’ second quarter success by saying, “We woke up and started setting good screens and definitely took care of the ball a lot better. Our defense was the biggest thing. 16 points in the first quarter was just unacceptable. Our defense led to our offense.” The bears shot a much-improved 45% in the second quarter, but the awakening on the defensive end led to a 37-35 halftime lead.
The Bears brought the defense again, as Alquan Phillip registered 2 steals in the third quarter alone. What coach described as “the defense leading to offense” was spot on, as the strong defense led to quality points by Alquan Phillip, Malik White, Sean Crowley and Josiah “Jo-Jo” Cobbs. As a result, Briarcliff shot 40% and carried the lead into the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter was hard-fought by both teams. The Quakers got in early foul trouble as a team, as Briarcliff was already in the bonus two minutes into the fourth quarter. Because of all the free throws attempted, Briarcliff shot 50% on only 6 attempts from the field. Briarcliff had some trouble at the line though, as they were just unable to hit that one free throw to bury the Quakers hopes of winning. Finally, on a key possession for Horace Greeley, Sean Crowley took a charging foul in the paint. This sent Briarcliff to the line where Crowley made one of two free throws, which was just enough to put the game just out of reach for a Greeley comeback. Briarcliff finished off Greeley, winning 56-50.
Briarcliff’s leading scorer was Alquan Phillip with 11 points. Sean Crowley and Malik White both had 10. For Horace Greeley, Cameron Ciero led the team in points with 14.