On Friday night, the Briarcliff Bears boys’ varsity basketball team took on the Westlake Wildcats in a huge league game. The Bears had a two-point lead after the first quarter, leading 14-12. The bears shot a pedestrian 39% from the field to Westlake’s 42%. The Bears somehow managed to sneak out a lead after the first quarter, despite not shooting as well as their opponent.
Both teams came back onto the court, ready for the second quarter. For the Bears, the second quarter was a mere disaster, shooting 22% to Westlake’s 55%. The Bears scored four points the entire quarter and went into halftime facing a 27-18 deficit. Coach Cody Moffit explained “We weren’t playing as a team in the first half.” It was apparent that they needed to change things up coming o
ut of the gate in the second half.
Things didn’t get much any better after halftime, as Briarcliff kept handing open threes to Westlake’s consistent shooters. Briarcliff shot 38% from the field in the third quarter, but what killed the Bears was that Westlake shot an unreal 71%. The Bears found themselves down by 13 after the third quarter.
Between the third and fourth quarters, Briarcliff High School and the rest of the game’s attendants honored senior Matthew Rundback, who has been fighting leukemia for over a year. It was a very nice tribute, as students started chanting his name. The National Honor Society also sold orange bracelets that said ‘Go Bears!’ on them. Each bracelet was sold for two dollars, $475 was raised that night, and all money will be donated to the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation.
The fourth quarter started out with Briarcliff in foul trouble. Westlake spent a lot of time at the free throw line, and wasn’t making the free throws that could’ve put the Bears to sleep. Westlake shot just 3 of 7 in the fourth, Briarcliff shot 38% again. Freshman Jack Reish had a momentous fourth quarter, as he helped bring the Bears back from 13 points down. Reish hit a ginormous three-pointer, which brought the Briarcliff crowd into a massive eruption, as it put the bears within striking distance. The Bears would tie it up shortly after, but Westlake hit a huge three to put them back on top. It was a very deflating moment for Briarcliff’s players and the crowd. The Bears had more than enough time to run a play. They inbounded the ball down by 3. Jackson Wexler came off a screen to receive the ball for a three. The shot was not there, so Wexler passed the ball off to forward Jeff Blair who hit a strongly contested fade-away three to tie the game. The crowd got back on its feet. Westlake missed a half court shot and the game went to overtime.
The overtime was a story of defense. Briarcliff took only 4 shots from the floor and made 2, as they spent a lot of time at the free throw line. For Westlake, Briarcliff brought the defense, as the Wildcats shot a porous 17%. Briarcliff pulled the game out, by a final score of 61-58. Jack Reish led the bears with 16 points, Junior Alquan Phillip added 12, and Sean Crowley scored 10. For the Westlake Wildcats, Jesse Boyce had a strong outing, going for 25 in a losing effort. Congratulations to the Bears on a tremendous win!