The Bedford High School Buccaneers, now 5-0 on the season, passed a big test late Wednesday afternoon in a girls’ basketball battle at the BHS gymnasium.
They blew a big lead and fell behind by as many as six points, then rallied to outscore the Burlington Red Devils 15-2 down the stretch to win 45-38.
This game was supposed to be the opener of the Waltham High School holiday tournament. But Covid cases have forced the suspension of the Waltham season, at least for this week, so the contest was moved. On Thursday the Bedford girls travel to Stoughton High, the fourth team in the original Waltham lineup.
Bedford, led by junior Marina Greaney, seemed to have control of Wednesday’s game, turning a 10-7 lead after one period to 21-14 at the half. But Coach Ashley Kepaa wasn’t satisfied with the offense.
“I credit that in part to Burlington’s defensive strategy,” she said. The Devils’ veteran Coach Pam MacKay “is a great coach with over 10 years at the school, so I knew she would show us something that would challenge us. “
It was a game of runs. Bedford led by 10 midway through the third quarter, but by just 30-29 when the period ended. Then the Red Devils scored seven straight points in the first 90 seconds of the fourth quarter to take a 36-30 lead, the Bucs’ largest deficit of the season.
It didn’t last long. The defense settled down and held Burlington to one basket for the remainder of the game. Sophomore Maddie Tierney came off the bench to buy a pair of three-point bombs, sandwiched around an Allie Zorn layup on a feed from Sydney Poor, and the Bucs were back in front, 38-36, with about four minutes to go.
The score was tied at 38 with a little more than three minutes on the clock, and that’s when Bedford sealed the win with a 7-0 run. Greaney drove the baseline and scored her 18th point, Poor dived to corral a desperation pass at the other end, and then it was Tierney time again: she banked in a three-pointer from the top of the circle, and the lead was five.
Poor finished the scoring on a give-and-go underneath from Cassie Morrison. Burlington couldn’t even put the Bucs on the line because the Devils only had two team fouls. By the time they got the total to nix there were 20 seconds remaining.
“In the fourth quarter, the girls started to play like the team I know,” Kepaa said. “They were making the right plays, being offensively aggressive, and down the stretch made defensive plays that we were able to convert on the offense.”
Greaney, using her height advantage but also hitting a couple of outside shots, led all scorers with 18 and added seven steals and five rebounds. Tierney had nine — the three trifectas at crunch time. “That swung the momentum at very significant times,” the coach commented., Allie Zorn added eight points and four steals; Cassie Morrison had her usual batch of offensive rebounds – six this time.
The Red Devils were led by a freshman sharpshooter, Savanna Scali. She finished with 15, hitting three times from outside the arc. The two teams combined for just three free throws in six attempts.
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at [email protected], or 781-983-1763