Bedford and Burlington High Schools tap off to begin a four-team holiday basketball tournament at Tewksbury Memorial High School at 5 p.m. on Thursday.
Burlington enters the game 1-3, the lone win a trouncing of Lexington. Bedford is undefeated after three games, although the most recent victory turned out to be a seat-squirmer.
The Bucs beat Newton South at home on Friday, 58-52. They broke a close game open in the third quarter, outscoring South 19-7, and then withstood a 15-0 run by the Lions.
“We always talk about dealing with adversity,” said Head Coach Anthony Halls after the game.
The adversity began with the news that Camdyn Shoesmith, averaging 21 points per game over the first two contests, was out with an illness. And for 16 minutes Bedford struggled offensively, leading by only 22-20 at halftime.
Two quick baskets by sophomore Mekhi Volcy – the second a conventional three-point play – triggered the Bucs big third quarter. Five minutes in, they had outscored Newton South 10-1, and the lead was 14 after three quarters.
A minute into the fourth quarter, the Bucs achieved their largest lead, 45-27. And then Newton South combined sharp shooting with a spate of Bedford turnovers to explode on a 15-0 run over the next four-and-a-half minutes. The lead was just four points, 61-47, with 1:34 showing on the game clock.
That’s when the Bucs finally put the game away. Senior Jameson Baer made it a three-possession game with a banked trifecta from the top of the arc. After a stop, Baer went to the line and converted one free throw for a 55-47 lead with 53 seconds to play. Hall was delighted to note that the Bucs converted 16 of 19 foul shots.
The scoring was spread among five players, led by Baer and Volcy with 15 each. Justice Buchannan had 12 and Justin Liberman 10. Keston Paul, a junior, saw his first meaningful minutes off the bench and contributed six timely points, three rebounds, and an assist.
Bedford was outrebounded by the Lions, 31-23. The Lions committed 19 turnovers, but only three in the fourth period when they made their run. Bedford turned the ball over 13 times, but only seven through the first three periods.