BACA rally denied

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 17, 2003

ASKEWVILLE – A solitary free throw.

That was the difference Saturday afternoon when Bethel Assembly Christian Academy’s varsity boys did battle with Victory Christian School in the finals of the BACA Tip-off Tournament.

David Cratty hit 1 of 2 from the line with 10 seconds left on the clock to stop a furious late rally by the home-standing Bethel club and preserve a 64-63 victory.

The home team did have a last possession, but couldn’t get off a shot to try to get the win.

The rally began with the fourth period, as Cratty started the quarter with a trey that lifted Victory to a 53-47 lead.

A pair of free tosses from tournament Most Valuable Player Patrick Crouse a minute later saw Victory take a 55-48 lead.

Bethel answered on the back of buckets from Jason Thomas and senior John Taylor, but Chris McGronan was good for both shots on consecutive 1-plus-1 opportunities to stretch Victory’s margin back to six (59-53) with just 3:28 to play in the contest.

After a free throw by BACA’s Stephen Miller, three-point sharpshooter Ricky Feher hit the first of his two key treys.

Sophomore Trey Denton went to the line and hit a pair of shots to deadlock the contest at 59-all with 2:13 to play.

Cratty answered for Victory, hitting a pair at the line, but the visiting team’s lead was short-lived as Feher buried another triple to give Bethel a 63-63 advantage, their second lead of the entire contest, with 2:04 to play.

McGronan hit a field goal for victory with 1:19 to go which was answered by a Feher free throw to tie the contest at 63-all with 19 seconds to play and set up Cratty’s game-winner.

The contest began with both teams shooting the lights out as Bethel started the game 8-for-21 from the floor while Victory was 9-for-20.

VCS started the contest with back-to-back field goals from McGronan and Crouse to grab an early 4-0 advantage.

Bethel finally cut into that margin when Webb Hoggard, Taylor and Larry Caldwell hit consecutive shots to give the home team a 10-9 edge.

After an exchange of buckets, Victory’s Nick Woolard buried 1-of-2 from the line to deadlock the game at 12-all.

The next two minutes could well have been described as a clinic put on by Crouse as the junior guard rolled off 12 consecutive points for his team stopped by only a Taylor bucket for BACA.

The result was a 24-14 lead for Victory. From there, Bethel outscored Victory 7-5 the rest of the first period to trim Victory’s lead to 29-21.

As hot as each team had been in the first, they were that cold in the second with Victory shooting 15 percent (2-of-13) from the floor while Bethel was a little better at 4-for-14 or 29 percent.

After trading hoops for the opening three minutes of the quarter, Bethel rolled off eight of the final 10 points to trail only 36-33 at the intermission.

Denton was the key person on offense for BACA as he scored a field goal and four free throws while Thomas added a bucket.

Victory was able to open up their margin late in the third quarter thanks to a field goal and three-pointer from Crouse followed by a free throw from McGronan.

Denton answered in the closing minute of the quarter for BACA as he hit back-to-back hoops to establish the 50-47 margin Bethel trailed by heading into the fourth.

&uot;I was pleased with our play,&uot; veteran hoops coach Joe Mizelle said. &uot;We will get to see them again and I’m looking forward to it.&uot;

Mizelle said he was pleased with the play of Feher down the stretch.

&uot;He came in and gave us a couple of good shots to get us back in it,&uot; the coach said. &uot;I wanted him to take the last shot for us, but we just didn’t get the ball to him.&uot;

Victory (64)

Patrick Crouse – 26, David Cratty – 18, Chris McGronan – 17, J. Crouse – 2, N. Woolard – 1

Bethel (63)

Trey Denton – 24, John Taylor – 10, S. Miller – 9,R. Feher – 7, W. Hoggard – 6, F. Feher – 5, L. Caldwell – 2

In Saturday’s semi-final action, Bethel cruised to a 63-34 victory over Fellowship Christian Academy.

Webb Hoggard paced the Eagles, pulling down a double-double with 15 points and 19 rebounds.

Bethel jumped out to an early 14-7 lead by the end of the first period and led 22-14 at the half.

The third quarter was the one that saw the Eagles pull away from the Lions as they outscored them 19-7 in that period.

Trey Denton also had a big game for the home team as he scored 14 points while grabbing four steals.

Rounding out the scoring for Bethel were Stephen Miller (9), John Taylor (8 points, 11 rebounds), Frank Feher (6), Jason Thomas (4), Ricky Feher (4) and Travis Jackson (3).

Daniel Spaulding led the way for Fellowship with 19 points.