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Ortale (20) leads four in double figures as Eagles overcome 36-point effort from King
Bethlehem’s Justin Barnes, right, has 14 of his 16 points in the second half and Bethlehem beats CBA in Suburban Council play.
Balance can sometimes be frowned upon as boring and bland. Balance from the Bethlehem boys’ basketball team Friday night, on offense and defense, proved exciting and worthy of victory against Christian Brothers Academy.
Four players from the Eagles scored in double figures and the visitors were vastly more efficient at both ends of the floor during the final quarter to help secure a 62-54 win at Ned Mcgraw Gymnasium.
Bethlehem’s balance and steady play — the Eagles made 11 of 21 shots in the first half and 11 of 22 shots in the second half — helped offset a superlative performance by CBA junior point guard Jordan King.
But King went just 2-for-8 from the field in the fourth quarter, finishing 13-for-27 shooting overall in scoring 36 points. The rest of the Brothers combined to connect on just 5 of 26 attempts (19.2 percent) from the field.
“Late in a game, when one guy is scoring all of their points, it is going to show at the end. He can’t keep that up all game,” Bethlehem senior guard Michael Ortale said of King. “(CBA) is one of the best teams in the section. We had to come in and just do our thing.”
“We wanted to keep pressuring him and tire him out,” Bethlehem coach A.G. Irons said. “He was unbelievable, making some tough shots. He is very good. We changed some things, knowing that he has to look for his (offense) in order for them to be successful. We started hedging on things. It didn’t help that much, but we also figured at some point he would go cold.
“Our game plan was not to allow him to score that much, but with our experience, senior
leadership and some big baskets late, we got the win.”
“Guys were doing what they needed to do. We played hard and finished strong,” Bethlehem senior guard Jake Laclair said. “When this game came up, we knew we needed it. Now that we’ve got it, we’re looking forward to playing Saratoga.”
The Eagles (12-0, 8-0 league) will next take on Saratoga (11-0, 8-0) on Tuesday at home for the Blue Division lead. The Blue Streaks remained undefeated Friday with a 67-57 decision over Niskayuna.
When informed Bethlehem and Saratoga were set to collide Tuesday, King said, ‘That is definitely going to be a hard fight. I am not going to predict who is going to win. They are both good teams. That one is definitely going to be good.”
King, despite being under the weather Friday, sure was exceptional. He tallied 22 points (on 7-for-13 shooting) in the first half as the Brothers led 30-29 at the break.
King drained two 3-pointers late in the third quarter to extend CBA’S lead to 49-44, but Ortale (20 points, 11 rebounds, three assists) buried a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to two points entering the fourth quarter.
Bethlehem senior point guard Justin Barnes, who scored 14 of his 16 points after intermission, opened the final quarter with a drive and conversion. Erik Salo (11 points, 11 rebounds) then converted a feed from Laclair to put the Eagles up 51-49.
After King scored on a drive on which he converted with his left hand, Bethlehem junior reserve guard Will Davis delivered a three-point play and, following a King miss, Ortale threw a skip pass out of a double-team to Barnes, who drained a 3-pointer for a 57-51 advantage.
“That was huge,” Laclair said. “We were down most of the game, but needed that and were able to finish it off.”
“The Barnes kid had a good game. He hit some good shots and we lost him a couple of times that really hurt us,” CBA coach Dave Doemel said. “We can’t do that.
“I thought we played pretty solid early and through the third quarter,” Doemel added. “In the fourth quarter, we kind of drifted a little bit.”
The Brothers (6-4, 4-4) connected on only 2 of 14 shots during the fourth quarter in dropping their third straight game.
“In the fourth quarter, we’ve got make more shots. That is my fault. I’ve got to get the guys going earlier to be prepared for the fourth,” King said. “This is a game we take to practice the next day. We need to work even harder and improve even more so we can win close games like this in the sectionals.”
Bethlehem’s Michael Ortale goes in for a layup against CBA on Friday. Ortale added 11 rebounds and three assists to his 20-point outing.
CBA’S Jordan King was 13-for-27 from the field on Friday, but was held to 2-for-8 shooting in the fourth quarter.