Boys Varsity Basketball
The Colonial Forge Boys Basketball team faced their first MUST WIN situation in over two years head on. . The Eagles were in the midst of a 2 game losing streak after running off 10 straight wins coming out of the Christmas holiday break. A loss to Freedom would have sent the GREEN to the 5th seed in the Conference 4 Tournament, a win sealed them into the 2nd seed for this coming weeks post season.
The Eagles took that challenge well, and after making an early statement, put it together as a team, beating Freedom 55-46 to seal that all important second spot.
The Forge was led by sophomore iron man Troy Bernal who dropped in 16 as Clarence Miles, Josh Sarratt and James Shellington contributed 14, 11 and 10 in the win.
The GREEN came out EN FUEGO in the most important game of the season, hitting 5 of their first six shots of the game, including 2 from BULLS-EYE range from Miles to grab a 12-2 lead with 5:02 left in the opening quarter.
After a Freedom time out the Forge hit a bit of a lull on the offensive end scoring just two points over the final 5 minutes getting just a driving layup by Senior Carion Eaton late in the quarter. The good news about that scenario was that Freedom could only muster six points in that frame themselves. The “good guys” went to the bench at the end of the first quarter 14-8.
The start of the second quarter was a carbon copy of the first as the Eagles scored on their first six possessions. Many Forge points came each time they took the ball out under their own basket. Multiple times the GREEN got easy lay-ups on out of bounds plays right under the hoop, on plays the home team had no answer for. Late in the quarter Senior Clarence Miles found the bank was open on Saturday as he drove left of the lane and put on a 360 spin move, adding a left handed scoop shot off the window to put the Forge up 25-14 with 5:01 left in the first half.
After the timeout and a Freedom missed shot, the Forge turned the ball over, but on their next five possessions they scored sharing the basketball and getting easy lay-ups to put themselves ahead 37-21 heading to the locker room at halftime.
In the third quarter the “good guys” caught another lull on the offensive end as they failed to handle some Freedom pressure well. The boys of “Johns-town” committed nine turnovers in the quarter and the home team went on a bit of a run cutting the lead at the end of the quarter to eleven at 42-31.
Pressure problems continued in the final quarter for the Forge as their first two possessions of the period resulted in turnovers. When Freedom cut the lead to 42-35, Forge Head Coach Jason John called a quick timeout with 6:45 left to talk it over. The talk worked as coming out of the T.O. The GREEN found Troy Bernal driving to the bucket for a quick two and it seemed to right the ship putting the Forge up 44-35.
On the visitors next possession, Eaton got tied up with a Freedom player fighting for a rebound, prompting a jump ball call. Just as the whistle was blown Eaton appeared to use the basketball to force the Freedom player to the floor and was whistled for a technical foul. Freedom could not gain any momentum from the flurry as they missed both free throws and then another shot on possession. Two free throws by Josh Sarratt ended the flurry with the Forge ahead 46-35 with 5:35 left in the contest.
Freedom could not muster another threat and the final nail in their coffin came when Miles came out of the left corner on a drive to the goal. He flipped up a wild shot and fell to the floor. Sitting on his wallet, he stole the ball and made a quick flip to Bernal putting the “good guys” ahead 50-37 with under 3 minutes left. The home team got two quick threes in the final minute but it was too little too late to stop the Forge from claiming the victory and #2 seed in the Conference Tournament.
That tournament will open up for the GREEN on Tuesday night when they host Gar-Field @ 7:30pm in “Johnstown”. Prior to that game the Eagle Girls team will take on the Forest Park Bruins in their first round match-up of their tournament.