By Michael Ragovin
The Bishop’s School Knights and Horizon Christian Academy Panthers squared off on Friday, Feb. 8 on the Knights’ home court. The Knights trailed most of the game, but made a push in the fourth quarter, and eventually fell by only two points as Horizon prevailed 55-53.
With the score tied 4-4 in the first minute of play, Horizon got an offensive rebound and put it back for two. The score was 6-4, Panthers, with 6:55 remaining in the first period. Bishop’s went into a full-court press and Horizon immediately grabbed two rebounds and made two lay ins after traveling the length of floor. Devon Roeper followed with an offensive rebound of her own and scored from under the basket. After a fast break basket by Bishop’s with five minutes left in the first period, Horizon led 12-8. The Panthers stole the ball for an easy layup, and then made two easy lay ins and increased their lead to 18-8. Cynthia Burboa hit a long jumper for three to narrow the gap, 20-11. Burboa then stole the ball and hit Roeper down at the other end, who put it up and in. Soon after, Imani Littleton made a free throw and the first period ended with Horizon leading 20-14.
Bishop’s opened the second quarter with a full-court press, causing an immediate turnover by Horizon, who got an offensive rebound and a steal for four more and the Panthers led 24-14 with six minutes left in the second period. Roeper hit two free throws and Horizon made a three making the score 27-16 at the 3:51 mark. Bishop’s could not take advantage of two lay in opportunities and missed an attempt from behind the arc. Horizon got two easy lay ins after traveling the length of the floor off two steals. After a defensive rebound Bishop’s pushed the ball up the floor quickly for a lay in. Facing a 13-point deficit, Bishop’s trailed 31-18 at end of the second quarter.
The third quarter began with Olivia Erlbeck scoring from under the basket on great pass from Littleton. Bishop’s pressed, got a steal and an easy lay in and was back in the ball game at 31-22. Horizon got three offensive boards (“offensive” in and of itself) and finally put one through the hoop from underneath. Littleton then drove to the basket and had an easy lay in. The score reached 33-24 with 4:57 remaining.
At the 4:53 mark, the Panthers got another offensive rebound and easy lay in. Littleton missed on a short jumper, but converted on two free throws with four minutes left and the score 37-26. Horizon made a free throw and Roeper got a bucket from underneath. The Panthers didn’t capitalize on two offensive rebounds and missed on a three ball. Sierra Ducey made a lay in on a beautiful assist from Erlbeck. Horizon made two free throws, which were met with two free throws by Ducey. With 1:43 left in the third period, it is Horizon 40, Bishops 32. Horizon did not convert on a fast break, however, they got an offensive rebound and scored two more with the period ending 42-32.
The action really picked up in the fourth, which began with Littleton missing on a lay in; however, she was fouled and converted one of two free throws. Roeper scored on a great move to basket with an assist from Littleton. Horizon hit on a jumper from the key and with seven minutes left in the fourth period it was 44-35, Horizon. Littleton once again got involved with a beautiful move to the basket for two and Erlbeck hit on one from downtown for three more. Littleton made one of two from the free throw line, Roeper made two free throws and the Horizon lead is tightened to 44-43 with five minutes remaining.
Horizon scored from under the basket and Burboa hit on a three to tie the score at 46. Erlbeck came right back and knocked down a three and Bishop’s was ahead for the first time at 49-46 with 3:57 left. Horizon drove to the basket for two – was fouled – and made the free throw. The Panthers scored four straight and take the lead 50-49 and there was 2:51 left on the clock. The offensive rebound reared its ugly head once again and Horizon soon took the lead 52-51 with two minutes left in the game. The Panthers got two free throws and the scoreboard read 54-51, Horizon. Littleton put one in from under the basket and we had a 54-53 game with 1:33 left. Horizon scored on a free throw, and while Bishops got the ball with nine seconds left, they couldn’t make it happen. Final Score Horizon 55, Bishops 53.
Dramatically, Bishop’s was down by as many as 15 points. They played poorly under the offensive boards, missed numerous lay ins and their free throw shooting left much to be desired.
In spite of all this adversity, they were right there at the end. They never gave up. They could have folded their tent when they were down by 15 and nothing would have been said. But, they didn’t. A wonderful example of reaching down and giving all you’ve got. This was not a loss for Bishop’s; they just didn’t have as many points on the board as Horizon at the end.