Boys Basketball: Bishop’s ekes out overtime win against Country Day, 56-55


The Bishop’s School Knights 56, La Jolla Country Day Torreys 55

By Ed Piper

Stephen Thomson made one of two free throws with 0.3 seconds left in overtime to give The Bishop’s School Knights a 56-55 victory over the La Jolla Country Day School Torreys in a Coastal South League game at home Feb. 5.

Thomson, a sophomore guard, was immediately mobbed by the student cheering section, whose members swarmed onto the court after Country Day’s long pass at the buzzer fizzled.

Sahil Sheth had made a 3-point shot as the clock ran out in regulation time to tie the game 51-51 and send it into the overtime, setting up Thomson’s opportunity.

“I’m just excited. It’s unreal,” a dazed Thomson said right after escaping the Knight student body’s jostling and jumping. He missed the first of the two free throws. “I knew my teammates believed in me. I was just shooting 50 percent, so ...”

As a result of the narrow win, Bishop’s got back into a healthier position in the Coastal South League, where the Knights had been 1-3 in their first four games.

The win against cross-town rival LJCD got them off the mat.

Another Matt, senior guard Matt Lizanich, fouled out with 4:13 remaining in regulation time to even make Thomson’s presence in the overtime possible. The other starting guard, Eric Yu, committed his fourth foul in the third quarter with 2:48 left. Bishop’s coach Matt Niehues chose to keep both starters in the game despite the foul trouble, come what may.

Sheth commented on his tying shot at the end of regulation: “We just had to hit a three. We were looking for a quick layup, but I didn’t think we were gonna get it. So I got the ball. I had made two earlier today. I had missed the two before that, but I knew that this one was going to go in.”

Sheth made a turnover in overtime, losing control of the ball and then stepping on the sideline while trying to recover it: “I grinded my teeth quite a bit. But I knew that we were going to pull it off, and then Stephen stepped up, and he made it. The biggest free throw of his life.”

Said Sheth, a sophomore like Thomson: “We dropped three in a row (league and non-league games), and we needed one and we got it. We got off the shy, as Coach (Matt Niehues) likes to say.”

Thomson: “This came off losing two of three (in league), so it turns our entire season around.” Bishop’s lost at Parker, 54- 50, Feb. 7, moving to 2-4 in league, 11-9 overall, while be ranked seventh in CIF.

Country Day dropped to 0-6 in league play, 8-13 overall after a 44-42 loss at Santa Fe Christian Feb. 7.

Before the Bishop’s game, LJCD coach Ryan Meier commented: “We need to be better defenders. We’re really focused on, with a young group, becoming better defenders. I’m not so worried now on the offensive end. Our defense will feed what we do offensively. But right now we’re so bad defensively, we need to get better.”

LJCD looked fairly effective against Bishop’s and brought it early, leading 19-13 early in the second quarter. Country Day scored 11 straight points ending the third quarter and beginning the fourth to lead 43- 37, but couldn’t hold the lead.

Meier said he remains impressed with the play of his freshman guard, Josiah Esselstrom.

■ Next Up: Bishop’s hosts Army-Navy 6 p.m. Feb. 12, and Santa Fe Christian 7:30 p.m., Feb. 14. Country Day hosts Parker 7:30 p.m. Feb. 12, and travels to Horizon Feb. 14, for a 7:30 p.m. game.

■ Scoring — La Jolla Country Day School: Burmeister 12, Perry 10, Edwards 10, Esselstrom 9, Hayes 7, Mariucci 5, Weber 2, Yandel 0. The Bishop’s School: Sheth 18, Woodley 13, Lizanich 10, Yu 8, Dempsey 2, Thomson 3, Meyer 0. 3-point goals: Sheth 3-8, Lizanich 2-7. Rebounds: Sheth 12, Woodley 7, Yu 4.

Assists: Lizanich 2, Yu 2. Steals: Woodley 2, Yu 2.