Bristol Buzzer-Beater Forces OT, Cougars Come Up Short in Bonus Time
HOLYOKE, MA - Trailing at halftime, the Cougars staged a second-half comeback last night against the Bee's of Bristol Community College. With a 2 point lead in the final seconds of regulation, Holyoke Community fell victim to a Bristol buzzer-beater that sent the game into overtime. HCC would lose to Bristol in what was by far the most entertaining game People's Bank Gymnasium has seen this season.
The contest was close early in the first half as the Bee's led 11-8 with 5 minutes gone by and then 18-15 at the 10 minute mark. Bristol would increase their lead to 12 (39-27) by halftime and enter the locker room with what seemed like a comfortable advantage. Freshman guard Kareem White (Springfield) led the Cougars with 9 first half points off the bench.
The Bee's would turn the ball over on 3 of their first 4 second half possesions with the Cougars converting 2 of those turnovers into points, causing Bristol to take a time out 2 minutes and 29 seconds into the half (39-31). HCC put together a 10-0 run to begin the second half of play, which came to an end on a Bristol free throw with 14 minutes remaining (40-37). A floater in the lane by freshman guard Ruben Delrosario (Springfield) gave Holyoke their first lead since the opening minutes of the game. It took Bristol until the 12:38 mark to convert their first field goal of the second half.
The Cougar energy level remained high throughout the second half as they would re-gain the lead on a Delrosario 3-pointer with 8:18 on the clock (50-49). Two fast break lay-ups would give the lead back to Bristol before sophomore guard Carlos Ortiz (Hamden) drained a 3-ball from the corner to cut the Bee's advantage to 57-54 with 5 minutes remaining. The Cougars would tie the score once again when Ortiz converted a fast break lay-up at the 2:00 mark. A costly turnover directly underneath the Bee's basket led to Bristol converting one of two free throws for a 60-59 lead. On the ensuing possesion, the Cougars' leading scorer Ruben Delrosario converted a runner in traffic and would head to the line for a chance at a three point play. Delrosario made what was his only free throw attempt of the game, giving the lead back to HCC (62-60) with 1:13 left. Down 2 with 11 seconds on the clock, Bristol called time out. As time expired, Bristol guard Zec Glover hit a leaner from the free throw line, sending the game into overtime.
To begin the extra period, after a controversial call that gave the ball back to the Bee's with a fresh shot clock, Glover scored 3 of his 6 overtime points with 3-pointer from the top of the arc. Delrosario and White were the only Cougars to score in OT (4 points each), as the game slowly slipped away from Holyoke. The Bee's would win the game by a final score of 77-70 but not without taking all that they could handle from the Cougars.
Freshman center Cyrel Lopes-Norwood (New Bedord; shown above) had 7 points, 6 rebounds and 4 blocks for HCC. Delrosario led the Cougars with 22 points while White and Ortiz contributed 15 and 11 respectively.
Bristol guard Eddie Tirado led all scorers with 23 points.
The Cougars fall to 1-7 overall and will make the short trip to Springfield on Thursday night to take on Springfield College JV at 8 p.m.
Story and Photos by Matt Patenaude