Bulldogs roar back to beat Fair Haven
MANCHESTER — In the first half of its game on Monday night against Fair Haven, the Burr and Burton boys basketball team were getting out-rebounded and had way too many turnovers.
The Bulldogs needed a spark and they got it at the end of the half as Jake Nicholson hit a buzzer beater from 60 feet.
Coming out of halftime, BBA was a totally different team, outscoring the Slaters by 22 en route to a 57-43 win at E.H. Henry Gym.
"I've never hit a shot like that before," said the senior Nicholson after the game. "Honestly, it swung the momentum a little bit, at halftime we talked about having fun. It's our Senior Night and we didn't want to go out losing to Fair Haven."
Fair Haven got off to a hot start, taking an 11-4 lead early before BBA coach Eric Green called a timeout to regroup his charge.
"Rebounding was an issue in the [first half], we gave them too many second and third chances," Green said.
BBA hit a couple of threes in the second quarter to cut into the Slater deficit, but Fair Haven took a 28-15 lead with 90 seconds left in the first half after a basket from Zack Ellis.
Patrick Forstmann hit a pair of free throws at the other end before Nicholson was dead-on with his three from over half-court to go into the break down 28-20.
In the third, Burr and Burton started from the jump, scoring the first 11 points of the quarter — part of a 16-0 run spanning the second and third frame. The run was capped by Nicholson making a steal on an errant pass and scoring in transition to go up 31-28 about halfway through the third quarter.
"Jake is so good at creating offense from his defense," Green said.
Joey Gannon had a pair of baskets to stop the run, but then Forstmann drained a three to send BBA up by five at 37-32 and then on the next possession, Tommy Baker was fouled on a three and made all three free throws to make it 40-32. After yet another defensive stop, Nicholson hit his fourth 3-pointer of the night to jump the lead to double digits at 43-32.
"It's about securing the defensive boards and applying pressure on defense," Green said. "You can't score if you don't have the ball. We knew they would be methodical with their offense, so we needed to start with our ball pressure."
All told in the third, BBA outscored the Slaters 25-6.
"We couldn't just flip a switch, it was going to be a gradual [climb]," Nicholson said. "It's not always about X's and O's, sometimes it's about the chemistry and enjoying the game. In that third, we were flying around and having a lot of fun."
Nicholson led all scorers with 21 points, while Tommy Baker had 10 and Forstmann added 10 and eight rebounds.
In the fourth, Gannon — the team leader in scoring on the night with 14 — made a basket to cut the lead to single digits, but Nicholson quashed any thoughts of a comeback with his fifth triple.
"Our team as a whole has been figuring out the three-point shot over the last few games," Nicholson said. "As the season's gone on, our shooting has been getting better."
BBA improves to 13-6 and finishes the regular season on Friday against Rutland. The Bulldogs have secured at least one home playoff game.
"It's always fun to play Rutland, but having the momentum from this win can help us have an opportunity to win on Friday," Nicholson said.
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