Bulldogs edge Mustangs in thrilling fashion

 

By Joel Charron

It took the General Amherst senior boys basketball team 24 minutes to shake off the Christmas rust.

The Bulldogs scored 18 points in the fourth quarter to steal a 53-48 win away from the Massey Mustangs.

Amherst did have some help from the Mustangs, who committed eight turnovers in the final 90 seconds and scored only seven points in the closing frame.

“It wasn’t our best game,” said head coach Dom Silvaggio. “In the first three quarters they seemed like they didn’t have any heart then all of a sudden they started picking it up.”

Amherst and Massey were deadlocked at 10 after the first quarter. In the

Amherst’s Corey Bezaire (white) tries to recover the ball after knocking it out of the hands of Massey’s Jordan Guenther.

second quarter Massey went on a 9-0 run, which was answer by the Bulldogs with a 9-0 of their own. Thanks to a last second basket by Todd Girard the Bulldogs headed into the break with a 25-24 lead.

Massey outscored Amherst 17-10 in the third quarter and lead 41-35.

In the final frame Massey at one point lead by as many as nine, however Amherst’s pressure defense began to frustrate the Mustangs as the points began to pile up for the Bulldogs.

Amherst went 0 for 8 at the free throw line before draining six straight from the charity line in the last three minutes as they crawled their way back.

The Bulldogs took their first lead of the second half with just under three minutes left to play and held it until the final buzzer.

Silvaggio said this squad could have easily have given up being down by nine but was please to see them battle back and finish a game.

“You have to give them credit, they never quit,” said Silvaggio.

Silvaggio admitted that Massey’s half-court pressure defense caused fits for the Bulldogs but noted when they played full-court pressure teams like Holy Names and Herman they were able to break down the defense and score easily.

“We have to play better against pressure defense in a half court set,” he said. “That’s the difference between good teams and bad teams.”

The coach credited Jeff Masson, who in the fourth quarter shut down Massey’s top scorer, Jordan Guenther.

Masson said the lackluster play was most likely the result of a lackluster practice week, which followed them in to their game, however fighting back from nine point deficits on two separate occasions proves the Bulldogs have the fire to compete.

“It shows heart and desire something that we have to have through out the whole game,” said Masson.

Amherst used a balanced scoring attack, lead by Mitch Girard with 12 points while Masson, Todd Girard and Matt Duby each had 10. Max Reiner pitched in with five of his own and Mike Mallender, Dylan Jaber and Corey Bezaire each had two points.

With the win, Amherst sits in seventh place with 12 points in WECSSAA Tier 1.

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