Back on January 4 when Bourne first met Case on the basketball court the Cardinals pounded the Canalmen (11-6, 9-5 SCC) by a score of 78-45. Bourne wasn’t going to allow that to happen twice.
Tuesday night Case came to Bourne and from the opening tip-off the Canalmen went after the Cardinals taking a lead and holding it for 32 minutes and evening the score for the season with a 56-53 win.
“We played with a little more moxie this time,” Coach Scott Ashworth said. “It was a collective effort, everybody played well. We just dug in. They’re much bigger, but I thought we did a great job on the glass.”
The game came down to the final minute with Case pulling out all the stops to catch the Canalmen. With 45 seconds on the clock they closed to within three points. A couple of free throws and a big rebound by Sharief Smith put Bourne up 55-50 with 12 seconds to play. The Cardinals then hit a 3-pointer with five seconds on the clock making it a two-point lead, but forced to foul, they sent Blade Leavenworth to the line, who went 1-for-2 with two seconds remaining. The Cardinals came down with the rebound, but time expired before they could get off a shot.
The opening quarter belonged to the Canalmen as they built a 17-6 lead on the strength of a superb pressure defense and seven rebounds from Shamere Smith. Bourne’s defense forced seven Case turnovers in the first quarter. Shamere Smith and Leavenworth teamed up for some nice scoring and Patrick Brennan hit a couple of baskets in the final minute, leaving the cardinals trailing by 11 points.
In the second quarter the cardinals realized that they needed to box Shamere Smith out under the net, but Sharief filled right in hauling down four balls. Brendan Andrade hit a 3-pointer from the left side and Shamere Smith followed up on a Leavenworth shot as Bourne pulled ahead 24-12.
Sharief Smith and Josh Curry added to the scoring for the Canalmen down the stretch as Bourne pulled into the break with a 27-20 lead.
The third quarter got off to a slow start at both ends of the floor until Sharief Smith pulled up and hit a 3-pointer. Jack Canterbury followed with a 3-pointer from the top of the key off a dish from Leavenworth and Andrade set up Sharief Smith out in front for a jumper in the final minutes leaving BHS with a 39-32 advantage after three quarters.
A lay-up by Leavenworth and a 3-pointer by Curry were all the Canalmen could manage in the first four minutes of the final quarter. Curry added a couple of free throws and Canterbury stole the ball at center court and took it in for two points and a 48-40 BHS lead.
With the exception of Leavenworth’s scooping up a loose ball at center court and going in for a lay-up, the Canalmen did the rest of their damage from the free-throw line. Bourne finished the night 13 for 23 from the line.
Leavenworth led all scorers with 19 points. Sharief Smith added nine points and nine rebounds, Shamere Smith had eight points and 11 rebounds and Curry had six points. As a team the Canalmen had five 3-pointers.
Canterbury fired off three 3-pointers and finished with a game leading 16 points as the Canalmen punched their ticket to the postseason with a 59-41 victory over Fairhaven on Friday.
While Canterbury worked over the Blue Devils from the outside, Leavenworth came at them from every angle. By the end of the night the senior guard had 14 points and seven rebounds. Andrade hit twice from outside the 3-point arc, finishing with 10 points.
“We came out of the gate great and left Fairhaven playing catch-up,” Coach Scott Ashworth said. “Shamere (Smith) held their top scorer to two field goals. They shot just 23 percent from the floor.”