Despite facing a 28-27 deficit in the third quarter, the JCC boy’s varsity team regained control of the game in the fourth quarter, defeating St. Gabe’s by a final score of 42-35, improving their record to 4-2 in the Greater Pittsburgh Independent Basketball League.
Andrew Goleman led the JCC in scoring with 13 points, while teammate Stephen Canton netted 12.
The first quarter of play involved a defensive struggle between the teams that ultimately forced both teams to shoot errant shot after errant shot. Offensively for the JCC, Alex Canton managed to score five points in the quarter, single-handedly outscoring St. Gabe’s first quarter output. Despite the immense struggles, the JCC held a 9-4 lead at the end of the quarter.
The second quarter of play involved a much faster pace of play led to a faster pace of scoring from both teams. Goleman led the way for the JCC in the quarter, drilling two three-point shots and a total of eight points in the quarter. As the end of the quarter approached, the JCC had the momentum and emerged with a 25-14 lead.
The third quarter was an entirely different story from that of its predecessors, as it was St. Gabe’s who took control of the game.
“We switched to a zone, so they started to penetrate us a lot more and they were just more confident in shooting and they just attacked us,” Canton said. “They took advantage of us being kind of lackadaisical.”
St. Gabe’s outscored the JCC 14-2 in the quarter and took a 28-27 lead.
After a terrible third quarter, Head Coach Andy Pakler wasn’t discouraged with his team.
“The reaction was just to call a timeout, and let these guys know that it was the first time all game that St. Gabe’s was winning. So I called the timeout, and got the guys in, and I said ‘listen, this is your home court and this team has come back by taking you out of the game on your home court.’”
In the fourth and final quarter, the JCC responded to Pakler’s message in a big way. After a big three-pointer from Stephen Canton to take the lead, the JCC experienced what Pakler referred to as the momentum changer.
“Andrew Goleman’s three-pointer in the fourth quarter at the top of the key was the biggest shot of the game,” Pakler said. “It put us up by six points, and we didn’t look back from there. He kept us in it all game with his shooting.”
After Goleman’s three-pointer and the JCC’s newfound momentum, the teams mainly traded baskets and a late basket by Arron Critchfield gave the JCC a 42-35 lead which ended up being the final score.
Up next for the JCC is their rivalry game versus Hillel on Thursday, Jan. 8 at the JCC.
(Zachary Weiss can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)