Monday, January 20, 2014

Money Monday: A Look Back At Bermudian

I was aware of Bermudian's equal blend of talent, depth, and gaggle of hard-scrapping multi-sport athletes from the jump-start.
 The oceanic-deep 2011-12 team Eagles was emblematic of the spirit behind the team concept. Each player subscribed to his role, no questioning it but executing it. Imagine that?

 Not synonymous with hoops back then, not equated with the same status as perennial basketball breeding grounds York Catholic or William Penn (York High), Bermudian accelerated program growth with a resume reel win over York Catholic at home.

The win is still a signature program win, still memorable two years and three days later.

The labor and heart and sustained focus of that team resonates with this year's seniors. Several of them were callow sophomores, flushed into immediate playing time.

 There was no 6-foot-9 monster burying deep 3-pointers and delivering needle-threading passes and crushing home violent and extravagant two handed dunks. Nothing of the sort.


There was no highly-courted recruit, sifting through offers from Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke and several high-major hotbeds.

 There wasn't even a Division-I prospect, not even a marginal/low Division-I prospect.

That added to the beauty of it all. 

A core of serviceable players, sharing the ball within the confines of an equal opportunity brand of offense. The Eagles, capable of playing 11 guys comfortably, featured a new high scorer every other night.
Every player on the roster, sporting shooting shirts with "NOTHING WILL WORK...UNLESS WE DO" emblazoned on the back, bought in.
Ultimately, that '11-12 team set the stage for the product we now witness on the court.
Tthe Eagles' statement win over York Catholic lifted the program 10 feet from obscurity.  
Jan. 17, 2012
Buoyed by the healthy blend of depth, balance, and efficiency, Bermudian Springs High warded off a late rally to score a dramatic 55-51 win over York Catholic on Monday.

Bermudian shot the lights out early, kept its foot on the neck of the Irish and sank free throws to withstand a frantic fourth-quarter run.

It resulted in the Eagles' biggest win this season, one which Bermudian coach Tom Flaherty said should bolster his club's confidence.

The Eagles' titanic win marks just the second time in program history that they've defeated the Irish.

Bermudian hasn't piled up this many points against York Catholic since the 1994-95 campaign, a 65-54 post-season loss. Several of Bermudian's current players hadn't even been born yet.

On Monday, however, their searing defensive pressure and ability to create open shots pumped life into the Eagles' home gym.

 The Eagles found operating room around the basket, seizing opportunities at the free throw line.

"Foul shots obviously helped us tonight," said Austin Hartzell, who submitted a team-high 15 points and shot a scalding 11-of-13 from charity.

 "Coach always tells us, 'Rebounds, layups, foul shots.' We hate losing. Like any good athlete, we always love to win against anybody."

Beyond Hartzell, Neil Murren and Aaron Huntington added 10 points apiece. Tyler Hursh chimed in eight. Silas Murren and Zach Stroup each contributed four points during crucial sequences.

Bermudian brought its game, shedding any fear of the high-caliber opponent's name.

Zach Stroup popped a quick-release 3-pointer with 1:33 left in the fourth quarter, supplying the Eagles with a 47-41 edge. The shot appeared to be the true dagger, flattening an Irish comeback bid.

Not against York Catholic.

The Irish counterpunched as Michael Sperring, who finished with 23 points, bagged a trey of his own with a defender thoroughly blanketing him. James Doughtery penetrated and finished amidst the trees, slicing it to 49-46.

Hartzell buried two free throws to cushion the Eagles lead, 51-46.

The Irish refused to die out. Mark Burnside, the 6-foot-6 center who torched Delone Catholic for 22 earlier this season, got free for a lay-in that again made it a one-possession game.

Hartzell earned a trip back to the charity stripe. He thwarted York Catholic's valiant rally for good, connecting on both freebies.

"I think Bermudian just outplayed us, outcoached us. I just thought they ran their offense like they can do," York Catholic coach Joe Keesey said.

 "We were prepared, but still they ran their offense and we hurried shots. We played at their tempo. Bermudian's in first place. There's a reason for that. They run their system and they are really well-coached. I was expecting a really tough game. It didn't surprise me that much."

The scent of an upset suddenly spread through the gym when Huntington drove left, shredded a pair of defenders and flipped in a layup with 3:45 remaining in the second quarter. Hartzell got loose for a floater moments later, capping a 7-2 surge as Bermudian seized a 26-17 lead.

Prior to this, with 6:57 to play in the second quarter, Hursh swished a contested 3-pointer from the wing. The snipe gave the Eagles a 19-15 hold, subsequently triggering a York Catholic timeout.

Neil Murren carved into the driving lanes and turned in a traditional 3-point play with 46 seconds remaining in the third quarter. That's when Bermudian's lead stretched to 36-26.

"We had a lot of subbing. We always have a lot of help from different guys off the bench," explained Flaherty, who coached Delone Catholic to a state championship in the 1988-89 season.

 "The balance in the scorebook shows that the guys are willing to share. We've got guys that do different things. We've got guys who are willing to step in and take charges, guys who are willing to step in and play defense. I think it helps in the long run because we do play together."