BY JOHN DUBOIS
The Phoenix Bears and the Cecil Seahawks played a hard fought back and forth game for over 36 minutes before the Bears were able to pull away late to claim an 83-70 win in consolation bracket play.
Chris Mason led the way for Phoenix with 21 points, with Chris Solomon adding 16 points, while Cameron Isreal chipped in with 13 points. Ronald Tamedy had a season high 10 points off the bench.
“Our bench was unbelievable for us in this game,” said Phoenix coach Matt Gordon. “Ronald, Marquez Jackson, and Demetrius Baugh all had nice games and they were the biggest reason why we won the game.”
Hundreds of area school children packed the stands for the game, which tipped off at 9 a.m.
“That would be 7 a.m. our time and anytime you ask college guys to get up early its a challenge,” Gordon said. “We got up at 7 a.m. yesterday to try and simulate the time, and honestly given the start time and it being a consolation game, we were concerned there would 10-15 people here. The atmosphere was just awesome.”
The Seahawks end their season with a record of 16-16 and were led by a game-high 24 points from Donte Adams. Allen Stedman and Charles Burley added 13 points each and Amadius Der-weer chipped in with 10 points. Led by the Cecil cheerleading squad, the students were for the most part backing the Seahawks.
“That was a pretty cool thing with the crowd rooting for us,” said Cecil coach LeShawn Hammett. “We have a lot of 6 a.m. practices and work outs and the start time wasn’t really a factor for us. We were expecting a small crowd, but the crowd was just amazing. This was a back and forth game, but what it came down to was they were 15-of-15 from the line down the stretch and were 4-for-8. We didn’t see the results that we wanted, but this was still an amazing experience for us.”
The Seahawks took their largest lead of the game early at 11-4, but the Bears battled right back and the score was tied at 20-20 with eight minutes to go in the first half. The Bears would open their largest lead of the half at 32-27 and took a 32-31 lead into halftime. The score was tied 40-40 with 16 minutes to go, and tied again at 47-47 with 13 minutes to go before Phoenix held a 65-62 lead with four minutes to go. Back to back 3-pointers from Solomon keyed a 14-0 run over the next three and a half minutes to put the game away. Solomon scored 11 of his points in the second half after being slowed early by four fouls in the first half.
“Chris got into the early foul trouble and we weren’t sure how he was going to be able to recover from that,” Gordon said. “When he is focused he is very tough and can get points in bunches.”
The Bears were 25-for-29 overall from the free throw line.
“We knew we needed to get the ball into the hands of our guards and make free throws and we were able to do that,” Gordon said. “Cecil played well and Donte Adams is a very tough player to defend. They gamble on defense and put a lot of pressure on you and we don’t really get to see that much. We were able to make enough shots when we were open to get the win.”
It will be a battle of the Bears Friday as Phoenix returns to action at 11 a.m. against Mott.