MANCHESTER -- Taking a page right out of the Mount Anthony Union High School boys basketball playbook, the Burr and Burton Academy boys basketball team shot the ball from distance en route to a 80-69 victory at BBA on Monday night.
Joey Shehadi scored a game-high 31 points, hitting six 3-pointers, while Tyeshawn Gadson added 24 points and six triples of his own to help the Bulldogs to an emphatic victory.
"[MAU's] kind of system forces you to just play it," said BBA coach Dave Shehadi. "You can't break that pressure and hold it up. We kind of embraced it."
BBA started the barrage early, as Shehadi drilled a corner three off a pass from Conor Harrington to open the scoring and Gadson hit a three off a pass from Taylor Muench to take an early 10-4 lead. BBA would continue expanding on the lead in the first, with Gadson hitting a three to put BBA up 17-6 and Will Tate (4 points) adding a three of his own to make it 22-11. Before the quarter ended, though, Brundage scored on a shot before the buzzer to make it 22-13.
"The biggest factor in the game was the battle of the boards," said MAU coach Dan Sleeman. "They controlled the glass, especially in the first quarter. There were huge possessions where we gave up an offensive rebound, and several of them led to buckets."
In the second, BBA came out and open up a double-digit lead with Gadson and Muench (13 points) both hitting threes off passes from Harrington (7 assists) to make it 28-13. Evan Sparta scored his only bucket of the game on the next possession, but Shehadi scored on the following play when Cody Gilbert came up with an offensive rebound, allowing the ball to work its way back around for the shot.
But before the half ended, MAU put together its best basketball of the night to cut the lead down.
Damon Burgess (5 points) hit a three to cut the deficit to 12 and Hao Guo (12 points) converted on a coast-to-coast layup to cut the score to 30-20. BBA responded with treys from Shehadi and Gadson to push the lead back to 14 at 36-22, but the Patriots had an answer as the team closed out the half on a 9-2 run, including four free throws from Justin Burgess (7 points), to make it 38-33 going into the break
"We got down early, and again I have to give my guys credit for how they battled back," Sleeman said. "I thought we could have maybe been tied with a couple breaks, but I was excited to be down five at half."
The joy would be short lived though, as BBA opened the second half with two treys from Shehadi, sandwiched between a Guo layup, and a pair of free throws to make it 46-35. Brundage hit a three on a pass from Alec Little to cut the deficit back to eight, but Gadson picked out Harrington in the lane on the next possession then nabbed a steal and took it the distance to make it 52-38.
"[MAU] did score 69, which is more than we like, but in this type of game that [69 points] is not that much," Joey Shehadi said. "We just kept coming and we hit critical shots at big times. In the third we got it up to 12 and it hovered around there for the rest [of the game]."
MAU was able to cut BBA's lead to 60-50 on a converted and-one by Ethan Anderson (4 points) heading into the fourth and Little hit a pair of free throws to start the final frame, but Shehadi answered with three-straight buckets for BBA, including another three, to make it 67-55 and then a nice sequence of passing that started with Shehadi resulted in Gadson burying his sixth trey of the game off a Harrington pass to make it 70-55 with 4:15 to play. BBA would take out its starters around the two minute mark of the fourth, allowing MAU to close the gap to 11 to end the contest.
For the game, BBA hit 14 triples to MAU's six.
"We shoot like that, our kids can shoot it," coach Shehadi said. "I thought [Gadson] had his best game of the year. Joey has been playing at an unbelievable level over the last couple weeks...[and] the rest of the kids compete."
And while Shehadi's 31-point effort played a big part in the win, Sleeman noted the play of Gadson as the game-breaker for his Patriots.
"All night, the Gadson kid killed us," Sleeman said. "I thought we could have sustained Joey getting his [points], but we couldn't sustain [Gadson's] shooting."
Harrington, who recorded four points, was also a key according to Joey Shehadi.
Talking about Harrington's seven assist, eight rebound performance, Shehadi said that "to have someone who can turn and look both ways, not just one way, that is how we made a bunch of our threes. He did a great job of passing the ball and finding the open man."
Harrington and Brundage had the game-highs in rebounding with 8 each, while Gadson stuffed the stat sheet with six assists, five rebounds and two steals. Shehadi had five rebounds, one steal and one assist. Guo recorded four steals for MAU in the loss and Justin Burgess finished with five boards, two steals and a block.
BBA moves to 14-0 on the year, while MAU falls to 8-6. The teams will meet again in a week as MAU hosts BBA on Feb. 10.