Bobcats stay alive in state tournament with 44-42 OT win over Fife Lake Forest Area

Brethren’s Skylar Wojciechowski (2) dribbles past a Fife Lake Forest Area defender during the Bobcats’ 44-42 overtime win over the Warriors in their Class D district semifinal game Wednesday at Buckley. (Robert Myers/Pioneer Sports Network)

Brethren’s Skylar Wojciechowski (2) dribbles past a Fife Lake Forest Area defender during the Bobcats’ 44-42 overtime win over the Warriors in their Class D district semifinal game Wednesday at Buckley. (Robert Myers/Pioneer Sports Network)

By ROBERT MYERS

Pioneer Sports Network

BUCKLEY – The Brethren boys basketball team will play at least one more game, following a thrilling 44-42 overtime victory over Forest Area in the district semifinals on March 7.

Forest Area actually beat the Bobcats 65-44 back in December, but Brethren coach J.J. Randall said his team has grown a lot since then.

“I think we are a 100-percent totally different team than what we were before,” he said. “We are playing total different. We missed a lot of easy ones, but I’m still proud of my kids for their effort.”

Early on, it was all Bobcats, as Brethren claimed a 9-2 lead and led 16-8 at the end of one.

Garrett Bybee-Mullins was not going to let his Forest Area team go down without a fight though. He was a major rebounding presence in the paint throughout the game, and in the second quarter he led his team back to close the deficit to 26-21 at the half.

The Warriors brought that momentum with them out of the break and took a four-point lead in the third, as the Bobcats fought to overcome missed shots. Even with the momentum turned against them and shot after shot rolling off the rim, the Bobcats kept fighting though, showing a resilience that has defined the team of late.

“We just had to keep putting shots up and keep fighting, and that’s how we won – we didn’t give up,” said junior Jake Riggs. “We lost to them by 21 points earlier in the year, and to come back and beat them shows how much our team has come together as one and worked hard.”

The teams ended regulation tied at 38, but Brethren scored the first two buckets of overtime. The Warriors came back to tie it at 42, but with about 30 seconds left, Logan Tighe scored and easy layup on an inbound play that Randall said was one of their oldest and most often used plays in their playbook.

Freshman Skylar Wojciechowski led Brethren with 14 points in the game.

“He struggled for a couple game in a row, but this game was awesome for his confidence to make shots like that,” Randall said. “I’m really pumped for him going forward, because this was a huge environment for him to do that in.”

Other leaders for the Bobcats were Tighe with 11 points and three rebounds, Gavin Asiala with seven points and Riggs with five points and 15 rebounds.

The Bobcats (9-12) will return to action at 7 p.m. on Friday against Buckley (16-5) with the district championship on the line at Buckley.

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