AARON THOMAS does his best to try and navigate between two Tilton defenders during action Feb. 20. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
February 27, 2012WOLFEBORO — Tilton School is not Brewster's biggest rival (that would be New Hampton), but when the two boys' basketball teams meet up, it's always exciting.
And on Monday, Feb. 20, more than 1,500 people packed the gym at the Smith Center to watch the two titans do battle for the third time this season and surely got what they came to see, as the two teams battled back and forth all afternoon before Brewster managed to remain undefeated with a 60-56 win.
Like when they last met at the Smith Center in December, Brewster jumped out to an early lead, scoring the first eight points and 12 of the first 14 points to put Tilton in an early hole.
Aaron Thomas got Brewster on the board first, finishing off an alley-oop from JaKarr Sampson. Jalen Reynolds then hit two hoops in a row for a 6-0 lead. TJ Warren followed up with a steal and a hoop for an 8-0 lead before Tilton called timeout just more than two minutes into the game.
The Rams got their first hoop of the game after the timeout, but back-to-back buckets from Mitch McGary put the Bobcats up by a 12-2 score.
After Tilton's second hoop, Semaj Christon hit a hoop to push the lead back to 10 at 14-4. After another Ram bucket, Thomas hit for another hoop for a 16-6 lead.
Tilton rattled off the next seven points to cut the lead to 16-13, but Thomas hit a big hoop to push the lead back to five. Tilton did answer with a hoop, but Christon came back with a bucket. After another Tilton hoop, Thomas hit another bucket and Sampson answered Tilton's answer, keeping Brewster at a five-point advantage at 24-19.
The Rams hit another hoop to cut the lead to three again and after a Christon free throw, drilled another bucket to cut the lead to 25-23 with 3:45 to play in the first half.
However, McGary hit back-to-back hoops and Warren put in a field goal to up Brewster's lead to 31-23 before the Rams got on the board again.
Warren hit another bucket, but a pair of free throws with seven seconds on the clock cut the lead to 33-27. Christon added a free throw with one second on the clock to send Brewster to halftime with a 34-27 lead.
The Rams came out of the gate in the second half the way Brewster did in the first half, scoring the first eight points of the frame and taking a 35-34 lead just more than three minutes into the half.
A Sampson rebound and hoop got Brewster back on track and Thomas followed with a bucket. Sampson then converted a three-point play to push Brewster to a 41-35 lead.
Tilton came back with a free throw and a hoop, but McGary hit for the Bobcats to push the lead to five. After a three from the Rams cut the lead to 43-31 with 15 minutes to go, Thomas hit a bucket for a 45-41 lead.
The Rams then went on a 5-0 run, including a three-point play, taking a 46-45 lead with 11:25 to go in the game. A Reynolds hoop gave Brewster the lead back, but the Rams came right back with a 6-0 run, including four from the foul line, to take a 52-47 lead.
Brewster fought back, with McGary hitting for two and Thomas draining two from the line to cut the lead to one. After a Tilton basket, Sampson hit for two to cut the lead to one and a Thomas three-point play with three minutes on the clock gave Brewster a 56-54 lead.
Sampson then finished off a nice steal by Joe Bramanti for a 58-54 lead. Tilton got another hoop, but the Brewster defense kept them from getting off a good shot and Thomas drained two foul shots with five seconds on the clock to seal the win.
Thomas led the way for Brewster, sinking 19 points, while McGary added 12 points and Sampson finished with 11 on the afternoon.
The Bobcats are playing in the NEPSAC playoffs, which began after deadline Wednesday and continue Friday and Sunday, March 2 and 4.
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 569-3126