Bulldogs win 11th in a row

With a one point lead through 16 minutes of basketball, Mike Fitzpatrick knew his team needed and offensive jolt and knew who could provide it.

Cam Meservey sparked the No. 7 Bedford High School boys basketball team to a nine-point run in the third quarter to hurdle over No. 10 Pinkerton 55-43 in the Division I preliminary round on Tuesday. The 11th consecutive win for the Bulldogs pairs them with No. 2 Trinity in the quarterfinals on Friday.

After a listless offensive production for both teams in the first half, Meservey broke the stalemate to sink two 3-pointers, along with another from Ryan Brown to thrust Bedford out to a 32-22 advantage after clinging to a one-point lead at the halftime break.

“That was the spark of the game that got us going and gave us the momentum toward the end,” Meserve said.

It turned out to be the stimulation that the Bulldogs (12-7) needed as they outscored the Astros 14-4 in the frame and maintained their multiple possession lead with consistent drives to the hoop and outrebounding Pinkerton on defense.

“We had to change things up in our attack and get Cam some more looks,” Fitzpatrick said. “Usually the ball finds him and he creates quite a bit for himself and others.”

Pinkerton (9-10) flexed its muscles with four 3-pointers in the last eight minutes, but Bedford countered each time ,allowing the Astros to come only as close as eight points. Taylor Grande, who led the Bulldogs offense with 11 points, put up nine in the final quarter.

“It was definitely a defensive game,” Pinkerton coach Pete Rosinski said. “It was just that one minute where we had a defensive breakdown in the third where (Bedford) capitalized on shots and we just didn’t shoot well. There were times when we were lethargic on offense.”

Defense prevailed on both ends of the court for the opening half, with neither team able to find an offensive rhythm.

The teams mirrored each other whenever one seemed to get an edge. Bedford pulled out a four-point lead in the final minute of the first quarter, courtesy of a 3-pointer from Colby Gendron, but Pinkerton’s Matthew Rizzo scampered down the floor on the ensuing possession to sink a shot from beyond the arc, cutting the deficit to one in the closing seconds of the frame.

“The pace of the game was really slow,” Meservey said. “We didn’t get a lot of points in transition so I thought we really needed to move and get to the rim and the foul line.”

Bedford was able to spread out the wealth offensively, with eight of the Bulldogs knocking down shots. In addition to Grande, Sam Stanton piled on nine points, Brown accumulated eight and Meservey had seven.

Luke Rosinski topped the Pinkerton scoring with 15 points, Jeremy Dietzel chipped in nine and Rizzo tacked on seven.

The Bulldogs will travel to No. 2 Trinity (18-1) for the quarterfinals on Friday. The Pioneers took a 66-45 win in their last meeting with Bedford on Jan 21.

“It’s a great challenge and an opportunity that our guys are looking forward to,” Fitzpatrick said.