Bishop Brady rallies to beat Portsmouth

Cole Etten wouldn’t have minded seeing overtime Saturday afternoon, but he told his Bishop Brady High School boys basketball team, if it could get a steal, get one.

The first-year head coach never imagined the result of getting one would turn out the way it did.

With 12.4 seconds left in the Division II championship game, and No. 3 Bishop Brady tied at 56 with No. 1 Portsmouth, the Giants forced a turnover on an inbounds pass.

Brendan Johnson came up with the steal, found Aaron Svendsen at midcourt, who passed to Joe Bell as he went to the basket. Bell laid the ball in with four seconds to go and Bishop Brady rallied from a nine-point deficit with 4:03 remaining to win 58-56.

“It all happened so fast, I’d have to go back and watch it,” said Etten, a Hollis Brookline graduate and former assistant coach. “(Joe Bell) had a layup and he finished it. He ran the floor and Aaron threw a terrific pass to him.

“It’s a pretty cool feeling, but the guys worked so hard this year. They deserved this in the end because they worked so hard. I’m proud of all of them.”

While Joe Bell had the game-winner, it was his brother, Jourdain, he put the Giants (18-4) in position to win. Jourdain Bell finished with a game-high 27 points, 13 of which came in the fourth quarter, including two 3-pointers that erased a six-point deficit with 1:30 left to play.

“In the moment, I thought I could hit them, so I went for it,” Jourdain Bell said. “I felt like it was something I needed to try to do because Portsmouth was clogging it up in the lane. If I can’t get to the basket as a basketball player, I should be able to shoot.”

The Giants were in position to win thanks to some missed free throws by the Clippers (20-2) in the final two minutes. Shon Parham missed on what would have completed a three-point play and given Portsmouth a seven-point lead with 1:45 to go, and Christian Peete came up short twice on the front of a one-and-one.

“It had to be perfect for them, they had to make every shot they took, and we had to miss every shot and throw the ball away at the end,” Portsmouth coach Jim Mulvey said. “They accomplished it, and that’s a credit to them. They deserve it.

“When we’re up six points, I’m supposed to win those games. If they got any one thing in the last minute, it has to go perfect, and imperfect for us. Every single thing.”

Portsmouth got out to a 10-point lead in the first quarter, but Bishop Brady came back to take the lead, 28-27, with 1:29 left in the first half.

“Especially in the first quarter, we looked a little nervous out there,” Etten said. “We had a couple of turnovers that we usually don’t make. We stuck together as a team and the guys played a terrific game. They stuck together and they never quit, and that’s what got us to victory at the end.”

A free throw by Cody Graham (team-high 17 points) and a basket by De’Vonn Wilson-Miles put the Clippers ahead 30-28 going into halftime.

Portsmouth got ahead by as many as six in the third quarter, and after Bishop Brady tied the game at 43 early in the fourth, the Clippers went on a 9-0 run to lead 52-43.

But the Giants ended the game by outscoring the Clippers 15-4 to win the program’s first championship since 1997.

“The guys worked hard all year long,” Etten said. “I’m really happy they were able to get this far and were able to finish. We never really talked about winning a championship, but we talked about coming to practice and working hard every day. All that hard work paid off.”