By Patrick McCormack
Springfield Gardens’ players wanted to win for more than themselves against Bedford Academy. Coach Angelo Buono’s team knew he had never beaten the Brooklyn power and planned on doing everything they could to change that.
The Golden Eagles boys’ basketball team did just that by using a big second half to defeat the Panthers 80-69 in the main event of the PSAL Class A Showcase Sunday evening at Benjamin Cardozo.
Daniel Kisson said the team played to get Buono, who never beat Bedford Academy, a win.
“My coach has never had a win against Bedford so we had to get one for him this year,” junior guard Daniel Kisson said.
The Golden Eagles started their comeback at the tail end of the first half putting together a 9-1 run that was led by seven points from Kisson. It cut Bedford’s lead to 32-31. Kisson, who scored a team-high 22 points, struggled early from the floor, but found the scoring touch during the spurt.
“My teammates always encourage me to keep shooting the ball,” he said. “So I just kept shooting.”
Bedford Academy, last year’s city runner up, broke the run with a three from Antony Munson. Joel Boyce made a layup to end the half to bring Springfield within 35-33.
The Golden Eagles (18-3) scored five straight points on a layup from Ian Howard and a three from Daniel Charlton to take their first lead of the contest 38-37 early in the second half. The teams exchanged leads until Kisson and Charlton scored back-to-back baskets to make it 53-49. The key for Springfield was their defensive play.
“We came out, we played really strong on the defensive end and we were able to slow them down,” Buono said.
Bedford (17-2) jumped ahead to begin the fourth on a pair of foul shots from Anthony Gibbs, but Springfield responded with a three-point play from Boyce to go back ahead 56-54 late in the third quarter and did not look back. Springfield shot 23 of 27 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter to pull away.
“The three-point play set the tone for the rest of the game,” said Boyce, who had 17 points. “We were down most of the game but we executed, played smart and played Springfield basketball.”
Springfield also held Munson, who had a game-high 29 points, to two points in the final quarter. Its defense and free throw shooting were key to picking up a win with major playoff seeding implications.
“We have been playing Bedford for the last couple of years and I haven’t been able to beat them,” Buono said. “Now we know we can beat anyone in the city if we beat them.”