East Syracuse Coming off a tough last-minute loss to Westhill on Jan. 25, Syracuse Academy of Science gutted out a close win themselves Wednesday night by holding off host Bishop Grimes 48-46.
In doing so, the Atoms avenged a 66-61 defeat to the Cobras back on Dec. 19, and also stayed within range of the Warriors atop the OHSL Liberty standings.
The result was not guaranteed for the Atoms until the final buzzer. Grimes guard Connor Evans drilled a 3-pointer with five seconds left on the clock to cut the SAS lead to 48-45.
Then Casey Evans was fouled under the basket while battling for rebounding position. The Atoms were in the double bonus, sending the elder Evans to the line with a chance to pull the Cobras within one - but Casey Evans missed them both.
“I think for Casey and Jon [Carnegie] there were some Senior Night jitters,” Bishop Grimes coach Kevin Haven said. “They really wanted this and they pressed.”
Though SAS guard Jesse Murray missed the ensuing free throw, teammate Chimaka Browne made a heady play by fouling Casey Evans before he could hoist up a potential game-tying shot. Evans made one of two free throws before the clock ran out.
With the Atoms’ top scorer, senior center Ramazan Ozkan, battling an illness and held scoreless for the game, SAS’s complementary pieces stepped up to fill the stat sheet.
Agim Hamiti scored 14 and Browne added 11 points, plus four assists. But the biggest spark came from Maheeb Sease, who came off the bench to give the Atoms 14 points, eight rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
“Maheeb is our top bench player,” SAS coach Onur Gokce said. “He stepped up really well.”
Senior Night started out sloppily as the first quarter ended 7-7. Both teams combined for more turnovers (eight) than field goals (five).