January 31, 2018
By: Erica Rose
When the Nazareth boy’s basketball team drained three after three in the first half of last night’s game against Parkland, many would have thought it was over. The Blue Eagles knocked down 5 triples in just the first quarter, and midway through the second they had drained three more. The Trojans were probably stunned to find themselves trailing by 19 points, after a lack of fire and passion. And if it were just a few short months ago, things would have probably just kept on unraveling. “In all honesty if we were down 13 in the first 10 games of the year we would have lost by 20-25, and I think they’ve found something and they are playing with a lot of fight right now,” said Head Coach Andy Stephens. It was the end of the first half that really changed the game. The Trojans finally started playing good basketball, good defense, closing out the half with an 11-5 run that ended with Jake Bartholomew knocking down an impressive off-balance three at the buzzer. “I think to tell you the truth in some weird way that gave us a little hope and momentum, so I think that was actually a big play in the game.”
Oh and it was. The Trojans opened the third quarter with a 12-3 run led by senior Michael Ruisch who contributed 7 of those points. The Trojans would bring the game within one point with 1:25 left in the 3rd when Ruisch found Logan Rindock on the fast break, but the Blue Eagles would respond with a big 3 by Briggs, who would finish with a game high 19 points. Nazareth would still lead into the fourth 51-47, but anyone who was there could feel the tide had turned and it was only a matter of time until the Trojans regained their first lead since 5-4. That time came with 2:13 remaining in the game; Rindock’s drive to the hole would tie the game, and he was awarded the foul. He would miss the “and 1,” but who else besides Ruisch was there for the rebound and put back to put Parkland up 59-57. Bartholomew would ultimately seal the deal, as Parkland would come away with a huge 68-59 victory. Parkland really stepped up the defense in the second half, only allowing 17 points in the final two quarters. “Jake Bartholomew did a great job on (Jahan) Dotson in the second half, but all of our guys played defense. I thought Michael Ruisch played a great game, I think he had a double-double and in the second half he really responded with rebounds, assists and hit some big shots,” Stephens said of his point guard who finished with 11 points 10 rebounds.