Despite leading for the majority of the evening, the Johnston boys basketball team was unable to hold on as visiting Blackstone Valley Prep scored 37 second-half points to complete the 57-53 comeback victory in the final two minutes of play.
Both clubs were unbeaten in league play heading into the evening, but BVP would maintain its undefeated record and take control of first place in the division.
“We were leading for nearly the entire game but they just wouldn’t go away. They shot lights out in the second half. They were hitting everything. We were contesting them, but they got some big shots. It was a tough game,” said Johnston coach Ed Bedrosian.
Xavier Mendez, who hit the game-winning layup for BVP, led the Pride with 17 points scored while Sory Traore added 16 and Kalil Fofana 13.
Johnston’s Justin Powell enjoyed a breakout game in the loss, scoring a game-high 25 points, including three 3’s. Tom Zednik scored 11 points, while Anthony Tavares added nine and Hunter Remington six.
Although Johnston’s shooting offense has been hot as of late, and added 10 three-pointers on Tuesday, Bedrosian hopes to see his big men get more involved and produce on the inside as well.
“We’ve got to get (the big men) more aggressive and the guards need to recognize that that is what it is. Our guards are doing a better job of going to the basket but they’ve got to see where the big guys are,” said Bedrosian.
The Panthers fell to 4-1 in league play and 7-2 overall on the season. The Panthers faced Division I Cumberland in a non-league contest on Wednesday, but the results were not available at press time.
With the midseason grind set to begin in the coming days, Bedrosian hopes his club will learn from the loss and put its best foot forward in the second half of the season.
“You never want to lose, but hopefully this will be a wake up call as we enter the toughest part of our schedule. You never want to lose, but sometimes it helps. We’re always shooting threes, but we need to get more inside play and get to the foul line,” said Bedrosian. “We’re still finding ourselves, but we’ll be OK. Our defense was on, they just shot lights out. I’m confident that we’re going to get there. We have enough seniors that know what to do, we just need to work on it.”