By Rob Potter
ELDRED January 22, 2002 Things began well enough for the Eldred Yellowjackets in Thursday nights OCIAA Division V game versus Chapel Field.
Midway through the first quarter, the Yellowjackets grabbed a six-point lead over the visitors. Eldreds Warren Ritter hit a three-pointer to put his team up by a 10-4 margin with 4:50 left in the period.
But Chapel Field (1-12, 1-0 OCIAA) then went on a 23-7 run during the rest of the quarter and through the second quarter to take a 27-17 advantage into the locker room.
The Lions went on to record their first win of the season, beating Eldred by a 58-47 margin in the OCIAA Division V opener for both teams.
Leading the Chapel Field offense in that decisive run was John Bast, who scored nine of his team-high 13 points in the first half.
While the Lions boosted their lead to as many as 13 points in the third quarter, Eldred (1-8, 0-2 OCIAA) tried to comeback in the fourth. With 5:43 showing on the clock, Yellowjacket forward Jim Nieke converted both ends of a one-and-one free throw opportunity to cut the Chapel Field lead to 47-36. Teammate Chris Ryman then stole the ball on the Lions next possession, raced down court and converted a layup to pull Eldred back within single digits.
Following a timeout called by Lion Coach Mike Bonagura, Eldreds Warren Ritter grabbed an offensive rebound and hit a short jumper. Teammate Henry Bosch then followed with an offensive rebound and putback of his own, which reduced the Yellowjacket deficit to 47-42 with just under four minutes left in the contest.
But Chapel Fields Tim Jones swished a three-point shot on his teams next possession to boost the lead to 50-42. And Eldred could not get closer as the teams played out the final three-plus minutes of the game.
When asked about a key to the win, Bonagura did not hesitate.
Our defensive pressure, he said. We really worked to get steals and turnovers. We take pride in our defense, it generates all that we do offensively.
In addition to Basts aforementioned 13 points, Greg Imbarrato had 12 points for the Lions.
Eldred also had two players reach double figures in the scoring column. Ritter finished with 13 points, while Ryman netted 12 points.
We played a tough non-league schedule, hoping it would prepare us for our division games, Bonogura said. It helped tonight, so were really pleased.
Chapel Field also helped itself on the foul line. The Lions converted 11 of 12 free throws in the game, which was slightly better than the Yellowjackets 12 of 16 performance at the charity stripe.
Eldred Coach Charlie Donnelly noted that the Lions hard work resulted in a win.
Chapel Field worked hard for every point they got, Donnelly said. They played hard every minute. Their effort was a real positive on their part. They really played to win tonight.