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Bears ‘Tough To Beat’

Frewsburg Holds Off Panama Rally For Ninth League Win

Frewsburg’s Brad Nelson dribbles around Panama’s Cameron Barmore during Tuesday’s CCAA Division 2 West boys basketball game in Panama. P-J photo by Cameron Hurst

PANAMA — Tom Nelson knew that earning a victory over Panama on the road would not come easily.

With just under three minutes left in the game, the Bears’ once 13-point lead had been narrowed to seven after a Cameron Barmore 3-pointer.

“They’re a good team and you know they’re not going to quit,” the Frewsburg head coach said. “You don’t expect to run away with it when you come here.”

But, coming out of a timeout, a deep 3-pointer by senior Brad Nelson with 2:37 left in the game stunted the Panthers’ (15-4, 9-4) chance at a comeback and helped the Bears (14-5, 9-4) secure a 52-46 Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division 2 West victory.

“I did feel a sigh of relief when (Brad) hit that shot,” Tom Nelson admitted after the game. “That play was specifically designed for him to shoot that and he stepped up and hit it, and it was deep.”

Panama’s Cameron Barmore puts up a shot during Tuesday’s CCAA Division 2 West boys basketball game against Frewsburg in Panama. P-J photo by Cameron Hurst

Panama coach Ed Nelson agreed.

“Coming into the second half, we had to identify where he was on the basketball court,” he said of the Bears’ senior captain who scored a team-high 16 points. “They had some other guys step up and make some big shots as well, but Brad is a tough guy to stop and offensively, we were trying to work that short corner and high post and we just didn’t execute the way we should’ve.”

The Bears started fast, using a 14-4 run to open the game en route to a 17-8 first quarter lead before three second quarter 3s by Nelson helped make it a 28-18 lead at halftime. Tom Nelson credited his team’s defensive stand for helping to stifle the Panthers early.

“I felt our zone defense has been working better than our man-to-man,” he said. “We played about half and half the last time we played them and I think our zone defense worked well in our win against Sherman. … I think it worked well tonight. It slowed them down.”

“They played really good defense,” Ed Nelson said. “They’re a good basketball team and we’ve been struggling offensively the last few games. We have to figure that out.”

Coming through despite the team’s offensive struggles was Barmore, who added 25 points, and Connor Cooper who drained two 3-pointers in the second quarter to trim the deficit to four with three minutes left in the half.

“Connor is one of those guys who have been stepping up for us all season long,” Ed Nelson said of Cooper, who finished with 12 points. “We need to be a five-man scoring machine, though, and not a one-man scoring machine.”

We’re competing with some very good basketball teams and we just have to keep our heads up and move forward and keep plugging away as much as we can,” he added. “We’ll try to get this thing figured out and see where we go from there.”

Tom Nelson, meanwhile, was pleased with the Bears’ balanced scoring attack, notably Jameson Sposato, who drained three 3-pointers en route to a 10-point night.

“He’s been a huge contributor and any game that we’ve won, he’s had 9 or 10 points,” he said. “That’s the difference. We’ve had games where one player will have a lot of points and we’ll lose. We need that balance and when we do, we had contributions form everybody and good teams win.”

With just one regular season game remaining, Tom Nelson is confident Tuesday night’s victory will help the Bears’ confidence as playoffs approach.

“It’s huge,” he said. “If you can come to Panama and beat them, you should be able to draw from that and say, ‘Look what we’ve done guys.’ A pretty scary bracket looms, but I think we’re going to be tough to beat.”

“It’s been a lot of fun coaching these guys,” he added.

NOTES: Barmore finished with a double-double, grabbing 13 boards to add to his 25 points, while also adding four steals and blocking four shots. … Peyton Hayes and Brad Nelson led the Bears on the glass, grabbing seven boards apiece. Aaron Hair also had six rebounds.

FREWSBURG (52)

ZCarr 2 0 6, Sposato 3 1 10, Nelson 6 0 16, CCarr 1 0 2, Murray 0 0 0, Hayes 3 0 6, Hair 3 0 7, Winters 2 1 5. Totals 20 2 52.

PANAMA (46)

Roth 0 0 0, Brown 1 0 3, Cook 0 0 0, Cooper 4 1 12, Barmore 12 0 25, Hinsdale 1 4 6, Apthorpe 0 0 0. Totals 28 5 46.

3-point goals–Brown, Cooper 3, Barmore, ZCarr 2, Sposato 3, Nelson 2, Hair.

Frewsburg 17 11 13 11 — 52

Panama 8 10 14 14 — 46

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