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Flair for the dramatic: Wildcats score another comeback win
The Plano Senior boys basketball team has made a habit out of attempting to dig out of sizeable halftime deficits.
Not by choice and by no means a plan head coach Phil Parlin hopes to fall back on too much.
Nevertheless, it makes for plenty entertaining theatre when the rally pays off and Friday's 50-49 victory over Bishop Lynch in the quarterfinals of the Plano Wildcat Holiday Classic was no different.
"I give our guys credit because they don't quit and they show resiliency," Parlin said. "... We just have to find a way to sustain that kind of intensity for four quarters."
The Wildcats trailed by as many as 14 points during a second quarter in which they were outscored by Lynch, 20-10. Entrenched in a 28-17 hole at halftime, Plano began its comeback trail with a quick 8-0 run within 70 seconds of the third quarter.
Lynch yielded six turnovers in the third stanza alone, allowing Plano's transition game to take form and chip away at the momentum mustered by the Friars in the first half.
"When you play good defense," Parlin said, "it gets your energy up and affects all of your game. Offensively, we started making some shots and went on a big run right off the bat which got us right back in the game."
The Wildcats took their first lead since the 90-second mark of the opening quarter following a putback by senior Dustin Bercutt for a 39-37 lead with 1:14 left in the third stanza.
Bercutt hassled the Friars on the glass all half, recording 14 of his team-high 19 points and bagging six of his nine rebounds -- including five offensive boards -- in the second half.
Lynch's Lupe Alba returned serve before quarter's end though, converting on an and-1 off a steal by Matthew Jordan to give the Friars a 40-39 edge with two seconds remaining in the third.
That same kind of back-and-forth rhythm carried over into the final eight minutes of the game, where the Wildcats and Friars traded the lead five times and were tied on three more occasions.
Plano finally broke through with 50 seconds left in the contest when senior Sheldon O'Neal, who scored five of the Wildcats' 11 fourth-quarter points, set up sophomore Jason Bardgett for the go-ahead basket at 50-49.
The Friars possessed the ball for the remainder of the contest and despite working the ball around Plano's zone defense, showed little urgency and were only able to muster a contested 3-point attempt by Chris Adams just a few feet inside the half-court line that went awry to preserve the Wildcats' win.
"That was interesting," Parlin said. "I don't know if [Lynch] had any timeouts left but it looked like they were playing like they thought they were ahead by one point. That was weird."
Plano dealt Lynch that same zone to open up the game and began with marked success in forcing five turnovers in the first quarter. The Wildcats found themselves on the unfortunate end of five turnovers of their own though, and watched a 7-3 lead slip away as the Friars strung together a 15-1 run that lasted until midway through the second quarter.
"Our frustrations on offense led to us getting frustrated on defense," Parlin said. "Lynch also did a great job against our zone so we had to get out of that and play some man."
Alba, in particular, was key in the Lynch surge by dropping seven of his 19 points in the second quarter, while Drew Bodensteiner chipped in nine points overall.
The Wildcats rebounded in the second half though, with O'Neal complementing Bercutt's game with seven points while Bardgett and senior Broderick Perkins each added five in the win.
Plano advanced to the tournament semifinals where they suffered a 52-34 to Richardson and will meet Jesuit in the third-place game today at 6:30 p.m.
Wildcats finish fourth overall
No second-half magic was to be had in the semifinals against eventual tournament champion Richardson, who dealt the Wildcats a 52-34 setback on Friday.
Plano was victimized by a pair of uneven first and third quarters, which produced five points in each. No Wildcat broke double figures, with Bercutt scoring nine and senior Fred Williams adding eight.
Plano went on to finish fourth in the tournament after falling short against Jesuit, 50-45 -- an outing that saw the Wildcats nearly shave off a 21-6 deficit after one quarter.
On the weekend, Plano broke 2-2 after opening the tournament with a 54-49 overtime win over Carrollton Creekview. Much like the Lynch outing, the Wildcats exploded with a big third quarter to erase a 23-16 halftime deficit.
The Wildcats resume play Friday at 7:30 p.m. when they travel to Coppell.
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