On Saturday, March 10, 2018, Syracuse Academy of Science advances to Class C state semifinals with 62-57 win over Bainbridge-Guilford.
It wasn’t easy. But it did feel inevitable.
It took 32 minutes of steely effort, but Syracuse Academy of Science used timely shooting and 20 points from Lyrik Jackson to defeat Bainbridge-Guilford 62-57 on Saturday at the SRC Arena in the Class C regional finals. The win advanced the #SASAtoms into the state semifinals, where they will take on Allegany-Limestone.
“We dug in. We just dug in,” SAS head coach Reginald Pickard said. “We knew that we had it in us we just had to let it come out.”
The Atoms needed all the grit they could muster in the fourth quarter. Trailing 45-44 to start the final frame, SAS put together an 11-2 run to start the fourth, creating a 55-47 advantage. Alexius Pierce, Freey Pleasants and Xyel Bradford all contributed to a run that Jackson capped with a three from the left side.
“That’s what coach teaches us,” Jackson said. “At times like that you can’t feel the pressure, we had to stay calm and be focused. So that’s what we did.”
Bainbridge-Guilford responded with a 8-0 run to even the score at 55, but Jackson, Pierce and Pleasants again combined for a 7-2 run that clinched the five-point win for #SASCS. All in all, the Atoms finished with five players scoring more than five points and three players in double figures.
“We have a great team, and it makes us hard to defend,” Pickard said. “It gives us a balanced attack, and we can spread it out.”
The late run was a product of that depth and a level of resilience after the Atoms had led by as much as nine in the first quarter, only to eventually trail by as much as six in the second.
“It’s a team effort,” Jackson said. “We were flat for a little, and we knew they were a good team. Coach just told us to run, and it was scrappy but it worked out.”
Jackson led the Atoms with 20 points, just missing a double-double with eight rebounds. Pleasants and Pierce added 12 apiece, and Bradford pitched in eight. Abigail Selfridge led all scorers with 23 for Bainbridge-Guilford.
Having unlocked enough of their potential to break into the state semifinals, Pickard said his girls are just getting started.
“Our motto is ‘let me be great.’ It’s about potential,” Pickard said. “It came from one of our coaches who lost her son, he always said, ‘let me be great.’ That’s what we did tonight and what we want to keep doing.”
The Atoms’ next opportunity comes on Friday when they meet Allegany-Limestone. That game is scheduled for an 11:45 a.m. tip at Hudson Valley Community College.