BRANDYWINE HUNDRED — For a few minutes on Jan. 3 at Brandywine, it appeared as if the Archmere boys basketball team was on its way to a convincing win against the host Bulldogs. The Auks got the win all right, but it was a 42-40 nailbiter that came down to the final seconds.
The Auks trailed, 10-7, late in the first quarter when Matt McCarthy drained a long three-point attempt to tie the game. Before the first ended, Matt Malloy and McCarthy added threes, giving the Auks a 16-10 lead heading into the second. The long-distance accuracy continued as Charlie Malloy, Aiden Cawley and Charlie Malloy again connected, and Archmere’s advantage grew to 25-10.
But from then until halftime, the Auks’ only point would come on a free throw, and Brandywine clawed its way back into contention. Crisdon Wright got the comeback started with six straight points, followed by a three-pointer by Dadrien Howell. The Bulldogs scored the final six points and trailed by just one, 26-25, at the break.
Archmere opened up a six-point advantage early in the second half, but again, the Bulldogs fought back. They took advantage of opportunities to cut into the lead, with Howell scoring the last five points of the quarter. Two of those came with no time left, as he was fouled attempting a three-pointer and was awarded three shots. The Auks’ lead remained one as the fourth began.
Nyzeir Griffin got open on a back-door play 45 seconds into the fourth to put Brandywine on top, 33-32, for the first time since it was 10-7. Archmere remained aggressive on offense, and McCarthy got the lead right back with two foul shots. McCarthy was responsible for the next three Auks points, scoring in transition after a steal by Chris Albero, and knocking down a free throw for a 37-33 advantage with 5:34 to go.
It took another two minutes, but Wright drained a three to bring his team within one. The Bulldogs had a chance to re-take the lead after an Auks turnover, but they missed a three-pointer. That disappointment proved to be temporary, however, when Howell pilfered the ball near midcourt and went the other way for a layup that put the Bulldogs on top, 38-37.
Again, the Auks answered quickly, with P.J. Blessington hitting a short jumper. The Bulldogs missed a three, and McCarthy hit a pair of free throws with 43.1 seconds to go that extended the lead to 41-38. After a Brandywine turnover, McCarthy hit one of two from the stripe to add to the lead with 10.3 seconds remaining.
Nyzeir Griffin made a follow shot with about two seconds to go, and the Bulldogs called an immediate timeout. The Auks got the ball inbounds and were able to kill the clock.
McCarthy led all scorers with 23, and Charlie Malloy added eight. The Auks (2-1) host Caravel on Thursday at 6:15 p.m.
For Brandywine, Howell had 17, and Wright contributed 9. The Bulldogs (0-6) will look for their first win of the season on Friday at Concord at 4:45 p.m.
All photos by Mike Lang.