The Bedford High School Boys’ Basketball Buccaneers took what they thought was a commanding 12-point lead into the fourth quarter at the BHS gymnasium on Friday night, then held on until the final seconds to escape with a 45-44 win over Westford Academy.
Playing without leading scorer Justice Buchannan (illness) and key rebounder Jamie Buchannan (ankle), Bedford nevertheless had the game under control for most of the first 24 minutes.
They were led by junior Camdyn Shoesmith (19 points, 15 rebounds after three quarters). But Shoesmith, who made eight of 12 shots and all three of his free throws, went to the bench with his fourth foul at the 6:20 mark of the fourth period and his team up by 12 points.
When he returned, there were two-and-a-half minutes remaining and Bedford was still ahead by five. But the Ghosts’ defense kept the ball out of Shoesmith’s hands, and senior guard Yuvi Gahlaut continued his hot shooting for Westford (26 points, 14 in the fourth quarter).
Shoesmith made what turned out to be part of the game-winning play with his only assist. He caught a pass with his back to the basket, then fed a cutting Melki Volcy. The freshman laid it in and the Bucs led 45-42 with 33 seconds left.
At the other end of the court, Eric Miles blocked Gahlaut’s layup out of bounds. The Ghosts took a time out with 24 seconds to play, then eschewed a quick shot and subsequent foul, choosing to work the ball around looking for the best chance to tie.
Gahlaut finally front-rimmed a three-point attempt and Zander Movsessian converted the rebound to make the score 45-44.
The Ghosts used all but 2.3 seconds on their final possession. When Justin Liberman secured the inbounds pass for Bedford, he went to the line with 1.3 seconds showing – not enough time for Westford to run a play. He missed the foul shot, which ensured that the Ghosts wouldn’t even be able to try a desperation full-court inbounds pass.
Liberman and Volcy each scored nine points to supplement Shoesmith’s offensive output. Miles had three assists and two steals. Bedford turned the ball over 22 times, including nine in the fourth quarter when they held the Academy to five points, but only led by four at halftime.
Bedford, with a record of 6-3, doesn’t play again until Jan. 13. Head Coach Anthony Halls said he hopes the Buchannans will be ready to take the court.