By Dylan Friebel 




Electric is what you would use to describe the atmosphere inside the gym at Bethlehem High School on Tuesday Night. The Eagles used a big third quarter to pull away and get the win over Saratoga 75-65 and take the top spot in the Suburban Council Blue Division and Class AA behind Patrick Ryan’s game high 20 points.


It was a match up of undefeated teams before the contest tonight and everyone knew what was on the line as warm ups started. However it was not a ‘wow look at him go’ game for Bethlehem, as they used key reserves and all around team effort in the win.


As the game got started it was clear these were two heavyweights throwing blows, back and forth they went, it was 16-16 with three minutes left in the first when Saratoga Called a time out and we all could catch our breathe. However it was Bethlehem who found themselves trailing in the closing seconds of the quarter when Justin Barnes hit a corner three to give the Eagles a 21-20 edge going into the second.


The pace slowed down in the second and as it should. However both teams were throwing punches. Just as the first quarter ended so did the first with Jake Laclair hitting a three for the Eagles to break a tie and they had a 37-34 advantage going into the half.


“They were shooting the ball very well.” Said Saratoga Coach Matt Usher. “It was fast paced and i was happy with how our guys were able to keep it close with the way they were shooting.”


The second half saw the Eagles storm out the gate and with two quick threes by Patrick Ryan, Bethlehem had a 9 point advantage a minute into the second half. Bethlehem went on to dominate the third quarter and were ahead 62-50.


That's when things got interesting, Saratoga went on a 16-4 run to close to game to within 3 at 64-61 with about 3 minutes left but they were no match for Bethlehem. Key Reserve William Davis got the ball in the corner and pumped fake, drove baseline and hit a tough and-one opportunity as the place went wild. It was the second game in a row he had done that and that all but sealed the 75-65 win as Bethlehem Improved to 13-0 Overall 9-0 League and Saratoga Fell to 11-1 Overall and 8-1 League.


“My teammates are great at finding me” Davis said. “The guy flew out and I had the open lane and took it. We want to keep looking forward but all we can afford is the next game and that's Columbia, we like to take it one quarter at a time. Tonight was great though, our fans came out, all the parents and little kids, it was great.”


With a game high 20 points behind six three pointers, Senior Patrick Ryan helped extended the lead after the half for the Eagles and they never looked back.


“We came out of the half ready to play and my teammates did a great job finding me open tonight.” He said. “Coach really emphasized that we need to close out quarters and no turnovers and today we just executed. Mike (Oratle) is so important to us. He doesn't always have to fill up the stats sheet and some people don't realize that, he finds the open man and makes all of us better. It was electric here tonight, we had all our fans here and everyone was jawing at each other, it was great out there.”
Saratoga placed three players in double figure scoring led by Will Fox with 18 points. Aiden Holmes added 16 points, while Nate Chudy chipped in with 13 points.


With the Win Tuesday Night over the Blue Streaks, the Eagles have set themselves up to take the first overall seed come sectionals time. What once was a wide open Class AA now might have just become tighter as i am sure everyone there Tuesday wants to see a rematch come March for the Title.