BRIDGEPORT – The Bassick and Harding boys basketball rivalry is more than just another game on the schedule, it is a battle of pride.
Harding, coming off nine-consecutive losses, overcame a nine-point halftime deficit, exploding for 46 points in the final two quarters to stun Bassick 65-62 on Thursday at Harding High.
“Rivalry games you have to throw the records out the window,” Harding coach Lamar Kennedy said. “They have been playing against these kids their whole lives, they’re from the other side of town so we know who they are.
“I knew we would have a shot to be in this game if we executed.”
Marcell Robinson was the difference maker for Harding with 20 points, 16 of which came in the second half.
“I felt like we played good,” Robinson said. “We executed up and down the court on offense and defense. We knew we had to play defense, grab rebounds, and keep our composure. That is all we really had to do, stay together and finish the game.”
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Bassick opened the second half with a 27-19 lead, which progressed to 37-29 before an 11-0 scoring run for Harding to take a 40-37 lead.
“In the second half, especially in that third quarter we outscored them 24-15 to take the lead after being down eight at half time, they just showed their toughness.” Kennedy said.
Harding maintained a one point lead heading into a fourth quarter which featured five separate tied scores as well as five lead changes.
“I am hoping that this win gives us a little momentum going forward,” Kennedy said. “It should, we beat a really good Bassick team who has beaten some tough opponents and now the kids seem like they are buying in more and believing in what I am selling. As long as they keep believing, executing and making free throws down the stretch we will be alright.”
Harding (2-10) earned its first win since defeating Darien 70-61 on Dec. 20. Despite the slow start, Kennedy believes his team still has an outside shot of making the playoffs in his first season at the helm, but with only eight games remaining time is running out.
“Our schedule has been so heavy, we played two defending state champs, we played Danbury when they were the number nine team in the state, and Immaculate was one of those tough games. We just played a heavy schedule to start out the season so I kept telling the kids that we are going to better as the season goes along. There’s a lot of stuff that I put in, they’ve been picking it up which allows me to put more stuff in so as long as they can execute we are going to be a tough out if we can get eight.”
Bassick (6-5) is dealt its second loss in as many days after an 86-69 loss to Middletown Wednesday and will look to get back on track next Wednesday against Capital Prep.
“You need to throw the records out the door when you have these two teams playing against each other,” Bassick coach Bernie Lofton said. “Our kids live together, they play all summer long and all winter long. They probably will be hanging out together later this evening. When you get these types of games there are no records. You just have to come out and play and they outplayed us.”
Bassick and Harding will meet again to close out the regular season on March 2 at Bassick.