continued Jayson Brower led B’ville with 20 points, just ahead of Kevin Drain, who earned most of his 18 points in the first half. Aiello and Ben Diorio had 10 points apiece.
B’ville ended up in Friday’s consolation game against Mexico, who lost to ESM 58-53 in the other opening-round game.
This time, there would be no late letdown, the Bees turning back the Tigers 75-58 in large part due to Drain’s dominance in the paint.
Constantly finding his way to open space for easy baskets, Drain helped B’ville break out of a 12-12 tie in a productive second quarter, the Bees gaining a 36-26 lead.
Then Drain really got going, as he scored 18 of his 26 points in the second half to earn an All-Tournament team spot and help his side pull away. Marshall added 12 points, while Cameron Skipworth gained nine points off the bench, just ahead of Aiello (eight points) and Diorio, who got seven points.
By contrast, the B’ville girls team, off since a Dec. 18 defeat to Auburn, could not find any sort of rhythm at any point in last Thursday’s 52-28 defeat to ESM.
Through the first three periods, the Bees rarely converted baskets against a determined ESM defense, the deficit steadily growing to 34-10 by halftime and 48-17 by the time they reached the fourth quarter.
During the game, no B’ville player had more than four points, done by Hope DeFazio, Gabi Jordan, Sarah Abraham and Emily Buis. By contrast, six ESM players had five or more points, with Nicole Cassella (13 points) and Amanda Marsh (11 points) leading the way.
Somehow, B’ville turned it around on Friday and beat Auburn 56-54 to finally break its four-game skid and avenge a 50-43 defeat to those same Maroons just 10 days earlier.
Nothing about this game was easy. Tied 11-11 after one period, the Bees saw the Maroons grab a 29-23 edge by halftime, only to fight back in the third quarter, making up most of the deficit and pulling within one, 42-41.
Down the stretch, it was the Bees hitting the crucial baskets, especially Jordan, who broke out for a season-best 22 points and getting ample help from freshman Emily Pascale, who had 10 points, and DeFazio, who contributed eight points. Anna Giannone led Auburn with 17 points.
Each of the B’ville sides play Corcoran on Friday after the boys Bees have a Wednesday game with Rome Free Academy.