By Victoria Valdez
The Brookhaven College men’s basketball team took a 74-70 loss in their final game of the season against the Eastfield College Harvesters Feb. 17 at home.
“I thought we played really good defense today, good enough to win,” Kevin Hurst, Brookhaven’s athletic director, said. “We missed too many shots in the paint [and] we missed five layups in the last minute of a 4-point ball game. It’s tough to win that way.”
Harriet Hardamon, mother of Bears guard Blake Hardamon, said: “I think we should’ve won the game. It was very close. There were calls that were made that shouldn’t have been.”
The Bears gave themselves a head start in the first three minutes of the game until Harvesters guard Sean Odum tied the score 9-9. The Bears took back the lead after the Harvesters fouled Hardamon, which sent him to the foul line. He sank one of his two free throws.
The Bears lost the lead when Harvesters guard DaJuan Ridgeway moved the score up 15-12. Forward Mike Fuller pushed the Harvesters up 18-14, and the Bears’ defense weakened after they failed to block the Harvesters’ shots.
Eastfield maintained the lead for the remainder of the first half, ending with a 33-25 score.
Fuller began the first half with a 2-pointer. The Bears fell 15 points behind after Ridgeway scored another 2-pointer, establishing a score of 44-29. The Bears shook off the Harvesters with persistence through the first 10 minutes of the second half, but continued to trail Eastfield.
After mustering a strong defense, Brookhaven closed the gap on Eastfield. Bears guard Logan Dixon tossed a layup to set the score 63-59. The Bears preyed on the Harvesters after Dixon’s shot, and they were given another free throw after a foul against the Harvesters. Dixon scored the free throw, creating a 63-60 score.
With seven minutes on the clock, Bears guard Desmond Funches dribbled the ball past Ridgeway and tossed it to teammate Osaze Muhammad, who scored a 3-pointer that tied the score 63-63.
Shortly after, a foul was called against the Bears, and Odum was awarded two free throws, scoring both of them. Brookhaven briefly regained the lead after Bears guard D’Andre Dudley scored a 3-pointer to set the score 66-65.
But Eastfield would not be behind for long. Harvesters forward Karsiah Duncan scored from the 3-point line.
In the last five minutes, Dixon dribbled down the court and shot a layup with no defense to stop him. Dixon scored the last 2 points the Bears would accumulate.
With the score at 72-70, tensions were high, and many layups were missed by the Bears. Brookhaven tallied up five fouls, while the Harvesters struggled to capitalize on their free throw opportunities.
“We decided to change some things up this season,” Anthony Fletcher, Eastfield head basketball coach and athletic director, said, recalling when the Bears ended the Harvesters’ season in 2017.
“Just to be able to win another conference championship is exciting, but there’s still a lot more work to do for us,” Fletcher said. “I know Brookhaven is going to be making a run in the tournament [because] they are very well coached.”
Dudley said: “We just played hard, but at the end, we just [have] to get ready for conference. That’s all that matters. We started off as No. 1, but it just slipped out of our hands.”
The Bears lost to the Mountain View College Lions in the Metro Athletic Conference tournament quarterfinals Feb. 20.