Bodnar's clutch three saves day for Shawnee

Posted: March 08, 2011

Same gym. Same shot.

Different basket. Different player. Different result.

"Live by the sword, die by the sword," Williamstown coach Bill Hunt said, summing up two wild endings in three nights in the Braves' sold-out gymnasium.

This time, it was Shawnee senior Joe Bodnar drilling a 25-foot jumper as the buzzer sounded to lift the Renegades to a 53-51 victory over Williamstown in the South Jersey Group 4 championship game Monday night.

On Friday night, Williamstown won when Curtis Hopkins hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to lift the Braves to a 45-42 victory over Lenape in the semifinals.

"That has to be one of the biggest shots in Shawnee history," Renegades' coach Joe Kessler said. "It was an unbelievable shot."

Bodnar made six three-point jumpers, scored 11 in the fourth quarter and finished with 24 points for seventh-seeded Shawnee (19-7), which continued a remarkable postseason run and advanced to face Central Jersey champion Rancocas Valley on Wednesday night at Egg Harbor Township.

Senior forward Matt Chiusano added 23 points for the Renegades, who lost five in a row in midseason and lost another three of four before the start of the state tournament.

"We hit the skids there for a while," Bodnar said. "But the last couple of games we've been battling."

Hopkins scored 18 and fellow senior guard Julian Martin added 11 points with five rebounds and four steals for top seeded Williamstown (25-4), which had won 21 in a row.

The game featured big second-half swings in momentum before a capacity crowd of 1,650.

Williamstown built a 36-29 lead late in the third quarter behind Hopkins and Martin.

Shawnee seized command as Bodnar opened the fourth quarter with a pair of three-pointers as well as a two-point jumper.

The Renegades stretched their advantage to 45-38 with 3 minutes, 40 seconds on the clock on Chiusano's layup.

But Williamstown surged back as D'Shawn Haines, Alssene Saintilus and Hopkins hit three-pointers and Martin fought his way for loose balls and offensive rebounds.

"Both teams played so hard," Kessler said.

Chiusano's short jumper gave Shawnee a 49-47 lead at the 1:06 mark. Martin answered with a bucket off an offensive rebound with 37 seconds left.

Chiusano made one free throw at 0:33, but Martin grabbed another offensive rebound and scored at 0:12 to give Williamstown a 51-50 lead.

Shawnee nearly lost possession, but called timeout with 2.5 seconds on the clock.

"We wanted to get Matt on the lob, " Kessler said. "It was there, but our guy couldn't make the inbounds pass."

Joe Bodnar took the inbounds pass from Ryan Bodnar, his younger brother. Joe Bodnar took one dribble and unleashed his fourth shot of the fourth quarter.

Like the other three, it hit nothing but net.

"As soon as I let if go, I knew it was good," Bodnar said.

Anybody who was in the gym on Friday night probably felt the same way.

Shawnee 12 9 12 20 – 53

Williamstown 8 14 1 13 – 51

S: Matt Chuisano 23, Joe Bodnar 24, Josh Borrelli 2, Ryan Bodnar 4, Jesse Shea 0.

W: Curtis Hopkins 18, Julian Martin 10, D'Shawyn Haines 11, Saintilins 10, Marqis Little 2.

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