SCH holds off Germantown Academy

Posted: January 20, 2012

Bobby Keyes gave the slip to his defender, dashed far down the way and gathered in a pass from Michael Hayes.

Some things never change.

That scenario happened 19 times during football season, and Friday we saw a repeat in a basketball game. One that produced a surprising result, in fact.

Although it was missing two key starters, Billy Dooley (downturn after recent concussion) and Luke Mulvaney (knee miseries, since early December), and two other starters, Malik Garner and Ryan Smith, were spotted limping around the court several times, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy sprung a major surprise on visiting Germantown Aacdemy.

The score in the Inter-Ac League contest, played before an overflow crowd, was 53-48 and somehow the Blue Devils never slipped into the red.

There was one tie, at 29-29, and the 6-foot, 210-pound Keyes, a junior point guard, broke that at the very last instant of the third quarter.

Starting on the left baseline, he motored hard to the hoop and curled in a reverse, off-the-glass layup that featured all kinds of backspin.

In all? Glad you asked.

Though basketball is definitely his far-and-away No. 2 sport, Keyes finished with 19 points and six assists. Pretty darn good for a guy who looks as if he'd be much more comfortable hoisting a barbell, as opposed to dribbling a basketball.

"I played point guard in CYO ball and on the JV here," Keyes said. "But . . . "

True. It's not the same.

Admittedly, Keyes had help, because most of the Blue Devils, even the 6-6 Garner, who's bound for UMBC, spent time up top to make sure a very careful offense ran smoothly.

"Billy Dooley [bound for American; son of coach Bill Dooley] played in Tuesday's game, and then we found out after Wednesday's film session that he wouldn't be able to go today," Keyes said. "Our idea was to have someone out front who'd get the least amount of ball pressure, so we could get into our offense easier.

"We were looking for the best matchups. We wanted to make them chase and then get the best possible shot. If a good shot was there, from anywhere, we were allowed to take it. I like running the offense. Getting to call it."

If the early launchings turn into bricks, the plan can disintegrate. But there was Hayes, taking a pass from Keyes and making it 3-0. Then, there were those guys again, pulling off a vice versa to make it 6-0.

That great start boosted the players' confidence, while at the same time getting the SCH loyalists even more into the proceedings.

To some degree, the turnout surprised Keyes. Because of a dustup between the schools' fans at a recent hockey game, a decision was made to start this one at 4 o'clock.

There were other sporting events both on and off campus. Didn't matter.

"We had a Friday morning meeting," Keyes said. "The main point was, 'Get out and support.' I knew there'd be a decent crowd, but not that big."

Hayes was sensational in the first half, sniping 5-for-6 on treys en route to 17 points. He missed his only two attempts beyond intermission, but nailed two free throws to finish with 19 points.

Pretty amazing, right? The rugged grid guys combined for 38 of the 53 points. Garner settled for eight and Smith added five. Off the bench, Andrew Dowds drew major fan reaction with some tough offensive rebounds.

For GA, best-shooters Nick Lindner and James Drury combined to go only 3-for-17 from the floor; all makes were by Lindner (11 points). Greg Dotson, showing savvy inside and out, had 20 points.

The final 2 minutes took just short of 20, thanks to numerous fouls, timeouts, offense-defense substitutions and, um, discussions with referees.

After Dotson hit a right-corner trey and SCH committed a turnover, the Patriots, down by 51-46, still had life with 14 seconds remaining. Sub Cameron Retif could not connect from deep on that same side, however, and Hayes converted a double-bonus.

"We never questioned whether we'd win the game," said Keyes, who lives in Huntingdon Valley, where Abington eases into Lower Moreland. "When they tied it on us, we had to stick together as a team and keep playing our best."

When asked to compare the feelings he gets from football and basketball, Keyes said: "In football, you get to take breaks. In basketball, it's pretty much nonstop. You have to work hard at keeping your poise."

Friday, that P produced a W.

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