Bristol rolls to Class A title

Posted: March 02, 2014

Tyrone Lewis said his biggest challenge in taking over as Bristol boys' basketball coach this season was getting the players to believe in his system.

"We want to have a versatile, up-tempo attack, use a lot of full-court pressure," Lewis said. "It was more of a slow-down style under the old coach [Frank Sciolla]."

Friday at Villanova's Pavilion, flourishing in the open court and on the boards, the Warriors rolled past Bicentennial Athletic League rival Calvary Christian, 65-40, to earn their first District 1 Class AA championship since 2001.

"Playing four quarters of basketball the right way, that's pretty special," Bristol senior forward Ryan Rigby said. "It's really sweet to accomplish this."

The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Rigby, a tight end and defensive end in football, registered 12 points, nine rebounds (five on offense), and three assists.

"I like football a lot, but I've always been a basketball guy," Rigby said. "There's so much action, with a lot of back-and-forth play. Nothing beats it."

Lewis, who starred at Harry S Truman (Class of 2006) and Niagara (2010), said there was some dissension in the ranks when he took over for Sciolla, now the boss at Conwell-Egan. Rigby was one of the first to fall in line.

"Without Ryan, there probably wouldn't have been a season for us," Lewis said. "He and Chad [Palmer] were very key for me in getting the other kids to believe in the things I was trying to do."

Next Saturday, at a neutral site and a time to be determined, the Warriors (16-9) will face High School of the Future, District 12's fourth-place qualifier, in the first round of the state tournament.

Against Calvary Christian, junior Aidan Coughling drilled four three-pointers en route to a game-high 17 points. Palmer was also a double-digit scorer, with eight of his 10 points coming in the second half.

Ahead by 34-27 in the third quarter, Bristol blew the game open with a 13-0 explosion. Pierson Burton's steal and breakaway dunk provided a 47-27 cushion.

Robert Morales paced the Cougars (20-5) with 12 points. Their catalyst, Jon Boback, went scoreless over the last 19 minutes and finished with seven points. Palmer (six boards, three assists) and sub Brandon Wallick took turns guarding the 1,000-point career scorer.

Bristol 11 15 15 24 - 65

Calvary Christian 12 9 6 13 - 40

B: Pierson Burton 7, Chad Palmer 10, Sieed McFadden 7, Ryan Rigby 12, Aidan Coughling 17, Ryan Wienkopff 2, Brandon Wallick 2, Trevor Leone 3, Jabbul Rankins 2, Pete Mucci 3.

CC: Robert Morales 12, Micah Doran 7, Jon Boback 7, Peter George 4, Sam Bair 8, Joel Thibodeau 2.

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