On to final

Bristol recovers from poor first quarter, beats Windham, 65-51

Special to Tribune Chronicle / Dianna Oatridge Windham's Tyler Collins, left, and Bristol's Danny Lamosek fight for possession of a loose ball Tuesday at Grand Valley High School in a Division IV district semifinal. The Panthers won, 65-51, and will play Cornerstone Christian Friday evening for the district championship.

ORWELL — After a forgetful first quarter, Bristol put things together and beat Northeastern Athletic Conference foe Windham for the second time in three meetings, this time by a 65-51 score in a Division IV district semifinal game at Grand Valley High School.

Windham (19-5) seemed to be more than prepared for this game as the Bombers got out to a 6-0 lead before Bristol (22-2) needed a timeout with 5:57 left in the first quarter. Windham continued to play great defense as it pushed the lead to 12-5 and then caused another timeout with about two minutes left as the Bombers were up 17-5.

Windham led 19-7 after the first quarter. Mason Angle has nine points in the quarter. A loud spike of Bristol coach Craig Giesy’s water bottle signified everything the team needed to hear.

“We turned the ball over a lot. Defensively, they caused some chaos and we really had trouble settling in,” Giesy said. “We had to burn two timeouts early and then it still wasn’t pretty at the end of the quarter.”

Bristol began to pick it up a bit in the second quarter. Windham needed a timeout with 6:24 left in the half as Bristol got within seven points.

Special to Tribune Chronicle / Dianna Oatridge Bristol's Tommy Donadio goes to the basket against Windham defenders Mason Angle, left, and Eric Park, right, Tuesday night at Grand Valley.

With three minutes left in the half, Windham was up six at 25-19. Bristol then got two straight and-1 opportunities that it converted to tie the game at 25 just a minute later.

Windham led at the half, 27-25.

“We played terrific defense in the first quarter. We got them out of rhythm a little bit. Their offense is really rhythm-oriented,” Windham coach Marty Hill said about the first half. “Coach (Don) Ridenbaugh, our defensive coordinator, did a good job getting everyone ready. We got in foul trouble. Mason, our leading scorer, went out and Eric (Park) went out.”

Bristol started the second half on a 7-2 run before a Windham timeout.

The Panthers began to take control of the game, opening a 42-33 lead before another Windham timeout.

Special to Tribune Chronicle / Dianna Oatridge Windham's Terrance Woods tries to put up a shot as Bristols' Matt Church (14) and Bobby Evan (20) defend.

“Coach told us that we had to pick up the intensity. We’ve never really had that happen to us in the first quarter so we were shell-shocked,” Bristol’s Bryan Gabrielson said. “Every time that you play a team three times, it’s hard to prepare for.”

Bristol led, 46-37, after three quarters.

Windham and Bristol stayed close the entire quarter but some timely missed free throws by the Bombers left them short. They were as close as 56-51 with about two minutes remaining before the Panthers finished the game on a 9-0 run.

“Damian (Durst) came in an had the best stretch of the game late. He had two or three steals and took that key charge,” Giesy said. “He put the finishing touches on the game. Gage (Elza) came in and played well. I was pleased with how scrappy we were defensively.”

Gabrielson finished with 24 points to lead the Panthers. Elza and Tommy Donadio scored 12 apiece and Bobby Evan added 10. Donadio had five assists and Elza and Gabrielson grabbed nine rebounds each.

Mason Angle finished with 15 points for the Bombers and Blaze Angle scored 13 and grabbed eight rebounds. Park finished with four assists.

Now, Bristol goes on to face the No. 1 team in the bracket in Cornerstone Christian on Friday at 7 p.m.