A Fourth-Quarter Run Carries Pelham Past the Bobcats

We are part of The Trust Project

For three and a half quarters on Friday night, it was just about impossible to tell which team had the upper hand at Byram Hills High School. The showdown between the host Bobcats and red-hot Pelham Pelicans was tied eight different times and neither had been able to build a lead larger than five points.

Byram Hills sophomore Tyson Repa drives the left baseline in search of a bucket in the first half of Friday night’s game against visiting Pelham.

But a 12-3 spurt by the Pelicans in the fourth quarter proved to be decisive as they emerged with a 58-51 victory over a Byram team that had begun the evening with an 8-2 record and seeking to embellish its credentials as one of the top contenders in Class A this season.

“We played hard, but missed two many chippies,” said Bobcat head coach Ted Repa after watching his players fail to finish on several layup tries that might’ve altered the outcome. “And a couple of breakdowns where they got open looks and they were able to capitalize.”

The Pelicans, now 13-2 and winners of seven straight games, were led by sharpshooting juniors Luke Ravitz and Charlie Schellhammer, who each finished with 18 points. It was Ravitz who provided eight of the points during Pelham’s pivotal fourth-quarter run. His fourth 3-pointer of the game, from well behind the arc with 3:15 remaining, opened up a seven-point cushion and all but doomed the Bobcats.

The Bobcats’ Danny Bernstein shoots the ball from the left baseline during Friday’s home game vs. the Pelham Pelicans.

“You know what, I thought we were very evenly matched,” said Repa. “The key to their game was number 3 (Ravitz). He really stepped up for them.”

The Bobcats, who were led by Danny Bernstein’s 17 points and Tyson Repa’s 13, had begun the fourth quarter trailing 42-37. But a rare 4-point play by Bernstein 45 seconds into the period, followed by a steal and coast-to-coast layup from Benny Rakower, gave Byram Hills a one-point lead with 6:24 remaining.

A free throw by Bernstein tied the game for the final time with 4:41 on the clock before Pelham took the lead for good nine seconds later when senior center Garrett Jenkins made a pair of foul shots. The Pelicans’ lead then stretched to 49-44 as Ravitz, a quick-release sniper whose jump shot actually starts near his right hip, connected on a 3-pointer from the top of the key.

After another Bernstein free throw, it was Ravitz again delivering a fateful blow to the Bobcat chances. His final trey of the game, from right in front of his team’s bench, gave Pelham a 52-45 advantage.

“I definitely think it’s a unique standpoint when you go against somebody who has a different release,” said coach Repa, referring to the unconventional form displayed by Ravitz that might’ve surprised his players. “So I don’t know if they were prepared for him to shoot it when he was shooting it.”

Byram Hills, trailing 54-46 after a jump shot by the Pelicans’ Matteo Johnson with just under two minutes to go, got a big break moments later when Johnson was whistled for his second technical foul of the game. But Bernstein, recently named Con Ed Athlete of the Week, was only able to convert on two of the four free throws the Bobcats were awarded.

Bobby Chicoine takes the ball to the basket in the first quarter of Byram Hills’ home game against the Pelicans.

When a perfectly executed half-court inbounds pass from Ben Dreilinger with 1:36 left turned into yet another missed Bobcat layup, the chances of a comeback all but disappeared. Just 30 seconds later, the Pelicans’ Alessio Johnson made sure of it by connecting on a 17-foot jumper from the right baseline after Pelham had used up nearly all of the shot clock.

The Bobcats’ largest lead of the contest, four points, had come late in the opening quarter when Bernstein scored on a put-back of his own miss. They took a 12-10 edge into the second quarter, which featured five lead changes and four ties. Consecutive baskets by sophomore Repa late in the half gave Byram its last lead until the fourth quarter.

But the Pelicans’ Ravitz drained a pair of 3-pointers 25 seconds apart, one off the dribble and the other on a spot-up shot from the corner, that left Byram trailing 25-22. The final points of a first half without a single free throw by either team came on a Repa pullup jumper in the lane with 47 seconds remaining, cutting the Pelham lead to just one point.

The loss to the Pelicans was just the first part of an extremely challenging weekend for the Bobcats, who also had to travel to Tappan Zee less than 24 hours later to face the undefeated Dutchmen in another daunting test.

“It’s gonna be a great experience,” said Repa, seeking to get his team as playoff ready as possible. “Hopefully we learn a lot about ourselves and we show some resolve.”

We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.