Despite a 23-point performance from Troy Bogdahn, Bonny Eagle couldn’t hold off visiting Windham on Friday night, Jan. 29. Eagles Mike Gilman, Nick Curtis and Kyle Kilfoil all hit double-digits on the team’s way to a 62-51 victory over the Scots.
“We came in with a similar defensive strategy as we had in our previous meeting with Bonny Eagle,” said Windham head coach Chad Pulkkinen. “Bogdahn is a great player and we wanted to concentrate on him the most…Isaiah Peters was also a concern.”
Bogdahn dropped in five threes in the game, one of which put his squad on top 8-3 early in the first. It wasn’t long, however, before that advantage slipped away from the Scots: Kilfoil, Gilman and Hunter Coffin all knocked down points as part of a 10-0 run that put Windham up 13-8 at the end of the quarter.
“Guarding Bogdahn became an issue for us, especially in the first half, where we picked up some early fouls that forced us to move a lot of people around,” said Pulkkinen. “The game was called tight and it really affected the way we needed to guard him. He was able to get some good looks and had a great rhythm…He’s a great player and he got our great defenders in foul trouble early, making it difficult to keep him uncomfortable.”
The Scots surged again to begin the second. Peters nailed a three to open the stretch, and soon his team had inched ahead again, 14-13. Then they fell back a bit on their defensive heels. Curtis drained two successive threes and Gilman and Kilfoil also contributed as the Eagles built to 28-20. Bogdahn, Peters and Connor Sirois kept the Scots close, but they still ducked into the locker room down 30-25 at the break.
“Our offense got better as the game went on,” Pulkkinen said. “In the first half, we didn’t do a great job of taking our time and getting the right look. We were settling for the first opportunity.
“[But] our offense can really hurt opposing teams; we have a lot of guys that can hurt you from the outside. We try to take advantage of that strength every game and when we’re moving the ball and making shot, we’re tough to beat.”
Gilman and Zach LaCombe kicked off the third with five Windham points, prying open the team’s lead to 35-25. The battle looked like it might get away from Bonny Eagle, but they fought back once more. Bogdahn and Sirois led a 12-2 charge as the Scots caught all the way up to the Eagles. Midway through the quarter, the scoreboard balanced out at 37-all.
“Our guys did a great job of holding their composure on BE’s runs,” said Pulkkinen. “We knew we had to match their emotion, it being Senior Night (for them)…Our guys did a great job in that atmosphere to hold on for the win.”
Windham cranked up their play a notch as time ticked away. The Scots couldn’t match as Gilman sank two further threes – he finished the game with five – and Curtis bucketed another deuce of twos.
Headed into the fourth, the Eagles led 50-43. Before fouling out, Kilfoil tallied five more; Curtis also continued to score, and Cory Hutchison and Chris Brown spoke up too, propelling Windham to the W.
Pulkkinen praised a number of his boys. “We had a lot of guys step up,” he said, “especially when we had two starters foul out. Kyle Kilfoil had a monstrous game for us. He was able to draw two charges, grab 10 rebounds and add 13 points to really give us a much-needed boost.
“Nick Curtis did a great job controlling the offense and making sure we took care of the basketball, while taking advantage of his opportunities. Nick finished with 18 points, seven assists and four steals.”
“Mike Gilman was patient; it allowed him to trust his teammates and he was able to get great shots. Mike also contributed six rebounds to go along with his 20 points.”
Bonny Eagle drops to 2-15 on the year. The Scots – with just one game left on their regular schedule – linger outside the playoffs, in AA South’s seventh slot. They team ventures to No. 6 Scarborough on Friday the 5th, though even a win there may not bring them enough Heal Points to steal the Storm’s postseason berth.
In addition to applauding the Scots themselves, Pulkkinen aimed lofty compliments at their head coach, Mike Francoeur: “Coach Francoeur is a defensive genius with his matchup zone,” Pulkkinen said. “There’s a reason why his teams have been in tight games with the league’s best. Bonny Eagle is lucky to have a great coach like Francoeur leading them; he’s as good as they get in our league.”
Windham jumped to 7-9 in AA North. The Eagles traveled to top-ranked Thornton on Tuesday the 2nd, losing 77-63; they close their regular season on Friday, at home vs. Gorham. At present, the team is (surprisingly) ranked last in AA North, a very competitive division