Bonnabel came into Friday night hoping to wipe away the memory of its 53-42 loss to West Jefferson on Jan. 13, but instead the Buccaneers made sure they experienced it all over again.
Trevanta Robertson repeated his 21-point, five-steal performance from the Buccaneers’ win earlier in the season as they handed Bonnabel another double-digit loss, 56-41, in a pivotal District 8-5A matchup at Bonnabel on Friday night.
West Jefferson improved to 18-10 and 6-1 in District 8-5A, while Bonnabel fell to 20-4, 6-3.
“Bonnabel felt like this was their opportunity for a revenge game, and I just told the guys to play hard,” said West Jefferson coach Brian Simmons, whose team extended its win streak to five games. “If we did some of those things we did in the first game, I knew we would have a chance.”
In the fourth quarter, West Jeff’s guard trio of Robertson, Santana Jacobs and Jonathan Dalton took over the game, scoring 21 of their team’s 25 points in the final period to ice the win.
Despite possessing lesser overall records than fellow 8-5A members like Helen Cox and Bonnabel (20-4, 6-3), West Jeff’s 6-1 record in district should help it in the LHSAA’s power rankings, where it entered Friday one spot (No. 11) ahead of Bonnabel (No. 12).
“This win is big for us, because we’re trying to get a home game (during the playoffs),” Robertson said. “We’re just working on getting that home game and finishing first in district.”
With their deficit growing as large as 24-11 early in the third quarter, Bonnabel deployed its full-court press, which sped the Buccaneers up on offense and forced them into numerous mistakes. With West Jeff struggling to protect the ball, the Bruins went on a 14-3 run that cut the Buccaneers’ lead to 27-25 after a Terry Collins layup.
In the final minutes of the period, West Jeff began to do a better job handling the Bruins’ pressure defense and took a 31-28 lead into the fourth quarter.
West Jeff led 19-9 at halftime.
“We’ve gone through our trials and tribulations in the earlier part of the season, and our focus has really been on defense,” Robertson said. “My teammates are doing a great job of helping me out and the coaches put us in a position to win.”
Robertson, in particular, made things difficult for Bonnabel center Joseph Thompson in the first half with his pesky defense on the 6-foot-6 center. Thompson didn’t score his first point of the game until making one of two free throws with 3:24 left in the second quarter—his only point of the first half.
The Bonnabel big man’s frustration with his first-half struggles even grew to the point where he was assessed a technical foul late in the second quarter after a foul call.
Thompson finished the game with 10 points, seven rebounds and four steals.
“We ask him every game to guard the other team’s best player,” Simmons said, referring to Robertson. “To have a two-way player like him is truly a blessing. With Trevanta being as quick as he is, it becoming frustrating for (Thompson).”