Zak Wolf (@ZakWolf22)
Souderton is no stranger to close games, being on both sides of tight contests this season. Learning from the experience in those games, the “Big Red” were able to fight through adversity on Friday night in a resilient 60-54 double overtime victory against Council Rock South.
“I’m proud of the kids, they were so resilient and they stayed so poised.” Souderton head coach Okoteh Sackitey said. ”That says a lot about their kids and their character, and it was a great win.”
Jay Bonnet (above) had 24 points as Souderton topped CR South in double overtime on Friday. (photo: Zak Wolf/CoBL)
Souderton could’ve easily laid down and called it a night when they let a lead slip in the fourth quarter, but that wasn’t an option.
“We had a lot of chances to give up, but that was never going to happen,” Jay Bonnet said. “We weren’t going to lose that game.”
The senior guard came up huge for his team when they needed him most, coming up with clutch plays down the stretch in the fourth quarter and overtime.
Souderton had led by as much as nine in the third quarter, but a cold stretch in the fourth quarter to go along with sloppy play allowed Council Rock South to take a four-point lead and possession of the ball. Souderton was able to jar the ball loose, which Bonnet picked up and took right to the rim. He was met by a Council Rock defender, but that didn’t matter as he finished through contact for the and one.
“I saw the ball on the ground and I think someone dove for it when I was going to grab it,” Bonnet said. “I picked it up and I knew I had to take it to the hoop and I got the and one. It went by so fast, everything was so crazy, but it was just an awesome play.”
The craziness didn’t stop there, because Souderton was able to get another steal which led to Aleks Smith getting an and-one, giving them the lead back. Council Rock came back down the floor and Bonnet picked up a foul which sent Shane Dawson to the free throw line with a chance to win the game.
“They thought it was a foul and I’m not going to argue because I don’t like to do that,” Bonnet said.
Dawson made the first, but missed the second, sending the game to overtime. In OT, Souderton again found themselves down three, but Levi John knocked down a huge corner three with less than a minute left which led to the second overtime. John only had eight points on the night, but every single one of them came at a big moment. John hit another three Souderton and a Bonnet fastbreak dunk gave Souderton a lead that they would not surrender this time.
Bonnet finished with a game-high 24 points, despite starting off the game a bit slow. Souderton ran their offense through their big man Smith, who scored 10 of his 12 points early on, for much of the first half, but when Council Rock started to pay more attention to him, Bonnet took over. Bonnet had a big third quarter, scoring 10 points in the frame.
“He’s a player and he stepped up and made big plays for us,” Sackitey said. “When he gets confident and when he’s feeling aggressive, he’s extremely dangerous.”
Bonnet was dangerous all night, whether that was knocking down deep 3s or attacking the basket, he made sure the defense was on high alert every time he touched the ball. The senior knocked down four of his eight attempts from beyond the arc and was able to get to the free throw line six times as well. His versatility gave the Golden Hawks fits all night,
“The fact that I can drive the ball and shoot the three really helps,” Bonnet said. ''Because most of the game they’re hugging me off screens when I get outside so I can pump fake and get to the basket, and it helps a lot.”
Bonnet felt comfortable with the ball in his hands and wasn’t afraid of the big moment, even when his team was down. He knows if his teammates get him the ball, that he’ll be able to do something with it,
“He’s got a motor, he’s so hungry and motivated,” Sackitey said. “His motor is great, he doesn’t quit, he’s a dog and he gives 100 percent all the time. He puts in extra work and it’s paying off.”
Bonnet has been a big help to Sackitey, a first-time head coach who has taken Souderton from a team that was 2-14 last season to 10-5 so far this season. Sackitey has been an assistant for 10 years, including stints at Downingtown West, West Chester Rustin before that and time as a graduate assistant at West Chester University.
Sackitey inherited a senior-laden squad, with seven of them, along with juniors who had varsity experience last season as well.
“The experience has been great,” Sackitey said. “I’ve got kids who are working extremely hard, being extremely coachable. I’m fortunate enough to coach these guys and be in this position.
“I feel confident and prepared and I’m just trying to work as hard as possible so I can feel as prepared as possible so I can give these kids the best chance to win”
Souderton: 9 | 14 | 14 | 8 | 4 | 11 || 60
CR South: 9 | 8 | 13 | 15 | 4 | 5 || 54
Souderton: Bonnet 24, Smith 12, John 10, Towsen 7, Blair 3, Vinze 3, Pervy 1
CR South: Holloran 19, Dawson 12, Robinson 9, Schwartz 6, Stock 6, Burns 2