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Donovan Stewart (3) and the Roosevelt Bears knocked off Southgate Anderson Friday night at home. Photo by Dave Chapman

Basketball - Boys

BOYS' BASKETBALL: Roosevelt comes from behind to oust Anderson (PHOTOS)

Donnie Corley (left) and the Roosevelt Bears overcame an eight-point deficit, along with 34 points from Anderson's Connor Phee, and came away with a win Friday night. Photo by Dave Chapman

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Not even Connor Phee’s 34 points and six 3-pointers could stop the Roosevelt boys’ basketball team on Friday night.

The Bears erased an eight-point halftime deficit and played effective team basketball en route to a 57-55 win over Downriver League rival Anderson.

“Our Achilles heel all year has been our inability to play smart basketball - we don’t play smart in long spurts,” Roosevelt Coach Shawn Stewart said. “But I think we turned it around in the second half, we just needed to see the ball go in the cylinder a couple times to gain confidence. That happened for us, and we also played really good defense, I thought, in the second half.”

The game looked more like a track meet than a basketball matchup in the first half, with both teams firing up wild shots, grabbing the boards and then quickly hustling into transition.

The first quarter came and went with only two free-throw attempts between the teams (both for Roosevelt) and a 13-13 tie by the time the buzzer went off. But in the second quarter, everyone seemed to settle down a bit. Especially Phee.

The senior caught fire for the Titans just before the half, draining four 3-pointers on his way to 18 second-quarter points. He was the primary reason why Anderson headed into the half with a 34-26 lead.

Titans Coach Dave Pratt said he wasn’t surprised by Phee’s second-quarter explosion.

“He’s a four-year varsity player and we’ve grown to expect a lot of what we get out of him,” Pratt said. “He’s been stepping up big, but we just have to finish games strong and he has got to be a part of that. That’s his next step.”

Phee cooled down in the third quarter, hitting only one of his four third-quarter field goal attempts. Meanwhile, on the other end of the court, Roosevelt started to heat up. They outscored the Titans 10-6 in the third quarter and then really got cooking in the fourth.

Tyler Thorington scored eight of Roosevelt’s 21 fourth-quarter points and the Bears took their first lead since the early moments of the first quarter when Jakob Lavis drained a clutch 3-pointer at the 2:37 mark to give Roosevelt the one-point lead.

“Jakob’s a shooter, and I harp on him all the time that ‘I like threes but I like layups a lot more,’” said Stewart. “And so I tell him a lot to try to get high percentage shots. But it’s something we practice a lot, we do a lot of Princeton shooting drills and he caught that in rhythm and hit a big shot for us.”

The lead would change hands three times during the final two-and-a-half minutes, including a big three-point play by Anderson’s DeJon Matthews with two minutes left on the clock.

After a big bucket by Thorington inside to make it 57-55, Matthews did his best to create his own shot but missed a pull-up jumper in the lane with less than twenty seconds left.

Roosevelt would gain possession, get fouled, and miss a free throw, leaving Anderson’s window cracked open. Matthews would then again drive his way into the lane, this time getting fouled with 1.4 seconds left.

With the opportunity to send the game into overtime by netting both free throws, Matthews missed the first and had to clank the second on purpose in hopes of regaining possession, but the Bears recovered the rebound as time expired.

Pratt said despite Matthews’ struggles in the final minute, he won’t shy away from putting the ball in his hands late in games.

“DeJon knows he didn’t have a great game tonight - he expects to be a lot better,” Pratt said. “But I’ll live with him having the ball in his hands late. Next time he’ll hit those free throws.”

Phee’s 34 points led all scorers. He also led the Titans in rebounds, pulling down 11. Matthews added 15 points.

Thorington paced Roosevelt with 12 points and 9 rebounds. Lavis scored 16 in the win and Donnie Corley added 12.

The Bears improve to 6-5 on the season while Anderson falls to 6-6.

The Titans will head back home to take on Allen Park on Monday, the same day Roosevelt welcomes a talented Bloomfield Hills Lasher team into Wyandotte.

Last Updated: 2/1/2014 3:57:16 AM EST