Trevor Blondin isn’t one to show much expression, and with Battlefield clinging to a slim lead in the final minute of Saturday’s Bulldog Bash championship against Westfield, the Bobcats were glad to have their stone-cold shooter at the free-throw line.
But Blondin wasn’t exactly composed after missing three of his first five attempts in the game. So with the crowd screaming for the host Bulldogs and last year’s runner-up finish lingering in his mind, Blondin decided to switch up his routine, taking a few extra deep breaths before sinking his four final free throws to secure Battlefield’s 73-70 victory.
“I just had to block everything out and not think about the crowd or those free throws I missed earlier,” said Blondin, who was named tournament MVP after scoring 20 points in the win.
Initially, it was Jamison Glover who deflated the home fans, scoring six of his team-high 24 points to help Battlefield (8-4) open up an early lead. But Westfield (6-5) rallied, converting several Battlefield turnovers into easy transition buckets and building a 22-17 first-quarter lead.
In a game characterized by its runs, the Bobcats struck back, riding Blondin’s seven points during a 12-2 run to take a 38-32 lead into the half.
Glover built on that momentum in the third, draining two of the Bobcats’ four three-pointers in the quarter to extend their advantage to 10 points.
“They were sagging off of Jamison, so I told him he had to step up for us and take advantage of that space by making some plays,” Battlefield Coach Kurt Pauly said. “He really caught fire there in the third.”
The lead wouldn’t last, though, thanks to cold shooting from the Bobcats and inspired play by Westfield’s Travon Walton. During a seven-minute field goal drought for Battlefield, Walton scored eight of his game-high 25 points, sparking a 17-1 Bulldogs’ run that gave Westfield a four-point lead midway through the fourth.
But Blondin refused to let Battlefield settle for another second-place finish. The junior swingman punctuated a 10-0 Bobcat run with the go-ahead three-pointer. After he knocked down his clutch free throws, Christian Gray’s last-gasp three-pointer just missed the mark, and the Bobcats could celebrate their fourth straight win and the tournament title.
“We knew Westfield was a quality team and I told our guys they could go on a run,” Pauly said, “but we kept our composure in a way that we probably wouldn’t have in years past.”