For the second year in a row, Drexel fought to capture the Archie Tournament with a 67-58 win over Barstow Jan. 26.
“It feels good,” Drexel junior forward Javyn Johnston said of second-year trophy. “Not a lot of teams have done that. It feels good being in that class.”
The Bobcats had a 18-12 advantage at the end of the first quarter and led 33-25 at halftime. In the third quarter, after a Barstow score, both Drexel senior forward Daniel Roberts and senior guard Trevor Cooley put in a basket to make the score 37-27.
The Knights responded with two shots of their own to close the gap to 37-31, but Drexel came back with a basket each by Johnston and Roberts. Later in the quarter, with Drexel ahead at 44-37, the Bobcats took a run through the end of the quarter with a three-pointer apiece from senior forward CJ Bolton and Johnston and a basket from Cooley to put Drexel up 52-37.
In the fourth quarter, after a basket from Bolton, Barstow went on a 8-0 run to close the gap to 54-45. Drexel responded with a three-pointer from Johnston, but the Knights came back with two three-pointers to make the score 56-51.
Senior guard Russell hit a shot, but Barstow retaliated with a basket and a free throw to make the score 58-54. But Johnston and Cooley were both fouled, sinking three of four free throws. Barstow hit a basket and Cooley hit another free throw to make the score 62-56.
After a Knight basket, Drexel was ahead 62-58 with just a minute left in the game. Barstow fouled Russell, Johnston and Cooley to end the game, who hit five of six free throws to seal the victory.
“We played well,” Johnston said. “The last couple of minutes we kind of let up. A lot of times when we have the lead, when there are some minutes left, we just let it go. So that’s something we need to fix. But good teams pull it out and that’s what we did.
“It was definitely our rebounding and defense. And we nailed the free throws to stretch the lead out.”
Drexel, 16-1, was led in scoring by Johnston with 26 points and Cooley with 21. Bolton had 11 points, Russell added five points and Roberts had four points.
“This was a game that really showed what an overall team we are this year,” Drexel head coach Dennis Bolton said. “We had everyone contribute, Roberts and (Trevor) Stewart defended their big man great. Johnston and Cooley shut down their point guard and (Cody) Russell and Bolton put the ball in the hot hands of the shooters. It was truly a great team effort. The boys are really playing well right now and it was great to win the Archie tournament for the second time in a row.”