ARMONK, N.Y. – Clutch performances are becoming a habit for Brian Skelly.
The Byram Hills guard followed up his miraculous, game-tying, season-saving three-pointer against Beacon in the opening round with five three-pointers in the third quarter Tuesday against Somers to carry the Bobcats past the Tuskers, 76-58, in the quarterfinals.
“That shot last game definitely gave me a lot of confidence,” Skelly said. “My teammates just found me in the open spots and I just kept shooting and it was going in.”
Somers fought and clawed to stay in the game in the first half and trailed 31-30 at halftime. But Skelly caught fire in the third quarter and the Bobcats built at 59-43 lead that proved too massive for Somers to overcome.
The Bobcats clung to a slim halftime lead and did not want a repeat of what happened during the opening-round scare against No. 17 Beacon. Head coach Ted Repa said that game paid dividends Tuesday.
“Those type of experiences certainly help you because you think you’re dead and somehow you survive,” Repa said. “There’s a sense of gratefulness to where you are and you take nothing for granted at that point. So, I think maybe we needed it.”
And who better to turn to in the second half than Skelly, who showed against Beacon that he had the ability to carry the Bobcats to victory. Skelly said he felt flat in the first half, but a pep talk from his coach changed everything.
“I literally told him right before we went out. I said, ‘Brian, you’ve got to be more aggressive,’ ” Repa said. “Because you look at the match ups, that was someplace we thought we could take advantage of. And it helps when you get hot.”
The Bobcats reached the Westchester County Center for the third straight season and need two wins to capture the gold ball. Skelly is ready should the situation arise when the team needs him to make another clutch shot or two.
“We’re all ready,” Skelly said. “We’ve got a bunch of seniors with a bunch of experience and we’re all ready for the big moment.”