Tim Rogers

The Ellet basketball team began the week with its collective backs planted squarely against the City Series wall and for the first 25 minutes on Tuesday, Kenmore did nothing but tighten the screws.

With their chances of repeating as league champs hanging by a thread, the Orangemen (10-5, 6-3 City) did their best imitation of some kind of superheroes. They broke the chains albeit perhaps briefly and came from behind to stun the visiting Cardinals 66-55 to live for another day in the City Series race.

We have to win out in order to have a chance, Ellet coach Mark Fisher said of his team heading into Fridays showdown with league-leading Firestone.

The Orangemen still have their backs against the wall but the screws have loosened somewhat. A win at Firestone would make things even brighter as Ellets remaining games are against East and North, both at home, where the Orangemen lose about as often as the Harlem Globetrotters.

The Cardinals (9-5, 7-3) have remaining games against Buchtel (7-2 in the City) and Firestone (8-1).

Fisher said Ellet owns the first tiebreaker against Buchtel and Kenmore. Buchtel also has a game remaining against Firestone, as well as East.

The top two teams reach the playoffs.

For the first three-plus quarters, it appeared the tiebreaker would be rendered meaningless. Then the Orangemen began playing with meaning. After trailing by as many as 12 points, they pulled into a 49-49 tie with 4:46 left and went on to outscore Kenmore 17-6 the rest of the way.

Kenmore had the upper hand in the first half. Senior Erik Palmer scored 10 of his team-high 22 points and pulled down nine of his 15 rebounds and Ellet had trouble getting the ball in the basket, missing 20 of its first 27 shots. The Cardinals also had a 21-13 edge in rebounds and seemingly got to every loose ball.

Fisher switched to a smaller lineup and the change proved big. Ellet forced Kenmore into turnovers on six of its first eight possessions to start the second half.

That was a welcome change, almost as welcome as the return of guard Jared Jones. The 5-foot-11 junior returned to the lineup for the first time in almost six weeks after recovering from a broken wrist and responded with three consecutive 3-point baskets to start the fourth quarter en route to a 12-point night. Jones had made 16 3-pointers in his first six games.

Its nice to have another intelligent player on the floor who can shoot 3-pointers, Fisher said.

Its also nice to have a player like 6-9 junior A.J. Gareri, who did nothing to tarnish his bid for player-of-the-year honors. Gareri finished with 27 points, scoring 16 in the second half. He also had 13 rebounds and three blocked shots.

Junior Marquis Bridges finished with 11 points and seven rebounds and senior Miller Byrd had eight points for Ellet.

Junior Thomas Woods scored 13 points to back the athletic Palmer but no one else was close to double figures.

Gareri broke the 49-all tie with two free throws and Jones followed with a 3-pointer after a series of nice passes. A Kenmore turnover led to a layup by Joe Williams off a nifty pass by Byrd that gave Ellet a 56-50 lead.

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