Highlights from Elco's 72-67 loss against Annville-Cleona Tuesday, including Mason Bossert scoring his 1,000th career point. Matt Catrillo/GameTimePA.com
MYERSTOWN – Mason Bossert is one of those players who make the game look easy.
That’s the obvious.
But what’s not so well-known is the way Elco’s leading scorer approaches each game – with simplicity.
Bossert always says when asked about how he stays “in the zone” is just by letting the game come to him and trust the teaching from his coaches.
But let’s face it, even players as great as Bossert are human – and when they know a prestigious milestone is close – it’s hard for them to ignore.
And that often leads to an uncharacteristic start.
But once he got that monkey off his back, Bossert went back to being the same old dangerous player he’s been, becoming the fourth player in Elco history to reach the 1,000-point plateau - unfortunately in a losing effort, as the Raiders dropped a critical Section Three matchup with Annville-Cleona 72-67 Tuesday at Elco High School.
After a slow start with just three points in the first quarter, Bossert finally settled in during an 11-point second, including hitting the big one on the foul line with 1:50 left in the half. He finished with a game-high 25 points.
Bossert said, “I think it's special, but I give it all to my teammates because they always set me up for open looks. They just told me to let the game come to me and they’ll get me my 1,000th.”
And while trusting his teammates during game-play as he’s always done, Bossert continued reeling in advice from the coaches he’s entrusted his development to from the beginning.
“At first I was a little anxious, trying to score right away. When coach (Brad Conners) took me out he said, ‘Just let it come. You’re going to get it.’ They’re like family. They just mean so much to me and I wouldn’t trade the world for them.”
In addition to his potent shooting, Conners also complimented another important but underlying element to his go-to guy’s game that’s been so critical to the team.
“He’s just been steady for us the past four years. He doesn’t turn the ball over,” Conners said. “And in a game like tonight, it’s critical. You know at some point his shot will start to go, and so it’s nice to know you have it, It’s nice to know you have someone who can bring the ball up and take care of it. It’s been a luxury the last four years. It’s a great night for Mason, congratulations to him.”
Despite a memorable night for Bossert, the Raiders still find themselves toward the basement of its section, needing vast improvement if they want to have any shot of being in the postseason conversation.
Elco didn’t go down without a fight however, putting together a gritty second-half performance, starting the third quarter on an 8-2 run to pull within 39-34, after trailing by 11 at the half.
Then after the Dutchmen started showing signs of pulling away thanks to a 13-7 run to lead 56-43 after three, the Raiders stormed back with a 15-5 run to pull within 61-58 with 3:38 left.
“I thought down the stretch we did some good and some bad,” Conners said. “I thought there was an opportunity to win the game, because Annville had left the door open. It’s happened to us a number of times, and we’re not taking advantage of those opportunities. A lot of it is a lack of execution in certain moments.”
And A-C, as they have through most of the season so far, buckled down when it mattered most, while also hitting just enough free throws to close out the win, including Cameron Hoch who finished 6-for-9 on the way to a team-high 20 points.
Now the Dutchmen continue their upward swing in the section standings on a three-game win streak.
“We’ve seen adversity now throughout the season,” A-C coach Chris Bradford said. “When the rubber hit the road tonight, it was nice to see our guys respond correctly. We still have stuff to clean up….we still had turnovers down the stretch. But I didn’t have to use any of the two timeouts because our guys stepped up and were leaders on the floor. Our team played an unselfish basketball game.”