Garaway Boys Basketball

Hamsher elevates to an other-worldly level in disposing Hornets 64-59

Ty Hamsher kicks it up a notch in Pirates' win over Hornets

With just one period to play, the Malvern Hornets were looking to avenge an early-season loss to the Garaway Pirates on The Hill in Sugarcreek.

In their January 24 contest, the Hornets had played a remarkable third quarter that saw them turn a one-point half-time deficit into a six-point lead. Things were looking good as Malvern was spreading around the scoring and getting some key stops on the Pirates.

Then Ty Hamsher happened and it all disappeared.

Hamsher simply stepped into an other-worldly role, put the Pirates on his shoulders and carried them to victory with an unbelievable fourth quarter effort that saw him score 17 of his game-high 31 points, and a six point deficit turned into a quality 64-59 Garaway win in an exciting game from start to finish.

“We have a six-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, we have to be able to hang on to that lead and win a game,” Malvern coach Denny Tucci said. “We played a really great third quarter, then Hamsher just went nuts. He made some big shots; long ones, short ones, free throws, he hurt us every way possible, and that is what great leaders do, they find ways to win games.”

Garaway coach Terry Rowe couldn’t disagree, and said while he has enjoyed watching Hamsher’s play this year, this marked a journey into a new realm.

“Ty took his game to a completely different level than any game he has played this year,” Rowe said. “And we needed it to win this game. We needed every second of energy that we got from everyone, including our bench players, to pull this one out.”

The two teams hammered away at each other throughout the first half, and were basically where they began, with the Pirates clinging to a one-point advantage at 26-25.

However, the Hornets (10-6, 6-5 in IVC play) came out swinging for the fences in the third quarter and looked great doing it. A pair of 3-pointers from Brandon Patterson, Jaret Majestic working inside with several drives to the hoop, a three from Jake Moser and the play of Drew Hutchinson saw Malvern forge an eight-point lead. Seconds before the end of the quarter, Ben Mason, who had played a special game to that point, kept it up by taking a beautiful Hamsher pass and laying it in, carving the Pirates’ deficit to six at 45-39.

Then Hamsher went into beast mode and it was goodnight Hornets.

The senior started off his highlight reel with a 3-pointer. He then drove inside, was fouled and made a pair of free throws. Ethan Roden’s score off a fast break and Hamsher’s jumper knotted things at 48.

Hutchison drove inside for a score to give Malvern its final lead at 50-48, but Hamsher then stroked home a pair of triples to give Garaway (10-5, 8-2 in IVC) a 54-52 edge with 4:40 to play. Mark Mayle scored inside to trim the Malvern deficit to two, but Hamsher scored on a drive and hit two more free throws to push the Garaway lead back out to 58-52 with 2:20 to play. Majestic scored inside, and after Garaway ran 45 seconds off the clock, Mason was fouled. The senior calmly sank both free throws for a 60-54 lead. Majestic again found success inside, and Malvern fouled Trevor Donaldson, who like Mason came through with two free throws and a 62-56 lead with 38 seconds left. Majestic misfired on a three-ball, but Joel Honigford missed the front end of a one-and-one with 36 seconds left.

Still, it all looked great for Garaway until Mayle banked in a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 23 seconds to play to get Malvern within 58-54.

“I felt pretty good until that happened,” said Rowe.

Malvern again fouled Honigford with 19 seconds left, and this time, the big man came through by canning both free throws for a five-point edge.

“He looked over at me and said, ‘I got this.’” Rowe said of his senior center. When Malvern misfired on a three attempt with eight seconds left, the game was over, and the Pirates had earned a hugely impressive victory.

“We respect Malvern so much because they have some great talent,” Rowe said. “Majestic is the returning IVC player of the year, and he is just a great player. Mayle provides an inside presence that no other team has, and Hutchison is one of the best dribble penetrators in the league. He can slice and dice, so we knew we were in for a battle.”

Rowe said that Hamsher’s play was the obvious reason the Pirates were able to rally, but he also said the play of the unheralded Mason was key. Mason, who hit the game-winning shot against Tusky Valley prior to this contest, came up big on both ends of the floor, scoring 16 points and grabbing seven boards. His two free throws were also crucial to maintaining the lead.

“I am proud of all our guys, but Ben has really become a kid who has stepped up and played well when it matters the most,” Rowe said. “He finds ways to be in the right place at the right time, and I am proud of where he has gotten to through his effort. I felt like our defense elevated in the fourth quarter, but part of that is because we started making shots and Ty got so hot that it kind of rubbed off on our defense.”

For Malvern, the close loss is a microcosm of what this year has been like, as they continued the trend of dropping tight games.

“This has been our MO all season long,” Tucci said of his Hornets. We are just good enough to lose to good teams. We just aren’t able to win the tight games. We are good enough to stay in there against good teams, but we haven’t been capable of winning them.”

Tucci’s words are fleshed out by their losses this season. The Hornets dropped a pair of games to highly touted Strasburg by three points apiece. Garaway, who sits in second place along with Strasburg in league play, beat them twice by three and four points. Malvern fell to league-leading Hiland by 10 and to a talented Bishop-Harley (11-4) team by nine.

It has been a disappointment for a team many saw as a top challenger for the IVC title this season.

“We have lost a ton of close games, and that is disappointing,” Tucci said.

In addition to Hamsher and Mason, Honigford pulled down 10 rebounds and added four points while Malik Shaffer added five points. Malvern was paced by Majestic’s 16 points, while Hutchison added 14, Patterson added 11 and Mayle added 15 points and 10 rebounds.

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