Garaway Boys Basketball

Hamsher’s magical night and Pirates’ big ‘D’ leads to district title win over Cards

Ty Hamsher was Mr. Magic as Pirates win another district title

Ty Hamsher pulled off a trick that would have fooled comedy magicians Penn and Teller on Friday, March 10 at Claymont High School in Uhrichsville, and it lifted the Garaway Pirates to a 54-46 win over Inter-Valley Conference rival Sandy Valley in the Div. III district championship game.

Hamsher scored a whopping 10 points in the first quarter, went completely silent in the second quarter, then magically reappeared and netted 19 second-half points that spurred the Pirates into the regionals.

“Ty was unstoppable,” said Garaway first-year head coach Terry Rowe. “We were able to run a couple of set plays for him early in the second half, and that got him going. He kind of just took over from there.”

The eight-point victory for Garaway was anything but simple. The Pirates had beaten the Cardinals by 11 and two points during the regular season, but this is a Cardinals team that is athletic and talented, and early on, it looked bent on righting those two losses.



Hamsher scored 10 first period points, but Sandy Valley kept pace as Bryce Offenberger went off. He ignited a run in the second quarter after scoring seven first-quarter points, and when he canned a lengthy triple near the end of the half, the Cardinals had forged a 26-22 lead.

Garaway then made some halftime adjustments. The first was getting Hamsher reignited, which they did by running several set plays his way, and the gifted senior responded by lighting it up on the offensive end.

“That second quarter we didn’t do a lot of things very well,” Rowe said. “We were stagnant on offense, we didn’t get our spacing right and we stood around a lot. Plus, we lost some defensive assignments, and stopped attacking in general on both sides of the floor.”

Defensively, both Ben Mason and Joel Honigford began cleaning up on the glass. However, Honigford’s role extended beyond rebounding. The giant in the middle scored 11 points, and had the chore of defending Sandy Valley’s Chad Neisel, who earlier in the tournament trail had become Sandy Valley’s all-time leading scorer.

In this, his final game, Neisel would net two points as he would have Honigford draped all over him all night long.

“We have so much respect for Sandy Valley’s program,” Rowe said. “They are talented. Offenberger couldn’t do anything wrong in the first half, and Dan Bartholomew sees a Garaway uniform and he goes ballistic. We couldn’t stop him at times. However, I thought the key was the way Joel took Chad Neisel out of the game. He just shut him down, and he is such a big part of their offense. Joel was a mountain out there.”

The other thing Rowe loved was watching his defense spring to life. Just as it had done in its prior district win over Union Local, where it trailed by eight late in the third period, Garaway’s defense ratcheted it up a notch.

“We definitely found another gear again,” Rowe said. “We’ll do whatever it takes to get a win and advance. With this team having won so many close games this season, we seem to be able to figure out what it takes to win and we go out and do it. Those close games could well pay dividends as we move along, because our kids are used to dealing with pressure.”

They will face plenty of pressure in the regional semifinal Wednesday, March 15 at Ohio University, where they are slated for a rematch with Fairland, a team that destroyed them 80-52 earlier this year. However, Rowe said they are a very different team now than they were then, although he knows Fairland presents a huge fight to move on.

Hamsher’s 29 points paced Garaway, while Honigford scored 11 points and hauled in 10 rebounds. Mason did what he does, scoring seven and grabbing 10 rebounds, while Malik Shaffer added seven points for the winners. Sandy Valley was paced by Offenberger’s 19 and Bartholomew’s 17.

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