· Basketball - Holmes County ·

Pirates emerge with 64-61 OT win over Hawks in a game that had everything

Scott Troyer's special night spoiled by a Pirate uprising

Near the end of Hiland’s basketball game against Garaway, the gymnasium at Garaway High School was rabid. And that was just the junior varsity game, which the Hawks won in overtime.

By the time the varsity game rolled around in this key Inter-Valley Conference South showdown game, the place was seriously rocking.

That is the fever pitch that comes from one of the area’s most highly anticipated rivalries, and this Tuesday, Jan. 9 contest did not disappoint.

“This atmosphere was amazing,” said Garaway’s Ethan Roden, who played a monster role in the Pirates’ victory. “Our fans were in it, their fans were in it and it was loud. I couldn’t even hear myself think near the end of the game. It was so crazy.”

A wild night of runs, an unparalleled performance by a Hiland senior and not one wild and crazy finish but two led to a 64-61 overtime win for the host Pirates that continued Garaway’s recent string of success against the Hawks that has seen them win the last six games, many of them in brutally tight fashion.

Things did not look very good for Garaway early on as Hiland senior Scott Troyer practically took the controls of the game and went on a solo flight that was one of the finest offensive performances in the school’s history.

Troyer hit a 3-pointer to open the game, and then he simply didn’t stop scoring. No matter what Garaway did to defend the senior point guard, he couldn’t be stopped.

Troyer hit a second triple to give the Hawks a 6-1 lead. Corey Troyer scored twice for Garaway on drives, but Scott Troyer continued his onslaught, hitting a jumper in the lane, then another jumper and then another to make it 12-5 Hiland. Roden scored inside, but the Scott Troyer show continued as the senior ripped a third 3-pointer. By the time Scott Troyer hit a jumper, he had all 17 of Hiland’s first-quarter points.

“We weren’t very pleased with our intensity to begin the game,” Garaway coach Terry Rowe said. “We were back on our heels, and we try to teach our kids to hit the reset button when that happens. I mean Scott hurt us last year at their place when he had 15 points, but he just elevated his game more than any player we have had to guard the past couple years. He created space off his dribble-drive, and we didn’t do a good enough job of helping on him.”

While Scott Troyer hadn’t missed, it felt like Garaway had taken the big hit fairly well, and when Erik Miller ripped two 3-pointers to begin the second period, the two teams were even at 17. Then just for good measure, Scott Troyer pounded in another jumper to make it 19-straight points for Hiland. Roden responded inside before Hiland’s John Sisson drilled a trey from the corner to be the first Hawk other than his blistering hot teammate to score. Later in the quarter Scott Troyer hit another triple and took a charge for good measure, and his 24-point half, probably one of the most prolific halves of basketball in Hiland history, had the Hawks on top 31-25.

“We ripped our kids pretty good at halftime, and they responded right away in the third quarter,” Rowe said.

But it would be the Pirates who would come out red-hot in the second half. Trevor Donaldson hit a three, Miller drilled another one and Corey Troyer drove for a score before Andy Miller stopped the Garaway run with a drive. However, Roden scored on a great pass from Corey Troyer, and when Erik Miller drained his fourth three-ball, Garaway led 38-33.

But in this game of runs, no lead was safe, and the Hawks stormed back on a 15-2 run to end the third period with a 48-40 lead. That run saw seven different Hawks record points, and when Scott Troyer nailed a 3-pointer and a driving layup to begin the fourth period, Hiland held a commanding 53-40 lead.

“When you get a team down by 13 points in the fourth quarter, you have to be able to put them away, and we weren’t able to do that,” coach Schlabach said. “We had seven really bad possessions after getting up by 13, and we didn’t get a big rebound when we needed to.”

The game of runs continued, and the Pirates fought back, sporting an 11-0 run of their own, paced by Erik Miller’s fifth 3-pointer and another one from Malik Shaffer.

With just over two minutes to play, Scott Troyer split to Garaway defenders for a score to make it 55-51 Hiland. Roden then came up with yet another huge offensive put-back to trim the deficit to two points, but Scott Troyer would strike again with 1:26 to play to push the lead back to four. Corey Troyer split a pair of free throws for the Pirates, and with 38 seconds to play, Scott Troyer finally missed, coming up shy on the front end of a one-and-one. Corey Troyer sped down the floor and drove the middle to make it a one-point game with 27 seconds to play.

Garaway then had to foul, and the ball went to, who else, Scott Troyer, who calmly walked to the line and this time made both charity tosses. Garaway then ran the clock down to eight second and called time-out before Donaldson made his acrobatic, off-balance heave with 2.8 seconds left.

As the gym and his teammates went crazy with joy, Donaldson put his finger to his lips, not in a show of arrogance, but to implore his teammates to remain focused. There was still game left to play.

“I wasn’t trying to be arrogant. I was just trying to get our guys focused because there was still plenty of time left for them to do something,” Donaldson said. “I wasn’t even supposed to get the shot there, but I give credit to Hiland’s defense because they locked us down pretty good. I just gave a little pump fake and let it fly, and it went in.

Hiland’s long pass down the floor was picked off, and the game went to overtime, where somehow the game got even more intense than seemed possible.

Both teams struggled with turnovers before Erik Miller hit two free throws to give the Pirates the edge. Kandel hit a turnaround in the lane to knot things up, and Garaway turned it over, but Kobe Troyer’s three missed the mark, and the Pirates had a chance to take the lead. They too turned it over when Kandel made a key steal, but empty possessions continued to haunt the Hawks in overtime.

With one minute left Garaway got four opportunities to take the lead. As the Pirates missed, they kept coming up with big rebounds. First it was Roden, and then it was Donaldson, who grabbed a carom and forged a precision pass to Erik Miller at the top of the key. And just like he had the entire game, he drained the 3-pointer to give the Pirates a 64-61 advantage.

“I don’t know what was going through my head,” Miller said of his shot. “I saw a miss and thought, ‘It’s time.’ I shot it and felt confident, and it went in.”

The Hawks again missed an opportunity to tie when Corey Troyer made a huge steal with time winding down. He sped down the floor and thought he had Roden for a game-clinching layup, but Kandle stepped in front of the bounce pass and knocked it to Scott Troyer, who dribbled up the sideline and found Kobe Troyer for a buzzer-beater three, but his shot glanced off the front iron, and Garaway had secured a scintillating win.

“Our kids really played hard. That is never a question,” Schlabach said. “The thing right now is when we play Garaway, you could say we have been a little unlucky, but it is now a pattern. We just haven’t made toughness plays down the stretch when it matters, and every time they have needed a bucket, they have gotten it, and we haven’t made a stop. We just have to learn how to get tougher mentally. We have the potential to be a very good team, but right now we are not proving that in our big games.”

Rowe said his team’s effort and will to come back from several deficits as well as withstanding the Scott Troyer show was commendable.

“This is what this rivalry is all about in big games like this,” Rowe said. “We beat a very good team, and we are going to take it. This is big for our program.”

Aside from Troyer’s incredible game, Hiland got eight points in a solid effort from Damien Kandel, six from John Sisson and four from Andy Miller. Garaway saw balance across the board with Miller leading the way with 20 and Roden right behind with 19 points while adding nine rebounds. Corey Troyer added a dozen while Donaldson finished with six and Austin Fearon tacked on four.

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