· Basketball - Holmes County ·

Pirates pull off a stunner in beating Hawks on the road

Joel Honigford and the Pirates pick up a huge road win against the Hawks

Welcome to the Inter-Valley Conference party Garaway Pirates.

In a monster win, the Pirates traveled to Hiland High school to face the IVC-leading Hawks on Friday, January 6, and a tremendous game plan and a nearly perfect effort at the free throw line paved the way for a stunning 50-45 Garaway win that propelled the Pirates back into the IVC title picture.

The formula that created the outcome this game was fairly simple. Garaway wanted to take away high-scoring Turner Horn, and with Trevor Donaldson pretty much camping in Horn’s face all night, the Pirates all but removed Horn from the scoring column, just as they had with Malvern’s big-time scorer Jaret Majestic in that win.

Secondly, the Pirates took great care of the basketball, utilized some mismatches inside and above all, hit its free throws all night long.

“To beat a good team in the IVC, you have to make shot throughout the game, you have to take care of the basketball and you have to make free throws,” said Garaway coach Terry Rowe.

For the Hawks, Horn found himself in foul trouble all game long, and played limited minutes, and the big key was that Hiland was simply ice cold from the floor.

“They went box-and-one on Turner, but we have a lot of confidence in our other guys to make plays,” Hiland coach Mark Schlabach said. “But we didn’t do a good job of getting him touches, and that is on us as a coaching staff. But in a game like this, to make a couple of shots sure does help, and we did not find the bottom of the net a whole lot tonight.”

Rowe said the idea was to make sure certain guys didn’t get a lot of touches and good looks. His team did a fine job of following their coach’s desire.

“Horn is a great player, and to hold him to four points, Trevor Donaldson did a great job on him, and we had some good help on him too,” Rowe said.

The two teams seemed to circle each other liked prized heavyweights throughout the opening eight minutes of the first quarter. They were tied at six at the break, the Garaway’s Joel Honigford gave the Pirates a four-point lead with a pair of nice inside moves. Kobe Troyer scored inside for the Hawks before Ty Hamsher scored on an and-one to spot Garaway to its largest lead at 15-10.

Hiland’s response was to release Mr. Instant Offense off the bench, and Chris Kline hit a three then drove the paint to tie the score.

“Chris had an unbelievable first half tonight,” Schlabach said of Kline’s 13-point first-half effort. “Unfortunately we just couldn’t keep that momentum going.”

Phil Gebhardt drained a triple for the Pirates, before Hiland went on an impressive 10-0 run to end the half. Scott Troyer started it and ended it by canning three-balls to give the Hawks a 25-18 lead, the largest lead of the contest for either team.

However, Garaway stuck to its game plan of face-guarding high-scoring Turner Horn, who was saddled with foul trouble throughout the contest, and taking away the outside shot of Kobe Troyer, and the Pirates came out of the break with a vengeance.

Malik Shaffer hit a 3-pointer to start the half, Honigford, saddled with three fouls of his own, scored again inside and Ben Mason rose to tip in a Garaway miss, and just that quickly the game was locked at 25.

Garaway wasn’t done on its run. Hiland continued to misfire badly from the field, and Horn picked up his third quickly in the quarter. Hamsher hit a pair of free throws and Garaway had reclaimed the lead at 27-25.

“We’ve been used to having that lead at half-time and being able to put teams away,” Schlabach said. “We didn’t do a good job and lock down defensively, and they started on that big run, and that was where we had been really good this year, even when our offense wasn’t clicking. They did some good things offensively that counteracted us defensively, and we didn’t turn them over in the second half, and that was the difference.”

“For the most part we handled their pressure,” Rowe said. “The last three minutes of the second quarter it got away from us a little but, the teams that Hiland has been beating they have forced a lot of turnovers, and I guess we were able to get enough shots in tonight to win.”

Kline stopped the Garaway run by hit a jumper to even the score, but Hamsher scored twice insider to give Garaway a 31-27 lead. But it would be Scott Troyer again stepping up to hit a huge shot, knocking down a three before the third quarter ended to draw the Hawks within one at 31-30.

Troyer lifted the noise level at the Reese Center up several notches when he drained his fourth triple of the game to give Hiland a 33-31 edge to start the fourth. However, Shaffer answered to give Garaway a one-point advantage at 34-33. The teams traded scores, but after Hamsher scored inside to push the Garaway lead to three, the Pirates got a stop and Mason hit two key free throws to push the lead out to five with just under three minutes to play.

“We worked on my free throws just two days ago, and coach told me to spin the ball, have confidence and stop jiggling my hands when I shoot,” Mason said. “We have struggled from the line some this year, and this was huge for us as a team to come in here and hit them when it mattered the most. This is a great team, and we are thankful to be able to come in here and get one.”

Andy Miller connected on a pair of free throws for the Hawks, and after forcing a Garaway turnover, Horn drove the paint, was fouled and made his two freebies to trim the Garaway lead to 41-40 with 1:57 left.

Garaway would then take control, a tough thing to do in the hostile environs of the Reese Center.

Mason scored inside on a great pass from Hamsher, and after Hiland misfired on a three-ball, Shaffer was fouled with 40 seconds to play. He calmly dropped both ends of a one-and-one. Hiland had three opportunities to score on its trip down the floor thanks to a great hustle play by Noah Sommers, but the Hawks came up empty, and was forced to foul Hamsher, who nailed both free throws with 20 seconds left to make it 47-40.

Hiland wouldn’t relent, and Scott Troyer drilled his fifth 3-pointer with 15 seconds to play to make it 47-43. Hamsher was fouled, and again he made both shots, and Miller quickly drove down the floor and scored with nine seconds to play to make it 49-45.

A hustling defensive gem by Kline forced a Garaway turnover on the inbounds play, and Hiland still had life, but Kobe Troyer’s three from the corner with seven seconds was well short of the mark.

With four seconds to play, Honigford missed the front end of the two shot foul, the only misfire for Garaway on the night from the stripe, then hit the second, and Garaway had snuck into the Reese Center and stole a victory against the IVC’s lone undefeated team.

Scott Troyer and Kline both scored 15 points to pace the Hawks, with Troyer scoring all of his points on five 3-pointers, while Miller added eight. Hamsher scored a game-high 20 points to pace the Pirates, but it was Garaway’s big men that may have made the biggest difference. Honigford scored 11 points and hauled in 14 rebounds, while Mason added six points and collected 10 boards to lead Garaway to a huge advantage on the glass. Shaffer added eight points.

“In a big game, someone has to step up and make big shots. In hindsight, maybe the biggest shots were ben’s free throws, and it was nice to see him (hit those free throws) against a really good team in a pressure situation in a hostile environment. It was a great basketball environment tonight,” Rowe said. “It was a fun game. We are proud of our players, but at the same time, we know there is a lot of basketball left to play. We will enjoy this win tonight and be ready to get better tomorrow.”

Schlabach said his team will learn from this experience, and like Rowe, he said this game is another chance for his team to learn and find ways to get better.

“We took one on the chin, but we will come back in tomorrow morning and start working on getting better,” Schlabach said. Our one Achilles heel has been Turner getting in foul trouble, and that is something we have to avoid.”

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