Sometimes a pair of aces is more than enough to win a hand of Texas Hold’em.
Just not when you’re opponent is holding a royal flush.
Garaway proved that a solid royal flush beats even the finest pair, and rolled into district play with another enormous tournament victory.
No matter how talented Lukas Isaly and Parker Caretti are, it is awfully difficult to beat a team 5-on-2. It’s even tougher to beat a very talented team that boasts at least 10 capable players.
That was the name of the game in Garaway’s sectional final game versus the River Pilots Friday, Feb. 26 at Indian Valley High School, and on this night, depth and balance overwhelmed wild game-skills of tow players in a 77-52 Pirates’ runaway win.
Isaly was a terror for the Pilots, churning out 31 points in a variety of almost outlandish shots, and the talented sophomore earned the respect of the Pirates in doing so because he was double-teamed much of the night.
“He’s a handful,” said Garaway coach Dave Shutt of Isaly. “When he is a senior, that guy is going to be a bear. We knew coming in that he was that good of a player, but hats off. Sometimes I got caught watching him do some crazy things and asking myself, ‘How did he do that?’ He did some pretty amazing things out there.”
Shutt said they ran a series of four defenders to try to stop Isaly, and eventually settled on double-teaming him.
But two guys don’t often beat five, and that is how thins one played out.
Caretti also had a nice ball game before fouling out, scoring 14 points. However, the two combined for nearly all of River’s scoring on the night, while the Pirates spread the wealth around.
Well, that isn’t exactly true early on, since Cameron Miller came out smoking hot for the Pirates, scoring their first seven points, but the two Pilots kept River close.
“I think I was able to provide an early spark, and I think that helped us all settle in,” said Miller.
It wasn’t until senior Broc Beachy drained a 3-pointerthat Garaway pushed out to a 15-10 advantage, and led 17-13 through one.
The second quarter would see Garaway’s Rat Pack come in a deal some pain, and the scoring prowess of Ty Hamsher and Isaac Weller, who hit two treys in the period, quickly pushed Garaway’s lead to 32-17. Brandon Smith hit a rare three-ball for River, and Isaly scored twice, but when Sam Gebhardt knocked down a triple at the buzzer, the Pirates led 36-23 at the break.
Garaway would keep that lead right where it was in the third period, getting four points from both Miller and Gebhardt and a trey form Hamsher, and would lead 49-36 heading into the fourth quarter.
That was when Garaway’s depth paid off. It was also when Shutt went to double-teaming Isaly, who didn’t seemed all that impressed, as he went off for 13 points in the period.
But River was tiring, and Garaway took advantage with some easy scores.
“We kept building our lead, and then we were able to knock down free throws, said Shutt. “I thought we made them pay when they tried to press us. I don’t know how many 2-on-1s or 3-on-2s we got, but it was a lot, and it created some easy baskets for us. If opportunities are there, we will definitely run.”
While Isaly was dominating, Garaway was getting to the bucket with a vengeance. The Pirates would make 13-of-14 free throws in the quarter, with Hamsher hitting all five of his attempts and Dallas Foster and Gebhart each perfect on their four apiece, and Joel Honigford hitting both of his. In addition, Garaway was beating River’s pressure and finding easy scores inside, including a monster throw-down from Miller that ignited the crowd and gave the Pirates a 60-41 edge. Then came a 9-0 run that ballooned the lead to 77-52, with Honigford and Hamsher doing much of the damage inside, and Weller being his usual pesky self on defense, creating several turnovers.
Garaway’s balance paved the way to victory. Miller’s big start continued his scoring presence throughout, the lanky senior scoring a team-high 18 points. Hamsher scored 16 points, with nine of those coming in the fourth quarter. Gebhardt added 12, Honigford had a nice all-around game with eight points and some great interior defense and rebounding, Foster went a perfect 6-of-6 from the line for his six points, Weller added seven points and four steals, Logan Mast pitched in with five, Beachy added three and Ben Mason scored a pair.
The win allowed the pirates to advance to district play, their 21-3 record showcasing exactly how solid they have been all season.
“This was one heck of a tough sectional final team, I can tell you that,” said Shutt of River. “But in clutch moments, we did the things we needed to do. We found guys, our inside-outside game was great again tonight, and we shot it half-way decent.”
As for the Pirates’ total team effort, Shutt said he will go to battle with 10 solid guys compared to two stars any day.
“There wasn’t anyone that really did anything wrong out there tonight,” said Shutt of his team. “We will take our 10 or 11 any night over two. If you take away one of our scorers, we have a lot of guys who can step in and score in his place. I thought we really gave a great team effort tonight.”
Which is exactly what the doctor ordered to beat a team with a pair of superstar players, and Garaway made it clear that when the two opponents laid down their hands, the Pirates were holding all the right cards.