For the first 16 minutes of Tuscarawas Central Catholic boys’ basketball game against Garaway in Sugarcreek, Saturday, Dec. 10, TCC’s Dean Green was a mean machine, while Beau Beamer was nowhere to be found.
But over the final 16 minutes, Beamer turned his light on high beam and drove the Saints to a huge 53-49 victory over the Pirates.
In a game between two teams that were in dire need of an Inter-Valley Conference win, the Saints snuck into Sugarcreek and eked out a win in exciting fashion.
With Garaway coming in at 0-2 and TCC coming off a humiliating league loss to Newcomerstown, it was just about a must-win game for both if they wanted to hang around the IVC league title talk.
“There are no easy games in the league this year,” said Ty Miller, TCC head coach. “This year the winner could conceivably have four losses, so we all knew this was a big game. We also knew we had to come to play, because we were both fighting for our lives in the league, and with them winless and us at 0-1 in league, we were sure that both teams would scratch and claw for everything they could get.”
It was Green who paced TCC early on, as the Saints controlled the game via the long ball. Green’s 3-pointer, the fourth of the game in the early going for the Saints, gave TCC a 14-8 lead. Green would go on to pour in 10 points in the half, but as the first half wound down, Garaway guard Trevor Donaldson was fouled while trying a 3-pointer, resulting in three free throws. He connected on just one to draw the Pirates to within 19-16, and right before the half Ty Hamsher scored in the lane to get the Pirates within one at 19-18 at the half.
Green would score only two points in the second half, as Garaway put the clamps on him, but Beamer was about to explode in taking over the scoring role for TCC, while Hamsher continued his torrid scoring pace throughout.
TCC extended its lead early in the second half thanks to Beamer, and when Anthony Fredericks scored on a stick-back, the Saints had upped the lead to seven points at 34-27 as the third quarter drew to a close. But right before it ended, Donaldson made a great play and got the ball to Ben Mason, who scored to trim the TCC lead to 34-29 heading to the fourth quarter.
Hamsher scored quickly to open the frame, and what ensued was a wild play that saw both teams gain possession, but eventually Donaldson made a great steal and tossed the ball ahead to Phillip Gebhardt, who laid it in to get the Pirates within 34-33. Justin Peltz upped the lead to three with a pair of free throws, but the Pirates pulled even for the first time since the first minute of the game when Donaldson dropped home a three-ball. With 5:10 to play.
Now it was game on, and Beamer was about to prove he had plenty of game. Hamsher gave Garaway the lead with a twisting lay-up in the lane, but Beamer responded with an acrobatic lay-up of his own in which he lost the ball on the way up, gathered it and caressed it into the bucket to tie it again at 38 with 4:13 to play.
TCC got a steal, and Beamer made it pay off by burying a 3-pointer to put the Saints back on top at 41-38. The points gave Beamer 11 in the half after getting completely shut out in the first half, but he wasn’t done.
Neither was Hamsher. Garaway’s star guard drove the paint for a deuce to trim the deficit to 41-40. Austin Dick then split two free throws to make it 42-40, and the Saints got a big stop, and had two point-blank shot to push the lead to four but missed both and Hamsher hauled in the rebound. Garaway then committed a costly turnover, and the Saints went into the spread, forcing Garaway to chase, and that allowed Green to get loose for a lay-up, pushing the lead out to 44-40.
Garaway missed, and time was becoming an issue for the Pirates. Having committed just two fouls in the half, Garaway went to hacking, quickly getting to the one-and-one and sending TCC’s Nick Sciaretti to the line. Sciaretti made one of the two shots, and Garaway missed but Karson Schrock got a huge steal to keep Garaway’s hopes alive. Eric Miller and Schrock missed treys, then so too did Hamsher, but Garaway was crashing the boards, and Malik Shaffer scored on a put-back to make it 45-42 with just under one minute to play.
Garaway again fouled Sciaretti, who calmly sank both free throws to make it 47-42 with 44 seconds to play. Miller found Joel Honigford underneath for an easy score to trim the TCC lead to 47-44 with 24 ticks left, but Garaway had to foul, and they fouled Beamer, who was cash money to make it 49-44 with 20 seconds to play. Green then committed an egregious foul on Hamsher as he attempted a 3-pointer, but Hamsher made just two of the three freebies to make it 49-46. In need of a stop or some luck, Garaway was forced to foul, and again TCC made sure Beamer had the ball in his hands.
Beamer was perfect again, giving TCC a 51-46 lead with 14 seconds, and Garaway missed a pair of trey attempts, and fouled Sciaretti with 6.4 seconds to play. He made both, and Hamsher then chucked in a long heave as time ran out that found the mark from 35-feet, but it was too little too late, the Saints hanging on for the 53-49 win.
“I was proud of how we responded when we got behind late after leading the whole game,” Miller said. “We could have packed it in, but we got some huge stops defensively, and we transitioned well, and then we made our free throws. The way we responded mentally was really encouraging.”
Beamer led the Saints with 15 points while Green added 12 and Dick and Sciarretti each tallied nine for the winners who improve to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in IVC action. Hamsher paced all scorers with his second-straight 22-point effort. Coming off a hugely successful football campaign that saw the Pirates go deep into they playoffs, Terry Rowe’s team still seems out of sorts as they try to get their basketball legs under them. The Pirates fell to 0-3 overall and 0-2 in conference play.