WELLINGTON — The Buckeye boys basketball team had its ace in the hole Friday.
That the Bucks had to use him in a 51-44 Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division win over Wellington was a testament to the Dukes and an example of just how strong Garrett Beck is for Buckeye.
With the game hanging in the balance, Beck scored eight of his squad’s final 11 points to hold off a Wellington squad that had it down to a one-point contest with 3:37 remaining.
“I was definitely happy he was aggressive down the stretch,” Buckeye coach Matt Saunders said. “He wasn’t settling for jump shots. He was going to the rim and knocking his free throws down. That was big for us. Without that, who knows where we’re at? Garrett is who we’re going to go to in times like that.”
During the key stretch, Beck made two steals, added a blocked shot and converted six straight free throws to put the game on ice.
He scored 10 points in both the third and fourth quarter and kept Buckeye (6-1, 5-0) ahead when it looked like Wellington (1-9, 0-5) was going to do the improbable and knock off the league leader with a scrappy effort.
“I knew the team needed me to start stepping up,” Beck said. “There were a lot of missed shots. We didn’t play well tonight. We needed to get it done and needed someone to do it.”
While Beck’s 25-point, 10-rebound, three-assist game was the highlight of the contest and certainly was the reason the Bucks won, he wasn’t alone. Jeff Miller added 12 points and a game-high 14 rebounds and Chris Vogt scored five and had 10 boards.
Add it up and Buckeye’s 6-1 record is the best in school history as it heads into a non-conference home game Monday vs. Highland.
“I asked our kids going into the last 8 minutes, ‘Who is the better team? Are they better than us?’” Saunders said. “A resounding, ‘No’ came from the bench. It was about who was the better team down the stretch.”
To a man, the Bucks said they were looking ahead to the Hornets, but that doesn’t mean they won’t spend the next few days basking in the glow of history.
“It means a lot,” Beck said. “It’s a confidence booster, but looking back on our schedule, we should be here.”
That said, the team was far from happy with its performance against the Dukes, who actually went into the fourth quarter tied at 35.
So a win on their home floor against Highland (5-2) will not only hush some naysayers, it can prove that these Bucks are for real and ready to take on all challengers.
“That will be the first big test,” Beck said. “We can prove we’re a really good team. We just have to bring a better effort than we did tonight.”
|Buckeye made it a clean sweep with a 52-29 win in the junior varsity contest. Liam Murray led the way for the Bucks with 13 points. Colin Kmitt led Wellington with seven.|
Contact Brad Bournival at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Buckeye 51, Wellington 44
BUCKEYE 13 10 12 16 — 51
WELLINGTON 8 14 13 9 — 44
Buckeye — Garrett Beck 6-10-25, Jeff Miller 4-4-12, Chris Vogt 2-1-5, John Tighe 2-0-5, Cory Inman 1-0-3, Nate Polidori 0-0-0, Tyler Hagmeier 1-0-2, Robert Miller 0-0-0. TOTALS: 16-15-51.
Wellington — Adam Berry 5-3-14, Chase Bealer 1-1-3, Trey Bealer 0-0-0, Dylan Kidd 4-7-16, Joey Holliday 3-1-7, JuJuan Howard 0-1-1, Matt Bullock 0-1-1, Bryce Gibbs 1-0-2, Jacob Miller 0-0-0. TOTALS: 14-14-44.
3-point goals — Beck 3, Inman, Berry, Kidd. Rebounds — Buckeye 39 (Miller 14), Wellington 33 (Berry 8). Assists — Buckeye 13 (Inman 7), Wellington 8 (Kidd 3). Records — Buckeye (6-1, 5-0), Wellington (1-9, 0-4). Junior varsity — Buckeye 52, Wellington 29.