HENRIETTA TWP. — If coffee is indeed for closers, as Alec Baldwin’s character stated in the early 1990s film “Glengarry Glen Ross,” the Buckeye boys basketball team deserves a trip to the local brew shop.
Locked in a Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division battle with Firelands through three quarters, the Bucks finished strong and pulled out a 60-50 win.
Knotted at 41 after 24 minutes and facing an opponent that was knocking down 3-pointers at a 53 percent clip (10-for-19), the Bucks (8-1, 6-0) tightened their defense and rode John Tighe and Garrett Beck down the stretch.
Tighe (career-high 20 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) scored nine points and knocked down 4-of-6 free throws in the fourth quarter.
“I just went up there and tried to be at ease the whole time,” Tighe said. “I try to make them as easy as they always are.”
The shooting of the Falcons forced the Bucks to come out of their 2-3 matchup zone.
“We went to man because they were hitting everything they shot,” Tighe said. “We had to play man instead of our zone.”
Beck (16 points, 6 rebounds) chipped in seven fourth-quarter points and iced the game with a pair of free throws to finally finish the feisty Falcons (1-7, 0-6).
The Bucks went 10-for-12 from the line in the fourth quarter after heading to the line just once through three quarters.
Buckeye jumped quickly on the Falcons and led 17-8 after the first quarter.
Then suddenly, led by Casey Smith (game-high 21 points, 5-of-12 3-pointers), Firelands surged back from behind the 3-point arc.
“I thought we came out and got good ball movement, got good reversal and made the extra pass,” Firelands coach Brett Bartlett said. “Guys got to the right spots, made the right plays and made shots. That kept us in the game.”
With a 13-2 run to start the second quarter that was powered by four treys, the Falcons clawed into the lead midway through the frame.
“We were contesting in our matchup zone but they were just hitting,” Buckeye post Jeff Miller said. “They still had some open looks, but we were able to not give them an opportunity to shoot with our man defense. That slowed them down a little bit.”
The teams battled back and forth for the next 12 minutes before the Bucks started to pull away.
Chris “Ivan Drago” Vogt and Miller helped offset the hot-shooting Falcons by dominating down low and making smart decisions with the basketball.
“They’ve got two big kids in there that played a lot for them last year,” Bartlett said. “They’re seniors, they’re winners and they know how to get it done.”
Vogt (8 points, 14 rebounds, 4 blocks) and Miller (9 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists) forced Firelands to collapse on them in the paint every time they touched the ball, which opened the door for Beck and Tighe to get open looks on the outside.
“Every time we got the ball inside they were double-teaming us, triple-teaming us,” Vogt said. “We practiced that last week and we were prepared for that. We were able to get the ball out to the guards and it worked out for us.”
The duo also helped the Bucks to a 41-23 rebounding advantage and kept the Falcons out of the paint.
|The Bucks won the junior varsity contest 47-40. Liam Murray led Buckeye with 13 points and Joey Bartinelli added 10. The Falcons got 16 points each from Nathan Phillips and Jeremy Simonovich.|
Contact Chad Grant at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Buckeye 60, Firelands 50
BUCKEYE 17 14 9 20 — 60
FIRELANDS 8 23 10 9 — 50
Buckeye — Garrett Beck 5-2-16, Jeff Miller 4-0-9, Chris Vogt 3-2-8, John Tighe 6-4-20, Cory Inman 2-0-5, Nate Polidori 0-2-2, Tyler Hagmeier 0-0-0, Robert Miller 0-0-0. TOTALS: 20-10-60.
Firelands — Logan Sittinger 2-1-5, Casey Smith 8-0-21, Colin Myers 0-0-0, Johnathan Sigsworth 2-1-5, Cole Sklarek 3-0-8, James Willbond 4-0-11, Jordan Ruffner 0-0-0. TOTALS: 19-2-50.
3-point goals — Beck 4, Tighe 4, Inman, Miller, Smith 5, Willbond 3, Sklarek 2. Rebounds — Buckeye 41 (Vogt 14), Firelands 23 (Myers 6). Assists — Buckeye 13 (Miller 6), Firelands 13 (Sklarek 8). Records — Buckeye (8-1, 6-0), Firelands (1-7, 0-6). Junior varsity — Buckeye 47, Firelands 40.