CALCUTTA - With their fullcourt press forcing multiple turnovers in the fourth quarter, Beaver Local rallied for an exciting 54-48 win over Oak Glen Tuesday night at Beaver Local High School.
The Beavers are 8-5 on the season. Oak Glen falls to 2-8.
Trailing 33-31 entering the final quarter, the Beavers' press forced numerous turnovers, including two consecutive errors that enabled them to take a 44-41 lead with 2:10 remaining. While they were successful in forcing turnovers, the Beavers were struggling at the foul line, making only three of eight tosses in a late 70-second span. That string ended when Bryce McKenzie came off the bench to convert four of six free throws in the final 19 seconds to seal the victory.
"In the fourth quarter, we were doing what we ideally wanted to do the entire game, which was to have fullcourt pressure," said Beaver Local head coach Jeremy Christen. "We hadn't been able to do it earlier. The kids stepped it up in the fourth quarter and those forced turnovers got us back in the game."
Beaver Local's Jared Lyder led all scorers with 22 points and topped all rebounders with 11. Chase Hilliard tallied 11 with Hayden Grafton and Josh Underwood scoring seven each. Hilliard had eight steals, most of which were in the fourth quarter during the Beavers' comeback. Grafton passed out six assists.
Bub Haddox led Oak Glen with 17 points, followed by David McGraw 14, Tyler Click 10 and Smith seven. Click grabbed seven rebounds for the Golden Bears and Smith dished out four assists.
"Bub Haddox played probably what was the best game of his career tonight," said Oak Glen head coach Dave Smith. "Those turnovers really hurt us in the fourth quarter. Give Beaver Local credit, they played a solid game."
Leading by just one, 12-11, after the the first quarter, Oak Glen's matchup zone defense stymied the Beavers in the second quarter, limiting them to just six points.
"We weren't attacking the basket," said Christen. "They pulled their zone further back as we were only making one pass and then shooting at the first open shot."
Focusing on getting inside in the second half, Beaver Local was able to shoot 23 foul shots in the second half.
Working the ball inside in the third quarter enabled Lyder to garner nine points, trimming the Golden Bears' to just two, 33-31, heading into the final quarter.
"At halftime, we came in and drew it up on the board," said Christen. "We attacked the gaps and did a much better job of screening. On defense we were getting more stops and then were able to beat their zone down the floor."
Despite the loss, Smith did see some improvement in his young team.
"I liked our desire. We worked really hard. Those turnovers in the fourth quarter were the difference."
Oak Glen committed 18 turnovers and shot 42 percent from the floor. Beaver Local shot 39 percent (19 of 49) from the floor.
Beaver Local 54, Oak Glen 48
OAK GLEN 12 12 9 15 48 48
BEAVER LOCAL 11 6 14 23 54 54
OAK GLEN: Stipec 0-0-0, Click 3-2-7, JFord 0-0-0, Haddox 8-0-17, Congo 0-0-0, Smith 3-0-7, Hartley 0-0-0, McGraw 7-0-14. TOTALS: 21 2-2: 48. 3-POINTERS: Click 2, Haddox, Smith.
BEAVER LOCAL: Hilliard 4-2-11, Lyder 9-4-22, Grafton 2-2-7, Campbell 0-0-0, Cornell 1-0-3, Underwood 3-1-7, Wilcox 0-0-0, McKenzie 0-4-4. TOTALS: 19 13-27; 54. 3-POINTERS: Hillard, Grafton, Cornell.