Beckman’s boys’ basketball team played just well enough to escape Alburnett in a non-conference game, Jan. 28, at home, 49-48.
The Blazers began the game with three straight turnovers, allowing the Pirates a 5-0 lead, but quickly righted the floor, getting scoring from Padraig Gallagher, Jack Gehling and Logan Goedken for a 6-5 lead with 2:34 left in the quarter. They were up 11-10 at the break and then added two more lay-ups from Gehling and Goedken for a 15-10 advantage.
A big difference in fouls put the Pirates on the line midway through the second frame and they took advantage, sinking 4-of-6, cutting the margin to 20-16 before a long two at the buzzer from Shane Neighbor made it 20-18 at the half.
Back-to-back threes from Gallagher and Goedken opened the second half and, when Gehling added his own longball, the margin was 11, 31-20, with 5:41 left in the quarter.
Neighbor took five of those back to make it 31-25 before Goedken converted a Gallagher pass inside, 33-25. Reed Stallman got a basket-and-one, 33-28 but Gallagher balanced that with a trey and it was 36-30 at the break.
Then the fun started, for Alburnett anyway. Gallagher drilled another three to open, but his team went cold for five minutes, giving the Pirates ample opportunity to knot the game and inch ahead, 43-39, on a 13-0 run. Goedken finally ended the stretch with a 10-footer but Neighbor answered to keep the margin four points, 45-41, with just under three minutes showing.
A minute later, Gehling bounced a three around the rim before it fell and Jake Hermsen connected from inside while drawing a foul, making it Blazers 47-45. Pirate Andrew Ossman sank one-of-two at the line, but Gallagher calmly made both of his, 49-46, and a last-second long two from Ossman wasn’t enough for the upset.
Coach Michael Molony commented, “Stepping out of our conference, we knew we couldn’t expect Alburnett to be an easy win. They started the year as a top-five team in 1A and weren’t intimidated by our size and speed. I thought we struggled early with the pace slowed down as much as it was.
“Our defense caused numerous issues for their offense and our physicality was something they had to adjust to. I thought they were content letting us work for a good shot, something we maybe rushed too fast to find in the first half.
“We started feeding the post and had a lot of success. When the third quarter started our defense started leading to fast break which put the pace more like a WaMaC contest. We did a great job getting shots inside and off our fast breaks. But after they settled down a bit we started to rush again, leading to some careless turnovers and bad shot selection.
“Alburnett came back strong but I was super proud of our late-game execution. We got stops when we needed, baskets in a timely fashion and made our free throws.
“I don’t know if we would have won that game if it wasn’t for the late game experience we have gained in our conference this year. We know we could have played better but sometimes, you have to tip your cap to your opponent and just be happy the result was what we needed it to be.”
Goedken ended with 16 (two treys), Gallagher (three) and Gehling (two) 15. Hermsen’s three was the only other scoring.
Other individual stats include: rebounds — Gehling seven, Gallagher three, Goedken and Hermsen two, Nate Schaefer one; blocks — Gallagher two, Gehling and Hermsen one; steals — Gehling and Logan Burchard three, Hermsen two, Goedken and Gallagher one; assists — Goedken five, Gehling three, Burchard and Gallagher two, Hermsen one; turnovers — 13.
The win moved the Blazers to 10-5 on the season, dropped the Pirates to 8-8.