Cayden Gassmann gets around the defense of Eric Salow during the Blazers’ game with West Delaware.

Beckman’s boys’ Senior Night game Feb. 8 had it all: emotion, big leads, big comebacks and last-second heroics. In the end it was a 55-51 Blazer victory.

The emotion came when senior Mason White, out since early December with an ACL injury that requires surgery shortly, suited up and delivered the game-opening lay-up, uncontested by the Hawks, to a standing ovation. Both he and fellow classmate Sam Oberbroeckling exited right after that to the continued ovation. White was the team and conference leading scorer when he was injured, key to the Blazers’ 7-0 start to the year.

After the Hawks were given a tying two points delivered by Eric Salow, the game was on. Padraig Gallagher and Logan Burchard delivered consecutive threes for an 8-5 Blazer lead, negated with Logan Woellert’s first-of-six threes on the night. It was 17-14 Blazers at the break.

Woellert took that back to open the second quarter and the teams were basket-for-basket until the three-minute mark, when Logan Goedken’s free throw put them up 24-21. Ryan Burchard sank two freebies after being fouled on a steal conversion, 26-21 and Gallagher netted two more, 28-21. Hawk free throws cut that to 28-24 but a last second putback by Gallagher of his own miss made it 30-24 at half.

Jake Hermsen banked in a rare three and Nate Schaefer hit both sides of a bonus for a 35-24 lead. A Goedken three, and three straight makes from Jack Gehling, all in tons of traffic, upped that to 44-28 with a little over a minute left in the third.

But the Hawks were not ready to call it. They ended the quarter with lay-ups from Luke Kehrli and Kyle Kelley, plus a Kelley bonus, then began the fourth with back-to-back threes from Woellert and Salow, to cut the lead to 44-38. A rare Schaefer lay-up made it 46-38, but the Hawks were rolling. Woellert drilled two more threes and Jamison Smith converted a steal to edge them ahead 48-47.

Gallagher’s shot off a rebound made it 49-48 when Woellert hit again, 51-49. It would be their last tally.

Gehling got a baby hook down to knot it at 51, but his free throw rolled off. The same miss happened to Hawk Blake DeMoss, setting the stage for another Gehling hook with 45 seconds left for the lead, 53-51. After a timeout, the Hawks held for the last shot but Goedken blocked the attempt by DeMoss with 3.6 ticks left, and was immediately fouled. He calmly went to the line and made both game-sealing free throws, after missing seven of the first nine he attempted on the night.

Gehling paced the team with 21(one trey). Gallagher added 11 (one), Goedken seven (one), Hermsen five (one), Schaefer four, Logan Burchard three (one), Ryan Burchard and White two.

Coach Mike Molony added, “Heading into Senior Night we knew we were going to get a close game to go our way. We were disappointed to lose those two the week before. On top of that being able to start all five seniors was special.

“We did the best job executing our offense the first three quarters. We attacked the interior which led to open outside shots. While they did have that comeback spurt, I was proud of the poise we showed. Our defense stepped up and we learned a valuable lesson of what taking and keeping away the confidence of our opponents can really do. We’ve stressed to the kids that while we enjoy big margin wins, in the playoffs, if you win by one it still counts the same.

“I want to give a big shout out to Jack, Jake, Mason, Nate and Sam for all their hard work and the mentorship they’ve showed. We are going to miss them every day at practice next year.”

Other individual stats were: rebounds — Gehling and Hermsen eight, Gallagher six, Goedken and Cayden Gassmann four, Schaefer, Logan and Ryan Burchard one; blocks — Goedken two, Gallagher and Hermsen one; steals — Gassmann two, Hermsen, Gehling, Goedken and Ryan Burchard one; assists — Goedken five, Gallagher four, Gehling, Gassmann and Logan Burchard two, Ryan Burchard one; turnovers — seven.

The following night, the team was at Center Point-Urbana and built a 54-50 OT win on the backs of Hermsen and Gehling. Hermsen led with 18(one), the first time he has been the high point man this season and Gehling dumped 15.

Ties were the name of this game, 15-15 at halftime after the Blazers held the Stormin’ Pointers to two second quarter points. They rebounded with 16 in the third to take a 31-26 lead into the final frame. The Blazers came back to force overtime for the win, 12-7.

“We knew we were going to face a totally different CPU team than the first time and we needed to keep the game low-scoring. This led to a sluggish 15-15 at half. In the third we had a few miscues in judgment on defense that put us in a hole.

“The good part is the way we started the fourth. Not only did we do a better job inside but we also got better attacks from outside. It seemed to spark our defense and force some timely turnovers and stops leading to some easy points. We actually were up 8-10 at one point only to see them come storming back.

“Credit again to us that despite their game-tying three with 10 seconds left, we did a great job in overtime locking in on play execution. This led to a nice lead and we made free throws.

“These were back-to-back nights where we showed a lot of poise. We are a tough team and we keep stressing if we do the things to get a lead for an entire four quarters, we are tough to match.”

Other stats were: scoring — Gallagher 10 (one), Goedken five (one), Logan Burchard five; rebounds — Gehling seven, Hermsen six, Goedken five, Logan Burchard four, Gallagher three; blocks — Hermsen two, Gallagher one; steals — Goedken five, Logan Burchard four, Gallagher two, Gehling one; assists — Gallagher four, Hermsen and Gehling two, Goedken and Logan Burchard one; turnovers — eight.

They closed their season Feb. 12 at Independence with a 45-41 win and a 13-7 record. They built a 28-15 halftime margin and saw much of that disappear in the third as Indee outscored them 19-4. It was 34-32 Mustangs to start the fourth and the Blazers battled back for the win.

“This was another late game battle. The Mustangs played some really tough basketball that threw us off guard. We played a great defensive first half. We stuffed most of their offense and, except for a few lucky bounces, they might not have hade even 15 at half.

“In the third, credit to them for attacking us, making us look totally different. We regrouped tot start the fourth and did a better job attacking. Leading to numerous made free throws (19-of-22 for the night). This was a huge factor as we only made two shots the whole half. We could have played better, but it was an off night and gave us confidence being able to still come away with the win.”

Individual stats: scoring — Gallagher 16 (two), Gehling 14 (one), Goedken 13 (one), Logan Burchard two; rebounds — Gallagher seven, Gehling six, Goedken five, Logan Burchard three, Ryan Burchard and Hermsen one; blocks — Gallagher five, Goedken and Gehling one; steals — Gallagher, Gassmann and Logan Burchard one; assists — Goedken and Schaefer two, Logan Burchard, Gallagher and Gassmann one; turnovers — 11.