The Beachwood boys' basketball team fought all the way back from nine down to force a tie at 63 with a minute left in the second round of the Div. II District Tournament, but Harvey clamped down on defense and hit seven clutch free throws to ice the 70-63 victory and end the Bison’s season.
Harvey led for most of the game, but never pulled away from the Bison throughout the first three quarters. Beachwood trailed by just one point (53-52) with six minutes left. Harvey came out of a timeout and utilized a 10-2 run over the next three minutes going up 63-54.
“We were coming out too far to defend and they used their quickness to get around us,” Harvey head coach Tim Starkey said. “When we had to help, they’d kick it out and they were getting open looks. We wanted to remind the guys we didn’t want any fouls way away from the basket and we wanted to contain them and keep them on the outside.”
Despite Harvey taking control late in the game, the Bison clawed their way back. The turning point was senior Andrew Somogyi diving onto the ground and clawing away a loose ball. Then, he found fellow senior Jeremiah Townes all alone at the other end of the court who proceeded to slam the ball down and bring Beachwood within one (63-62).
Harvey then turned the ball over on the next possession and committed a loose ball foul on Beachwood freshman John Davis, but since Harvey was in the double bonus Davis got the chance to give Beachwood the lead with two free throws. He only tied the game by splitting the pair.
It would be the last point the Bison scored. The next play Harvey senior Mike Turman gave the Red Raiders a one-point edge by splitting his own pair of free throws. Townes then committed a loose ball foul on sophomore Colby Quigley, who hit both his foul shots giving Harvey a 66-63 edge with 50 seconds left.
Bison junior Ellis Cohen had a good look from three to tie the game, but couldn’t connect. Harvey knocked down all their remaining free throws and iced the game.
“They hit some clutch free throws down the stretch,” Beachwood Head Coach Jason Pecjak said. “We had a couple looks, we just missed.”
In total, the Red Raiders were 25 for 30 from the charity stripe. Four Red Raiders hit double figures. They were the only four to hit field goals as they combined for 68 of Harvey’s 70 points. Turman led all scorers with 23 points after being held scoreless in the first quarter. He also led all rebounders with eight. Quigley followed close behind with 19 points and four rebounds.
Senior Jermaine Hamilton added 16 points, 14 coming in the first half, while senior Justin Rice added 10 more. The other two Harvey points came from junior Jalen Fields, who hit a pair of free throws.
“This is a strong-willed team with four senior starters,” Starkey said. “They played hard every night, they have all year long. I never worry about the effort they’re going to give us. From here on out that’s what it’s going to take.”
Townes struggled in the first half with just five points, but ended strong with 13 total and led the Bison in rebounding with seven. Somogyi had a great night for Beachwood, leading the team with 19 points — 12 coming in the first half. Cohen had 12 points while Davis finished with 10 and four rebounds.
“I thought we had a pretty good effort, we just lost to a better team tonight.” Pecjak said.
Beachwood’s season had its peaks and valleys. While the Bison didn’t win the conference or go as far as they wanted to in the District tournament, there are plenty of positives to take away from the year.
“We finished second [in the league] and a good first win in the tournament,” Pecjak said. "It’s something the young kids can build on next year and try to get into the District semifinal.”
The Bison do, however, lose eight seniors from this 2011 team. While there are still solid players returning in 2012, replacing the experience of eight seniors will be a significant challenge.
“I’m proud of these seniors,” Pecjak said. “This was our first class we had all the way through. They gave me everything they had.”