BOYS BASKETBALL: Beecher hands Trinity its first loss
BEECHER — Not a bad way to start the 2019 part of the season.
After shaking off an extremely slow start, Beecher took control midway and staved off a furious rally to knock off Kankakee Trinity Academy 46-39 on Saturday.
That victory for the Bobcats gave the Eagles their first loss of the season.
“We had our ups and down in the first part of the season,” Beecher coach Tyler Shireman said. “We worked incredibly hard over the break, and it’s my hope that this win will get us started back on the right path, and we can string a few more wins together.”
Maybe it was the excitement of a new year or the extended break, but the first quarter was not the greatest display of basketball. And both teams would agree.
Beecher missed from all over the floor, whether it was from distance, mid-range or at the rim.
“Trinity’s size gave us some problems in that opening quarter,” Shireman said. “It took us a little bit to adjust what we wanted to do. We had to switch things offensively to negate that size advantage [Trinity] had.”
However, the Eagles weren’t exactly the Golden State Warriors themselves either. They struggled to put the ball in the hole, but having 6-foot-5 Seth Hathaway helped ease that burden a little bit.
As the shots went up, he came down with some offensive rebounds to at least give his team a chance for points. His five rebounds in the quarter combined with three points had Trinity ahead 7-3 going into the second.
“Seth played very well from the start,” Trinity coach Mike Lawrence said. “He was defending, rebounding and blocking shots nicely. He was changing some things underneath and made [Beecher] think twice about driving the ball inside.”
There was one way for both teams to go, and that was up. However, it was only Beecher that made any progress.
Hunter Eastham made a 3-pointer, and, although they still trailed 7-6, the basket was just what the team needed.
Simply seeing the ball go in made the difference, and the outside shooting heated up with DeShawn and Duane Doss connecting from distance.
That opened things up inside for Nathan Soch, who came up with six points at the rim. Beecher outscored Trinity 15-3 in the second and led 18-10 at the half.
“Finally, we started hitting some shots, and we were able to stretch them out,” Shireman said. “Once we pulled them away from the hoop a little bit, it took the size away, and we attacked the inside. We were fortunate that [Trinity] had a bad quarter.”
The Bobcats maintained that momentum in the third with Eastham drilling a couple more shots from distance and DeShawn Doss attacking the basket.
Although the Eagles slowly began to make shots, they couldn’t handle the Bobcats’ attack and trailed 34-19 going into the fourth.
Trinity wasn’t about to let its undefeated season go down that easily, and the Eagles began to fight back behind Dylan Hassett and Jared Oates.
Hassett started by scoring the opening points of the quarter, followed by a steal and a basket from Oates to cap a 9-0 run to close the gap to 34-28.
“We got into a bad habit of playing on our heels a little bit,” Shireman said. “We probably got too comfortable with a big lead and got too passive by trying to just chew up the clock. But I’m proud that our guys adjusted and finished.”
Both players canned back-to-back 3-pointers sandwiched between a couple of Bobcats buckets to cut the lead to 40-36.
That’s as close as it got, despite both players scoring every point for the Eagles in the fourth (12 for Hassett, eight for Oates). The Bobcats sank 6-of-9 free throws down the stretch to put the game on ice and earn the win.
“We couldn’t make shots in the first half and had to fight back from that,” Lawrence said. “Dylan and Jared played great in the second half, and we didn’t turn the ball over a ton. It’s a tough loss, but we’ll rebound from it.”
DeShawn Doss and Nathan Soch each finished with 12 points to lead the Bobcats. Soch finished a rebound shy of a double-double and collected nine boards.
Eastham added 11 points, and Duane Doss had nine points.
Hassett finished with 16 points, and Oates added 12 points for the Eagles.
Both teams are back in action Tuesday. Beecher hosts Tri-Point in River Valley Conference action, and Trinity welcomes HSRC to town.