Some out there may have seen the records for the Buckeye Valley and Big Walnut boys basketball teams and expected a rout. Those who’ve actually seen both teams expected a battle — and boy, did they get one.
Buckeye Valley led much of the game, but a three-pointer, steal and dunk from Big Walnut’s Adam Shaheen turned the momentum, and despite a controversial end, the Golden Eagles held on for a 48-45 non-league victory over the Barons Tuesday night in Sunbury.
“Any time you get two Delaware County schools together, it’s going to be kids getting after each other, which is the way it’s supposed to be,” Big Walnut coach Eric Myers said. “Buckeye Valley is a good team. They shoot the ball well and are so difficult to defend, but we ran some good offenses and pounded the ball inside.”
Both teams played a clean game, but Big Walnut (3-6) had fouls to give in the final seconds, and Buckeye Valley (7-2) junior Zach Hassinger was fouled three times in the last three seconds, the last time appearing to go up for a shot from near half court, but the foul was ruled non-shooting. Hassinger got a three off just before the final horn, but it hit the rim and fell off.
“We shouldn’t have put ourselves in that position,” Buckeye Valley coach Donovon Barrett said. “We made some errors in the last few minutes of the game, but give Big Walnut credit. They executed what they needed to do and took advantage of our errors. What happened at the end would not have happened if we didn’t let Big Walnut put us in that position, so again, hats off to them.”
The game was close thanks in large part to the Big Walnut defense and a thoroughly patient offense that waited for shot opportunities to come rather than forcing the issue. The result: Big Walnut hit 22 of 37 (59 percent) from the floor on the evening, including going 4 of 5 in the second quarter and 6 of 7 in the fourth.
“We shot 31 percent or worse two nights in a row, one was 25 percent against New Albany, but we had a good feeling we were heading in the right direction,” Myers said. “They’ve gone through some adversity but have been resilient with everything — working hard, trying to improve our game plan and playing as a team.”
Buckeye Valley didn’t mind running the half court offense, but had trouble getting shots to fall, going 17 of 45 (38 percent) on the evening, including a 4 of 16 (25 percent) third quarter, that allowed the Golden Eagles to stay within striking distance, trailing by just two points, 35-33, after three quarters.
“We didn’t shoot the ball very well overall, and we have to start making some shots,” Barrett said. “We had some opportunities, some point-blank looks, whether they were from two feet or 19, but we didn’t get it done. We didn’t turn the ball over and we got ourselves opportunities, but we have to make shots.”
Buckeye Valley pushed its lead to six after two threes by junior Jordan Tomlinson, but a 6-2 run by Big Walnut on buckets by Adam Shaheen and senior Grant Beam followed by two Beam free throws, sliced the lead back to two, 43-41.
Senior Tyler Beam hauled in a rebound off a Baron miss and junior Carson Chatterton pulled down a huge offensive rebound on the next possession that kept the possession going. After a Buckeye Valley foul, Grant Beam found Shaheen at the top of the arc and Shaheen nailed the three-pointer with 2:37 left to give the Eagles the lead for good. Just under half a minute later, Shaheen stripped the ball away from a Baron player, sprinted down court and slammed the ball through the hoop, putting the Eagles up three.
“Adam’s spent a lot of time in the gym,” Myers said. “He was in today after finals working on his game and gaining confidence, and I really like what he’s doing with his game. I told him it was pretty gutsy to get that steal and was a great time to get his first dunk. That certainly was a tide-turner.”
Baron senior Chris Jackson’s jumper cut the lead to one, but Big Walnut senior Seth Wandling scored off a pass from Tyler Beam for the final margin, save the late dramatics.
Shaheen topped Big Walnut with 17 points, Grant Beam added 14 points, Wandling finished with six, Tyler Beam with five and Chatterton with four for the Golden Eagles.
Tomlinson led the Barons, also scoring 17 points while Hassinger added 11 points, junior Caleb Green seven and Jackson five points.
Tree of Life 46,
Delaware Christian 44
The Eagles made a late surge, but fell a couple points short in Tuesday’s non-league clash at Tree of Life.
After a slow start in which they were outscored 14-6 in the first quarter and 13-9 in the second, they Eagles came out of the intermission with a purpose, outscoring the hosts 11-8 in the third and 18-11 in the fourth to account for the final margin.
Ryan Zinn led DCS with 15 points while Jeremy Glick and Pete Kerins finished with 11 and eight, respectively.