McMURRAY – Rohan Young received a second chance and made the most of it, much to the chagrin of head coach Gary Goga and the Peters Township boys basketball team.
The Bethel Park senior guard missed a shot at the end of regulation that would have given the Black Hawks a big road win in rugged Section 4-AAAA, and Bethel Park went on to trail by six points in overtime. But a furious rally in the final two minutes gave Young another shot, literally, and his jumper from just inside the three-point line found nothing but net.
Peters Township mustered a shot from midcourt that fell no good, and Bethel Park earned that important road win after all, 61-59, Friday, to remain unbeaten in Section 4-AAAA.
“We told him at the start of overtime that he’d get a shot to win it,” said Bethel Park coach Ben O’Connor. “Sure enough, it worked out that way. Give the kid credit. He’s a senior leader, and he made a senior play.”
The Indians (1-3, 4-6) scored the first six points in overtime and seemed to be in control with that six-point lead and 1:59 to play. But three costly turnovers late in the game – Peters Township had only 11 total – opened the door for the Black Hawks (4-0, 9-1.) And 6-11 forward Wyatt Hagerty emphatically kicked it down.
The senior big man, who is being recruited by a number of mid-major schools, scored four points as part of a 6-0 run to tie the game at 59, including a basket with 42 seconds remaining. Hagerty finished with 24 points and 15 rebounds to lead all players.
One of those Indians’ turnovers came with 9.5 seconds remaining to set up Young’s long-range basket for the winning points. Young finished with nine points.
“Things change quick,” said Goga. “That’s basketball. We made mistakes down the stretch. We knew (Young) was gonna get it. He’s a good player and made a really nice shot.”
The game had a number of momentum swings, and neither team ever held a stranglehold. Peters Township’s biggest lead was seven points; Bethel Park’s was five. Hagerty’s production was somewhat neutralized by Gabe Pritz (19 points), and Cody Gilchrist’s 20 points for Bethel Park was matched by Nick Parello’s 21.
Both teams also found a lot of success on the inside. Hagerty’s points, and most of Gilchrist’s, came in the paint, while Pritz’s speed and athleticism allowed him to drive the basket for most of his points.
In the end, it was Young’s outside shooting that proved to be the difference.
“We found a way to make plays at the end when we needed it,” said O’Connor.
Rebounding was the other key difference. Bethel Park, behind Hagerty and Gilchrist (nine rebounds,) held a 33-18 advantage on the glass.
“In a close game, blame the coach,” Goga said. “I’ll take the blame. My kids played their butts off. They gave me everything. It was a great high school basketball game. We did a lot of good things. We just have to clean stuff up. We’ll be fine.”
Bethel Park committed 15 turnovers. … Joey Mascaro had eight assists for the Black Hawks. … Bethel Park attempted only six free throws; none by Hagerty.