The way the Bowling Green-Eastwood boys basketball game finished Monday night caught everyone by surprise. Even the hero, Eastwood senior guard Case Boos, could not believe what he had just pulled off.
The game was tied at 57-57 and three seconds were on the clock when Boos came out of nowhere and stole the ball from Bowling Green senior forward Evan Brandt in the backcourt.
Eastwood with the win. 59-57. pic.twitter.com/tRmEEpjrIR
— JD Pooley (@pooleyjd) December 13, 2022
Boos raced the length of the floor, scoring the winning layup at the buzzer to give the visiting Eagles a 59-57 non-league win.
Boos led all scorers with 29 points, including five three-point goals, and he had two steals, but nothing was bigger than the steal that led to the game-winning layup.
Boos says the steal and score were payback for when then-sophomore guard Brock Hastings made the winning shot two years ago on the same BG floor, propelling BG to a 51-48 win over the Eagles.
“Two years ago, we came here, and they hit a game winner on us,” Boos said. “Last year, they came to us, and they shot 80% from the three-point line (76-71 BG win) so that left a sour taste in our mouth.
“So, we came in prepared. It’s a backyard rivalry, so we wanted to win this game.”
The game was tied 57-57 when the Bobcats had possession and called a timeout with 7.1 seconds remaining to set up what would BG hoped would be another game-winner.
Eastwood still had two fouls to give before the Bobcats went into the bonus, so the Eagles’ plan was to foul and take time off the clock, making it harder for the Bobcats to set up the potential game-winner.
“We were supposed to foul right away when they got the ball,” Boos said.” So, when he got the ball, I was going to take charge in my own hands.
“So, I just went in, and I came out with the ball, and I looked at that clock and made that layup to win it. I got lucky. I got a strip, and I went.”
The only question one might ask is was 2½ seconds enough time for Boos to run the length of the floor and make a lay-up.
For anyone who has seen Boos’ speed on the football field, that is not hard to answer. But what he did even shocked Eastwood first-year coach Jason Faykosh.
“Out of all the situations we talked about, it was all defense, and that didn’t even cross my mind that we’d be able to get a layup before the clock went off,” Faykosh said.
“As he got the steal, I looked up and I saw about three seconds, and luckily, he is fast enough that he can get down the floor in that amount of time.
“But I mean that is the type of player Case is. He got his hands on it cleanly. He makes plays at the end of games,” Faykosh continued.
BG had the upper hand in the final minutes. BG junior guard Ahmir Ruffin beat a defender and scored to put the Bobcats up, 57-55, with 1:54 remaining.
After Eastwood senior forward Brady Weaver hit the floor to get a steal, it led to a missed transition layup, but senior guard Tristan Schuerman was fouled on the offensive rebound.
Schuerman missed the front end of a one-and-one, but junior forward Andrew Badenhop was right there to tip the ball back in, tying the game at 57-57, with 30 seconds remaining.
That set up what looked like might be BG’s last possession, but Boos had something to say about that. BG coach Mason Roth was not pleased with the way his team played down the stretch.
“We had bad execution at the end of the game,” Roth said. “We are up two with 1:30 remaining, we turn it over, get them to shoot a free throw and they miss it, and our guys don’t box out, and they tip it in, and we turn it over at the end.
“With inexperienced guys you expect that, but we have guys who are back. It’s kind of hard to swallow for our group right now.”
BG opened the game in a zone defense, and Eastwood grabbed a 19-8 first quarter lead as Boos, Schuerman, and sophomore guard Kadyn Donnell hit three-point shots.
The zone had worked in BG’s 56-50 Northern Lakes League win at Napoleon Friday, but Roth said it didn’t look the same Monday.
“We played zone on Friday and played well, but they made some shots. Give them credit,” Roth said.
“We were flat, and we weren’t energetic like we were Friday when we were getting our hands on the ball. They made shots and they attacked us well.”
BG switched to a man-to-man defense the rest of the game and outscored the Eagles 40-25 over the middle two quarters, taking a 48-44 lead into the final stanza.
A back-and-forth fourth quarter that saw three ties and four lead changes demonstrated what this game has been about for the two Wood County schools. The only thing missing is a trophy for the annual winner.
Faykosh was the junior varsity coach at BG two years ago when Hastings hit the game-winner, and last year returned to his alma mater to coach under Todd Henline before taking the helm at Eastwood this year.
“This game, every time I’ve coached JV or varsity, it always seems to come down to a game-winner,” Faykosh said.
“A couple years ago Brock Hastings hit a game-winner. Here, in the same building, it’s just two evenly matched teams.
“We both play hard and this one definitely meant a little more, coaching at both places, so I definitely appreciate the effort that these guys gave for me tonight.”
While BG drops to 1-3, Eastwood improves to 4-1. Boos said it was a good win after the Eagles fell to Genoa, 50-38, in Northern Buckeye Conference action Friday.
“It’s something about Genoa, we didn’t shoot very well. We came in here and we shot well, so it’s going to get us back on track,” Boos said.
The Eagles made 23-of-57 (40%) shots from the field, including nine triples and were 4-for-7 from the line.
Eastwood junior forward Andrew Badenhop had 11 points and eight rebounds, Weaver had six points and two steals, and Donnell scored five points.
Senior guard Noah Smith had three points and six rebounds, Schuerman scored three points, and junior guard Caleb Souder added two points.
BG outrebounded the Eagles, 29-21, and had 14 turnovers to Eastwood’s 15. The Bobcats shot 45% (23-of-51) from the field and made 6-of-6 free throws.
BG junior guard Ahmir Ruffin led the Bobcats with 12 points, senior forward Jabari Conway had 11 points, and Brandt scored nine points with four steals.
Hastings scored eight points with a team-high 10 rebounds, junior guard Breyden Freyman had eight points and four steals, senior forward A.J. Clemens scored six points and junior guard Grant Sonner scored three points for BG.