The third time wasn’t a charm for the Bald Eagle High School boys’ basketball team in its PIAA playoff opener.
The Bald Eagles allowed District 7 Champion Beaver Falls to go on a run from the opening tip, and before the game was a minute and a half old, Bald Eagle trailed 8-0.
But after head coach Bill Butterworth called a timeout, the Bald Eagles stormed back and took an 11-8 lead with Brandon Gettig and Dennis Fisher each scoring a pair of baskets.
Beaver Falls regained the lead but saw Bald Eagle come back to within a basket at 24-21 two minutes into the second quarter as Fisher scored back-to-back baskets.
Over the last six minutes of the first half, though, Beaver Falls outscored the Eagles 27-4, and there was no third comeback in the Eagles as Beaver Falls rolled to a 92-48 win.
“Our guys hustled all the time and came back twice,” said Butterworth. “But we just didn’t have enough left.
“We tried to create havoc and at one point I think we even had them tired but we just didn’t have enough.”
Down 51-25 at the half, Bald Eagle tried to make it a game in the second half matching last year’s PIAA Class AA runnersup basket for basket for the first two minutes but a 10-0 Beaver Falls run eliminated any comeback hopes. Beaver Falls had five players score in double figures as the Tigers shot exceptionally well, especially from three point range. Beaver Falls connected on 13 three-pointers on the night.
“Bald Eagle is a really good team,” said Beaver Falls coach Doug Biega. “We’re a good shooting team, though, and this game we had a good shooting night.”
Dennis Fisher was the only Bald Eagle in double figures with 16 points.
“Beaver Falls shot well, you could see their shots were tight on,” said Butterworth. “We tried preparing for them by practicing five (players) on ten, that’s the only way to simulate their speed and that part worked out for us.
“We had a lot of fun out there. We won 21 games this year and were only the second Bald Eagle team to reach the states. I wish we would have had a better showing in the districts, though.
“Then we wouldn’t have had to face Beaver Falls.”