The saying in basketball goes, “You can live and die by the 3.”
The same could be said for wrestling when it comes to bonus points.
In Tuesday’s match between Penns Valley and Bald Eagle Area, the teams earned bonus points in 10 the 14 matches.
The bonus-point victories were split evenly between the Rams and Eagles, but BEA’s came at the most opportune times in a 35-32 win.
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“We don’t have any room for error when you got forfeits and we bumped to fill another forfeit,” Penns Valley coach Joel Brinker said. “The bonus points haunt you. You can’t get pinned. We let one or two maybe slip away that were close matches.”
The night started with BEA’s Lucas Holderman earning a pin in 5:40 over Ryan Ripka at 132 pounds. Holderman led 8-4 before the fall. Garrett Rigg followed with another pin in 3:36 over Carter Felker. Following a 6-5 Gage McClenahan win over Jared Hurd at 145 pounds, Seth Koleno, who was up two weight classes, technical falled Clayton Upcraft 16-0 in 5:22.
After four bouts, the Eagles led 20-0.
It was something BEA coach Ron Guenot expected, but he couldn’t relax.
“It wasn’t an ideal situation for us,” Guenot said. “Even when it was 20-0, I still wasn’t comfortable because we expect to win through our middle, that’s our strength. We expect a lot from those guys. They followed through.”
Penns Valley wasn’t deterred. Brinker actually knew his team would be in the situation based of the draw.
“As soon as we drew 132, I’m like we are hitting their wheel house,” he said. “There is good and bad in that. I knew they’d come out to a strong lead as we are hitting their hammers. It’s also a chance to weather that storm and reel them back in.”
Reel them in the Rams did.
Andrew Sharer pinned Richard Taylor at 160 pounds in 24 seconds.
Abraham Allebach earned a 14-2 major decision over Dylan Bisel. Near the end of the first period, it seemed as if Allebach had a pin wrapped up at the buzzer, but it was deemed a second too late.
Hunter Homan led 4-0 before turning Andrew Cohen to his back in 2:44. Penns Valley trailed 20-16.
BEA pulled ahead by 13 points thanks to a 3-2 win from David Close at 195 pounds and a pin from Hunter Hockenberry at 220 pounds.
The Rams responded with a 3-0 decision from Jared Bressler at 285 and an 11-3 major decision from Baylor Shunk.
The Eagles picked up a forfeit at 113 pounds and led 35-23 with two matches to go.
Penns Valley needed to pin out to force a tie. The winner would be decided on criteria, which was most pins. By that count, the Rams would have the match won with the two pins.
Penns Valley went 1 for 2 and the match was locked up for BEA.
Darren Yearick earned a 7-0 decision at 120 pounds over Alec Nyman. Clayton Royer closed out the match with a pin in 3:35.
“We knew that it was going to be a dog fight,” Guenot said. “It was, there was no doubt. I didn’t feel comfortable right there until Nyman’s loss as we had it sewed up. You can tell when a team wants it and I saw that from Penns Valley tonight. They wanted to win this match just as much as we did.”