DuBOIS — While it was the long-distance shots that turned the wheels, it was free throws that ultimately pulled the train into the station — even if it was a little late.
The DuBois Area High School boys basketball team canned 10 3-pointers in its final home game of the season Monday but still needed a little push at the end to score a 67-63 double-overtime victory over Johnsonburg at the DuBois Area Middle School.
While it was certainly fitting that DuBois’ Alex Beers capped a big fourth-quarter rally by banking a 3-pointer off the glass to tie the game, it was actually a play that didn’t result in a basket that helped the Beavers (10-11) to the win.
That play came with DuBois holding a one-point lead in the second overtime period with less than 20 seconds showing on the clock and inbounding the ball from the Johnsonburg end of the floor.
DuBois junior forward Kenny Garvey broke for the other end and inbounder Nick LaBrasca hit him in stride with the pass near the free throw line.
“We give them the green light if he’s open and he has the guy beat,” DuBois head coach Scott Creighton said. “From where I was looking, the guy was running with Kenny until he got to half court and then looked at him thinking that it was just a decoy. But, when he looked at Kenny, the ball was already in the air and, by the time he realized it, he had to get him with an intentional foul.”
Garvey missed the shot as the Johnsonburg player was forced to shove him for the intentional foul sending him to the line. He made 1 of 2 shots to give the Beavers a 65-63 lead and the ball out of bounds.
Garvey was fouled on the inbounds play and went to the line where he hit 1 of 2 again to make it a 66-63 game.
Johnsonburg had another chance off the miss, but DuBois sophomore Dylan McCluskey ended up with the ball and was sent to the line for two shots.
McCluskey also hit 1 of 2, but this time the shot made it a two-possession game and basically sealed the win for DuBois.
Ironically, it seemed the game was all but over after Johnsonburg hung 21 points on the board in the third quarter, opening up an 11-point lead, 51-40, to start the fourth.
Whether they took their foot off the gas, or simply started to struggle from the field, the Rams nosedived in the final eight minutes, scoring just two points to open the way for the Beavers.
“Johnsonburg has a good, solid program and they were up on us,” Creighton said. “But, to our kids’ credit, we were resilient. It might not have been the prettiest thing but we just kept on battling through the adversity until we finally broke through and got the lead.”
One of the big reasons for that was the shooting of Beers who finished with a game-high 23 points, including six made shots from beyond the arc.
“He shot it really, really well tonight,” Creighton said. “We’ve been talking to him about his confidence but he’s in the game for a reason and one of his main assets for us is his ability to knock down the 3.”
But, Beers wasn’t the only DuBois player to finish in double digits as Garvey had 18 points LaBrasca 15.
Johnsonburg also had three players finish in double digits.
Drew Akers also had a big night from behind the arc as he hit six 3-pointers to help him score a team-high 20 points while Kacey Raubenstrauch had 11 and Tyler Singer put down 10.
Neither team could get an advantage early as the lead stayed within three points for most of the first quarter.
DuBois did open the lead to six with about two minutes to play in the quarter before Johnsonburg scored five unanswered points to finish the frame and trailed by just one, 13-12, to start the second.
The Rams gained some footing in the second as they outscored DuBois by six in the frame to grab a 30-25 lead at the intermission.
DuBois was able to put up its highest point total of the game in the third quarter but still lost ground as Johnsonburg outscored the Beavers 21-15 to take an 11-point advantage into the fourth.
That turned out to be hard to sustain as the Beavers put up 13 unanswered points, including Beers’ 3 off the glass, to open up a 53-51 lead.
Johnsonburg finally put points on the board with 22 seconds left to tie the game and, after a missed scoring opportunity by both teams, the game went into overtime.
Both teams again had opportunities to grab the victory in overtime but, after battling to a 7-7 draw, pushed the game into a second OT where the Beavers were finally able to set themselves up for the win.
DuBois travels to Brookville for its regular-season finale Friday, while the Rams will now wait until the start of the postseason to play again.