BROCKWAY — Wednesday evening’s game between the DuBois and Brockway boys basketball teams was, in every sense of the expression, truly a tale of two halves.
The Beavers got out to a big 27-8 lead in the first 10 minutes of play, but Brockway worked the deficit down to eight by halftime. The Rovers eventually took the lead in the middle of the third quarter and held on from there for a stunning 63-60 win over the Beavers at Brockway High School.
“It’s a huge win for us. We’re coming off a tough loss in the (Brookville) Tip-off Tournament against Brookville where we had opportunities down the stretch like we did tonight. We couldn’t get a couple shots to drop. Tonight we did.”
Brockway (2-1) was led by a big effort from senior Carter Adams. After being held scoreless in the first quarter, Adams exploded for 27 points over the final three quarters to lead the Rovers.
DuBois (3-1) was handed their first loss of the season after winning the Keystone Tip-off Tournament and beating Cambria Heights on Monday.
“I think we probably got a little lucky in the first couple games,” said DuBois coach Scott Creighton. “This is a very inexperienced group. You saw how quickly we can go from blowing their doors off to getting our doors blown off. A lot of it I think has to do with the lack of experience and the lack of discipline to stay focused.”
The two teams started the second half with the Beavers up by eight points, but Anthony Esposito’s three-pointer on their second possession quickly put the Rover deficit at five points.
Noah Vokes tied the game at 40 with a putback bucket, and Zane Puhala gave Brockway the lead with a reverse layup with 3:45 to play in the third quarter at 42-40. DuBois never re-gained the lead.
Still, the Beavers kept it within striking distance as Brockway led 49-46 after three quarters.
Vokes hit a big corner three early in the fourth quarter to put his team up six, but DuBois still hung around as Kenny Garvey hit a layin and a free throw with under five minutes to play.
That’s where Adams took over the game as he was fouled driving to the hoop for an “and-one” with 4:01 to play. After missing the free throw, the senior got his own rebound in the corner behind the arc. Adams then splashed a three-pointer to put his team up 59-51 with 3:58 to play.
“He took good shots,” said Clark of Adams. “Took it to the hole, drew some fouls, and had a really good night. Carter hit some huge shots.
“We got contributions from everybody tonight and we needed them.”
“I think we had a difficult time recognizing how we got that big lead, and we started having a lot of silly possessions, taking a lot of poor shots, not taking care of the ball,” said Creighton. “Had we continued (the first half play), I feel pretty confident we would have won. Again, I think that’s where the lack of experience and lack of maturity comes in.”
Although the Beavers trailed by eight, they still had fight left in them as Chase Husted hit a pair of free throws, and Justin Manduley had a layin to get the game back to four points with 3:13 to play.
Garvey then had a three-point play of his own with 1:34 left to put the game at 59-58.
After Adams hit a pair of free throws with 41 seconds left, Alex Beers put in a bucket to get the game back to a one-point difference with 32 seconds left.
Brockway’s Jon Wood was then fouled and hit both free throws in a one-and-one situation with 23 seconds left.
Wood was again fouled with four seconds left, but missed the front end of the one-and-one. DuBois had one last gasp to tie the game from half-court, but the shot hit the front iron to end the game.
The two teams started out to a 5-5 tie, but DuBois closed the first quarter on a 14-2 run over the final four minutes. The Beavers’ Jonathan Cruz and Manduley each had five points in the quarter.
Manduley gave his team the biggest advantage with a three-pointer from the corner to put his team up 27-8 with 6:27 to play in the first half.
“Just keep battling and chip away,” said Clark of the first half deficit. “We’re not going to get it all back at one time. Just keep playing hard on defense. Keep contesting shots. Eventually we’ll get some misses and get some rebounds, get out and push the tempo, convert on the offensive end and chip away at it a little at a time. I thought our guys did a great job with that.”
Brockway finished the second quarter on an 18-9 run, thanks to the spark from Adams. Adams had 13 of his 27 points in that quarter, while Puhala also hit a key three-pointer in the quarter.
Vokes had 16 points, while Puhala added 11 for Brockway.
For DuBois, Chase Husted had 16 points on the night, while Garvey added 15 and Manduley had 12.
“We win or we learn. We don’t look at it as we lost. We look at it as a learning experience,” said Creighton. “We have to grow from this. We were fortunate to come out with a win in a couple of these games early on, this one not so much. Hopefully this serves as a little bit of motivation and incentive to work hard and get to where we need to be, and where we can possibly be at the end of the season.”
Brockway is back in action on Friday as they host Cameron County. DuBois is off until Tuesday as they travel to Elk County Catholic.