With just under 10 seconds to play in Sugarcreek on Tuesday Feb. 7, Malvern led Garaway by just two points and were clinging to their late lead. The Pirates’ Jenson Garber slashed to the tin and got a layup to fall with two second left forcing overtime.
With the IVC South sole championship on the line, the massive bucket from Garber was the apex of a late Garaway fourth quarter run as they battled back from down 43-36 midway through the fourth to force overtime with Malvern.
Typically in basketball, the team that finishes regulation on a high and heads into overtime with the momentum ends up coming out on top.
That was not the case on Tuesday night.
The Hornets started the overtime period on a 7-0 run finishing off a perfect Inter-Valley Conference season at 12-0 and beating the Pirates 61-58.
Malven (19-1, 12-0) had already had clinched the IVC North Division, but a Garaway win would have gave the Pirates and outright win of the conference’s South Division. With Sandy Valley’s 61-47 win over Tusky Valley and Garaway’s loss, the two schools will share the IVC South championship. Both Sandy Valley and Garaway finished at 9-3 in conference play.
Leading Malvern in scoring was Mitch Minor with 19 points as he was dazzling from 3-point range hitting five a them. Minor’s biggest bomb came on Malvern’s second possession of overtime when he nailed a deep one from way down town that put the Hornets up 53-48.
J’allen Barrino added 18 points for the IVC South champs getting a lot of his points from the free throw line and Rodney Smith played a magnificent all-around floor game while scoring 13 points.
The Pirates (15-4, 9-3) were lead by Logan Yoder who put up 16 points, Alex Roden got a late start to the scoring party but ended up with 13 points and Graber had 10.
Garaway scooted out to an early first quarter 15-6 lead thanks to one of Yoder’s two 3-pointers of the night and a layup by Gabe Amicone with 1:54 left in the opening quarter. The Amicone bucket forced a Malvern timeout. The Pirates’ early seven point lead was the largest lead by either team until Malvern led in overtime 60-51 at one point.
The second quarter saw five lead changes as the teams went back-and-forth. Malvern’s Smith did most of his damage in the second scoring six of his 13 total points in the period.
Malvern built a seven point lead in the third when they got it to 35-28 on an Burrino jumper and two free throws. Garaway got a boost at the end of the third quarter when Amicone hit a buzzer beater from the seat of his pants to cut the Malvern lead to 39-34 after three and setting up an epic fourth quarter.
Trailing in the fourth 43-36 the Pirates got free throws and a bucket from Yoder and Amicone scored in the paint to shrink the Hornets’ lead to 45-44. Garber then inserted some heroics when his driving layup put Garaway on top 46-45. Garber was answered by a Minor 3-ball with under 10 seconds to play that gave Malvern back the lad 48-46.
The Pirates then went the length of the floor and ended it with another sweet dive to the basket by Garber that he finished with just two seconds to play. That would be the Garber basket that forced the overtime.
The momentum of the late fourth quarter comeback didn’t hold up for the Pirates and they ultimately fell to the Hornets in OT.