Just when it appeared as though Barnesville had let one slip away, the Shamrocks rescued a victory from the jaws of defeat Tuesday night in boys' basketball action.
After leading from early in the opening quarter, Barnesville found itself trailing by two points, 55-53, with a minute to play, but the hosts tallied the final five points of the game to earn a 58-55 decision over stunned Shenandoah inside the jam-packed Greenhouse.
"Us and Shenandoah always seem to play a game that goes right down to the final buzzer," Barnesville head coach Chris Pack revealed after the last-minute rally gave his team its first win of the season in two starts.
"Maybe we should've charged the fans on the way out, and not on the way in."
Down by two after the Zeps' Levi Reed meshed the back-end of a two-shot foul, Barnesville quickly worked the ball upcourt and got it into the hands of Brian Clark. The 6-1 junior had netted 10 points in the first quarter, but hadn't scored since.
However, that all changed when the sweet-shooting southpaw calmly drained a three-pointer from the right wing that gave the Shamrocks a 56-55 lead with just under 30 ticks remaining.
Barnesville's Dylan MacMillan, a 4-year veteran, picked the pocket of a Shenandoah player at midcourt and sailed in for a layup that bumped the lead to 58-55 with 11 seconds on the clock.
Following a timeout by the Zeps, an attempt to tie the game from the corner by Brett Bond was off the mark, as was a followup in the paint as the buzzer sounded.
"That was a huge win for our seniors, our juniors and our younger kids," Pack assessed. "Brian can light it up from the outside at times, and 'D Mac' came up with some huge efforts on offensive putbacks."
Shenandoah head coach Craig Sebring was happy with the way his team finished, albeit it three points short, but wasn't particularly pleased with the start.
"We dug ourselves a hole at the beginning," he recalled. "We had too many turnovers. I think we had 14 in the first half. That should be a strong point of our game, but tonight it wasn't."
Behind Clark's early hot hand, he scored 10 of his 16 in the initial eight minutes, the Shamrocks broke a 7-all deadlock with a 17-4 run that gave them a 24-11 advantage after one period.
As hot as Barnesville was in the first quarter, it meshed 10 of 18 shots, the Shamrocks were just as cold in the middle two periods and for the first five minutes of the fourth panel.
"Our shooting went south," Pack explained. "We played really well in the first quarter, but we couldn't get our shots to drop after that."
Barnesville went a combined 7-for-36 from the floor in the middle two stanzas.
Meanwhile, Shenandoah was slowly creeping back into the game as Danny Neuhart scored 10 of his game-high 22 points in the third period, and James Luyster's buzzer-beater from well beyond the bonus arc left the Zeps on the short end of a 42-40 count with a quarter left to play.
"We made some adjustments at halftime, and they worked for awhile," Sebring said. "We picked up the intensity on defense a little bit and hit some shots that we didn't in the first half. We made a run."
Bond gave the Zeps the lead at 49-48 with a pair of free throws at the 4:38 mark. Following a Barnesville turnover, Bond converted a scooping layup for a 51-48 margin. The Shamrocks turned the ball over once again, and Luyster made it a 5-point game, 53-48, with two charity tosses with 3:55 showing.
Barnesville's Zach Houston muscled his way inside for two points to stop Shenandoah's 10-0 spurt, but Bond hit the front end of a two-shot foul for a 54-50 nod at the 2:58 mark.
Clark knocked down a trey from the left side of the floor to pull the Shamrocks to within 54-53, and set the stage for the last-minute dramatics.
Clark and MacMillan evenly divided 32 points for the winners. Houston added eight and Brandon Burkhart seven. Luyster backed Neuhart with a dozen.
Shenandoah held a slim, 49-42, edge off the glass as Luyster and Brandon Farnsworth pulled down a dozen each. Houston had eight, Burkhart seven and MacMillan six.
Isaac McGee charted five steals and four assists for the Shamrocks, who also received valuable time off the bench from Jacob Anderson and David Stewart.
The Zeps had 20 turnovers, seven more than the Shamrocks.
Both teams are back in action Friday as Barnesville remains at home to meet Bridgeport, while Shenandoah travels to Shadyside.
Shenandoah won the JV game.
SHENANDOAH (55) - Neuhart 8 2-2 22; Bond 2 3-4 7; Farnsworth 1 3-4 5; Wikander 0 3-6 3; Luyster 4 2-4 12; Reed 2 1-2 5; Warner 0 1-2 1; Moore 0 0-0 0; Totals: 17-53 15-24. BARNESVILLE (58) - Burkhart 3 1-2 7; MacMillan 7 1-2 16; Clark 5 3-3 16; Mcgee 2 0-0 4; Houston 4 0-0 8; Anderson 2 0-0 4; Stewart 1 0-0 3; Wells 0 0-0 0; Totals: 24-68 5-7.
Three-Point Goals: Shenandoah 6 (Neuhart 4, Luyster 2); Barnesville 5 (Clark 3, MacMillan, Stewart)
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