Golden Eagles succumb in 2OT

TYRONE – Brandon Gripp gave the Tyrone boys basketball team a 17-point lead over Bald Eagle Area minutes into the second quarter with his fourth 3-pointer of the night.

Instead of building off the shot, things slowly started to collapse from that point for the Golden Eagles.

BEA chipped away in each quarter and eventually won, 70-66, Friday night in double overtime despite twin starters Bryan and Bryce Greene fouling out in regulation to take a two-game lead on Tyrone in the Mountain League standings.

“We got beat back-door and didn’t have guys helping,” Tyrone coach George Gripp said. “They were just making layups. That can’t happen. If we want to be a good team, which I know we are, and I truly believe we’re one of the best teams in the district, we have to win games like this one. There is no excuse for them to come in here and get this one from us.”

Brandon Gripp, the Golden Eagles’ star senior guard, scored 21 of his game-high 31 points in the first half but only took two shots from the field during the third and fourth quarter combined.

“Some of these guys need to step up and put more time into this than they do,” George Gripp said. “Plain and simple, I’m tired of giving these guys chances. We’ve got other guys that I’m going to start giving chances to. We’ve got to start staying after practice and putting in time. We have guys who don’t touch the ball for eight or nine months, and it shows. That can’t happen.”

Bald Eagle Area (9-1) used a box-and-one defense centered around the play of reserve guard Jeffery Bennett to slow down Gripp in the second half and force him to become a distributor rather than a shooter.

The strategy paid off as the Golden Eagles missed several layups and open shots at the basket.

“I’ve got a good bench,” Bald Eagle Area coach Bill Butterworth said. “Bennett did an awesome job slowing [Gripp] down enough to keep us in the game. To win a game like this in double overtime without the Greenes is just huge.”

BEA took its first lead since the game’s opening minutes with an 8-0 run capped by Bennett’s 3-pointer with 2:48 to play in the third quarter. Nathaniel Soellner connected on his only shot of the game, a 3-pointer, to pull Tyrone within one going into the fourth quarter.

The Golden Eagles (8-3) took a three-point lead when Jordan Miller made a 3-pointer with 2:34 to play, but Jason Jones answered for BEA less than 5 seconds later.

“Every time we had people step up for us and hit a shot, we’d go right back down and give it back to them,” George Gripp said. “All we needed was one stop, a key rebound, and we talked about it at halftime. We knew it was going to come down to the end, and I don’t know what they shot, but they shot the lights out.”

Bald Eagle Area finished with 11 3-pointers, five by Brandon Gettig, who along with Jones, led the Eagles with 18 points.

Tyrone trailed by three with a minute to play in regulation, but a technical foul on Bryan Greene, his fifth foul of the night, sent Gripp to the free-throw line. He made both, and Anthony Politza went 1-for-2 from the line after being fouled on the Golden Eagles’ subsequent possession to tie the game.

Gettig missed a runner for BEA at the buzzer.

Tyrone took a three-point lead in the first overtime when Gripp made his first field goal since the first half with 1:55 left, but Gettig had another answer with a 3-pointer to knot things back up.

“Our guys don’t quit,” Butterworth said. “They are hard workers. I’ve got five seniors, and these guys have played in the state playoffs. Still, it was unbelievable that we kept answering.”

Trailing by one in the second overtime, Brandon Gripp made his biggest mistake of the game. While dribbling with the ball near midcourt, he looked over the defense, took a step back and stepped on the halfcourt line for a violation and a turnover.

Rather than dwelling on the mistake, Gripp stole the BEA inbounds pass and made a layup to put Tyrone up by one with less than a minute to play.

BEA missed an ugly shot, but Jones came away with the loose ball and made a putback with 22 seconds left. Gripp’s jump shot rimmed out, and Erik Wagner, who finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds, tackled BEA’s Ryan Dyke after the rebound, drawing an intentional foul.

Dyke made both free throws, and Bennett sealed the game after being fouled on Bald Eagle Area’s next possession with a free throw.

“We had this game and our game Monday against Penns Valley circled,” George Gripp said. “It’s unfortunate that we lost this one tonight, but I told these guys we need to forget this one and come in here and win the rest of our home games. We have to win as many of these road games as we can, but it’s not going to be easy. These home losses sting.”

BALD EAGLE AREA (70): Bryan Greene 2 1-2 5, Gettig 6 1-2 18, Bryce Greene 1 0-0 2, Dyke 2 6-10 11, Jones 6 3-3 18, Bennett 2 2-4 7, Butterworth 3 2-4 9. Totals – 22 15-25 70.

TYRONE (66): Lingafelt 1 0-0 2, Politza 2 2-6 6, Wagner 5 0-1 10, Miller 5 0-0 12, Gripp 10 5-6 31, McKeehen 1 0-0 2, Soellner 1 0-0 3. Totals – 25 7-13 66.


Bald Eagle Area6 20 16 13 4 11 – 70

Tyrone18 14 9 14 4 7 – 66

3-point goals: Bald Eagle Area 11 (Gettig 5, Jones 3, Dyke, Bennett, Butterworth); Tyrone 7 (Gripp 4, Miller 2, Soellner).

Records: Bald Eagle Area (9-1, 5-0 in Mountain League); Tyrone (8-3, 4-2 in Mountain League).

Officials: Scott Sullivan, Barry Abbott, Emery Smith.

JV: Tyrone, 45-35. High scorers-Nathaniel Soellner, T, 19; Noah Chambers, BEA, 14.