DRY CREEK – On paper, Pitkin should have ran away from East Beauregard, but the Trojans would not just give the Tigers the win.
Pitkin’s stepped up its intensity in the second half, leading the way to a 70-57 win Friday night at East Beauregard High School.
“You would always rather learn from a win than learn from a loss,” Pitkin head coach Jake Greene said. “We didn’t bring our A-game, but we had a good start. We kind of relaxed and got lazy, and they never stopped playing hard. You have to give credit to them. They came out with more energy and effort than we did.”
The loss drops the Trojans to 5-21 on the year, but head coach Stephen Brown liked what he saw from his guys.
“My kids have played hard all year, but we have four guys that have never played any varsity before,” he said. “In close situations, we struggled all year or we would have won more games. My guys have some grit. They still enjoy playing. A lot of teams in our situation wouldn’t be doing that. They would be throwing in the towel.”
Pitkin jumped out to a 11-2 lead in the first quarter, but East Beauregard ended the period on a 11-3 run to lead 19-18.
“We have good leadership,” Brown said. “Noah Gill is a heck of a leader. The kids follow him, and they play hard. When your best player dives on the floor after a loose ball, everyone follows.”
Trailing by 1, Tiger senior Garrett Edwards hit back-to-back 3s and a layup to put his team up 31-24.
Edwards finished the contest with a game-high 36 points.
“We wanted to make sure he didn’t get 50,” Brown said. “If he wanted to do something, he went and did it. He is one of those special players that can do that. He can go out and get 40 every night if he wants to.”
Leading by 3 at the half, No. 5 Pitkin (21-8) got back its original game plan and came out of the locker room hitting its shots and went up 42-32 at the 6:06 mark of the third quarter.
“I think they thought this game didn’t really matter, and you can’t come in with that kind of attitude,” Greene said. “I think it did matter because it could have dropped us in the rankings if we lost. I was trying to be as prepared as possible, but sometimes it’s hard.”
East Beauregard never let the game get away from it but could never close the gap, mainly due to 17 points from Edwards, who started attacking the paint.
“That was supposed to be the game plan from the beginning, but we hit some 3s early,” Greene said. “That may have hurt us, because we got a little 3 happy and didn’t stick to the game plan. We like and need to shoot the 3, but we have to play inside-out.”
Hayden LaVergne added 11 points for the Tigers.
Noah Gill led the Trojans with 23 points, including hitting three 3 pointers.
“He reads everything that happens,” Brown said. “He can also shoot it really well. He’s great at reading situations and altering things. That’s a big thing.”
Ashton Cooley finished with 18, and Dylan Singleton added 10 for East Beauregard.
The Trojans were sitting at No. 27 in the most recent Power Rankings but Brown expects his guys to keep working.
“Our expectations are to play hard like we did tonight and get ready with practice next week,” Brown said. “We’ll see how it goes. I have to get some film on them.”
Pitkin and East Beauregard will find out their playoff fates Monday afternoon when the LHSAA releases the brackets.