Beecher City broke out of a first-half half-court slump and used the second half to run away -- literally -- from Cowden-Herrick 75-57 Thursday night.
After a first half where the Eagles couldn’t get good looks in the half-court game and trailed 31-24, Beecher City amped up the pressure defensively and got out in transition time and time again.
The Eagles stole the ball in passing lanes, down low, and anytime they could, and outscored Cowden-Herrick 51-26 in the second half as they took control.
“We picked it up on the defensive end, we were terrible in the first half,” said Beecher City coach Jason Eirhart. “You get it done on the defensive end, good things’ll happen, start playing the passing lanes, start getting active hands.”
In the first half, it was the Cowden defense that looked like the better unit, using a zone to clog the middle and aggressively pressure Beecher City senior Brady Barnes.
It worked, as Barnes had just four points in the half and the Hornet defenders always recovered to prevent the deep ball.
“That was our gameplan, to stop Brady and (Austin) Rexroad on the outside,” said Cowden-Herrick coach Marc Bain.
On the other end, Colton Burrus exploded for Cowden, pouring in 21 points in the first half and breaking down the Beecher City defense seemingly at will.
But come the second half, a number of old issues reared their head against the Hornets and Beecher City took advantage against its rival.
“With 10 guys total in the program, we just run out of gas,” Bain said. “We need five or six (players) for JV, we go hard and go hard, and eventually it just catches up with you.”
Barnes got loose in the second half, putting up 22 points of a game-high 26, making the majority of his baskets in transition or on offensive rebounds from the transition game. Burrus had just four in the second half as Cowden’s offense stalled.
After trailing 36-31 two minutes into the third quarter, the Eagles went on a huge 19-4 run and seized control of the game.
The return of Barnes to the lineup this week from a heart condition has provided a spark on both ends of the floor for the Eagles, and it showed Thursday.
“Guys can be more confident getting down the floor because it doesn’t have to be such a five-man effort to rebound,” Eirhart said. “He’s someone who can run the floor (too). He opens it up as a whole, we’ve been trying to do that all year. It’s starting to click a little bit.”
Austin Rexroad and Jackson Bales each scored 11 points for Beecher City, Brandon Gardner had 10 and Adam Doty scored nine.
For Cowden, Dylan Barnes had eight points and Micah Sandiford scored seven for the Hornets in support of Burrus’ 25.
The Hornets fall to 6-18 on the season and play their fourth game in as many nights tonight, hosting the Dieterich Movin’ Maroons.
Beecher City is now 11-11 overall, 2-1 since the return of Barnes, and the Eagles host St. Elmo/Brownstown tonight for Senior Night.
Beecher City 11 13 28 23 75
Cowden-Herrick 18 13 14 12 57
Beecher City: Gardner 10, Doty 9, Giles 2, Lagerhausen 4, Bales 11, Rexroad 11, Kenter 2, B. Barnes 26
Cowden-Herrick: Blackerby 2, Sphar 2, M. Sandiford 7, Lorton 2, Burrus 25, M. Sandiford, Nohren 2, D. Barnes 8, Evans 6