By Sara Welch | Correspondent
Newton Falls managed to hold off Garfield in the final minutes of a close game and secured a 50-49 non-league win on the road on Tuesday.
"I give credit to Newton Falls. They made plays down the stretch and we didn't," Garfield head coach Andrew Olseky said. "They made free throws and made some 3s. They closed. We didn't."
The G-Men faced a tie score of 33-33 going into the final quarter. Derek Walton put the Tigers ahead 36-33 with 6:56 left when he drained a 3-pointer. However, a minute later Walton would open the door for Garfield to make an unanswered nine-point run after he fouled Tyler Covey and received an additional technical foul for the aggressive nature of his indiscretion.
Covey kept his composure and went 1-of-2 from the charity strip. Covey led the G-Men with 13 points and nine rebounds.
"Tyler leads by example. He's an incredible person and ball player," said Olesky. "He's a very calming influence out there on the floor. He's so incredibly smart and he knows what to do in situations. If it wasn't for him we might have been in some trouble. I can't say enough about Tyler Covey, all the little things he does and what he does for this team."
Matt Pratt went 2-for-2 from the line after he was chosen to shoot the technicals, tying the game 36-36.
Anthony Workman made back-to-back baskets on offensive putbacks. Steven Lambert rounded out Garfield's run with a coast-to-coast layup, burying the Tigers under a six-point deficit.
Workman had 12 points for the night, and Lambert had 10 points.
"I called a timeout pretty quickly after that because I thought with emotions running high we had to refocus on the basketball game," said Newton Falls coach Roy Sembach. "That's why I simply called a timeout and told them we can't focus on anything that's happened in the past, good or bad. We were in a six-point game with four minutes to go. We needed to win one possession at a time and worry about what's ahead of us. "
Ozzie Hawkins regained the lead for Newton Falls after two perfect trips to the foul line in the bonus and one big 3-pointer.
"Ozzie is a very good player," said Sembach. "He's been really getting much better in the second half of the season. He's been more aggressive in his offensive approach rather than deferring to a lot of the other players. Now in crunch time in most games he takes the ball to the hole, which gets him to the foul line. He did a great job at the foul line tonight and helped us make a comeback in a very tough game."
Hawkins went 7-of-9 from the foul line and finished the game as the high scorer with 18 points and six rebounds.
Following a G-Men basket, Chris Greathouse drained another 3-pointer for the Tigers and pushed their lead to two points with 1:31 left in the game.
Greathouse and Kernen both finished with nine points.
Garfield only managed to come within a point of Newton Falls after Greathouse's 3-pointer down the stretch.