BRUNSWICK — Brunswick couldn’t stop Bo Leary inside and Edward Little couldn’t stop Mitch Black and Garrett Erb outside.

When the final buzzer put a stop to Monday night’s tense KVAC matchup, the Red Eddies escaped with a 64-63 victory.

Leary finished with 34 points and 13 rebounds, including two critical free throws with 1.1 of a second remaining. Black (seven 3-pointers) scored 18 of his 24 in the second half, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the one-point final margin, while Erb scored all of his 13 points in the second half.

Trailing by 13 early in the third quarter, Brunswick stormed back to give the Eddies a serious scare, even taking a one-point lead late in the third.

“What did they shoot in the second half?” EL coach Mike Adams asked.

The Dragons were 16-for-27 (59 percent) in the second half, including 7-f0r-11 (64 percent) from beyond the 3-point arc in the second half.

“It’s not like we didn’t play any defense,” Adams said after hearing the stats. “It’s not like nobody was on them.”

And it’s not as if no one from Brunswick tried to defend Leary. Two of the Dragons’ big men, Bradford Smith and Nolan Robbins, fouled out battling the EL senior center in the paint.

“We knew we would have our hands full with their post guys,” Brunswick coach Todd Hanson said. “No matter, if we played behind Bo, he caught and scored, if we fronted him, they lobbed it over, and he would step between help. He’s a good player, and that was difficult for us to defend.”

Leary scored 11 of the Eddies’ first 15 points of the fourth quarter, either in the paint or at the foul line. Younger brother Quin Leary found him for two that made it 54-47 with 2:19 remaining, and the Eddies (7-1) seemed to have the game locked up.

“Everybody in the gym knew where the ball was going, and they have for the past eight games. He’s just so strong and uses his body so well,” Adams said. “Our guards did a great job of being patient in finding and getting Bo the ball. And they also did a great job of stepping up and hitting big shots.”

Black and Erb hit back-to-back 3s to make it a one-point game with 1:21 to go. The Learys hooked up again inside to make it a 3-point game, and a Brunswick turnover forced the Dragons to put EL’s Cody Nicholas on the foul line.

Nicholas hit both to make it 58-53 with 30.4 seconds to go. Black then banked a 3 from the right elbow extended to cut the lead back to two. The Dragons (4-4) immediately fouled Tim Mains with 19.5 seconds remaining.

Mains (14 points, six rebounds, six assists) coolly swished both shots, but Erb made it a one-point game again with a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left. Again the Dragons fouled Mains, and again the senior guard coolly made both freebies for a 62-59 edge with seven seconds left.

EL’s Ian Therriault fouled Black in the backcourt with 6.1 seconds remaining. The move appeared to be intentional to keep Brunswick from tying it with a 3, but Adams said it wasn’t.

“That wasn’t our plan. I wasn’t trying to foul him,” Adams said. “I just wanted to give some pressure and keep the ball in front.”

Black made the front end of the one-and-one to make it a two-point game, then intentionally missed the second. His line-drive throw ricocheted off the rim and back to him at the foul line. He dribbled two steps back to the top of the key and tried to take the lead with a 3, but the shot was short and wide right.

Leary came down with the miss and was fouled with just over a second left, setting up his clinching free throws.

“If the basketball gods were on our side, if EL would miss a free throw… They made free throws when they had to,” Hanson said.

EL led throughout the first half and by nine at intermission.

The Eddies shot 50 percent from the floor in the second half and 17-for-22 (78 percent) from the foul line for the game.


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