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Falcons fall to Dogs, but beat the Golden Bears

January 25, 2018
Nik Zirounis , The Town Crier

The boys basketball teams representing Fitch and Youngstown East have put on two spectacular shows this season.

Back on Dec. 8, the Golden Bears used an extra period to edge the Falcons in Austintown 103-101. In the rematch played last Friday night in Youngstown, the Falcons earned their redemption in another thriller ending 68-67. One could only wish that these two schools could continue to stage instant classics the remainder of this season. If things fall correctly, they may have one more rendezvous in a few weeks.

"Depending on the seedings we may see East in the first round (of the Division I state tournament)," said Fitch head coach Brian Beany.

Article Photos

Photos by Mike Audi, Town Crier 

Chris Brown takes a jump shot and drills a 3-pointer during the Jan. 16 game against the Poland Bulldogs. The road game ended with a score of Poland 70 and Fitch 56.

After playing to a 20-20 first period tie last weekend, the Falcons edged East by three points in the second stanza to take a 41-38 lead into intermission. A 16-12 run by the Falcons in the third quarter upped that advantage to 57-50. The Fitch kids needed that lead because they almost threw away the game over the final eight minutes.

"It was a back and forth game," said Beany. "There were four or five possessions we didn't score that could have blown the game open. I knew those empty possessions could come back to hurt us."

Beany's bunch led 68-66 with a few seconds remaining when an East player stepped up to the foul line for a potential tie and a second overtime match this season. After the first charity toss fell through the hoop, Coach Beany signaled for a timeout.

"I figured we had to ice them," said Beany about his strategy. "I preached to our kids (in the huddle) the importance of boxing out and getting a rebound (if East missed)."

That preaching paid off as Fitch's Cole Constance secured East's errant second free toss, secured the basketball and subsequently secured the Falcons' fourth conference win this season.

"Cole Constance did a great job on that rebound," Beany said. "It was such a big win in the conference for us."

Constance also paid dividends on the offensive end with 13 points. Dylan Beany led the Falcons with 15 points. Randy Smith and A.J. Green scored 12 and 9 respectively. Coach Beany bragged about the diversity in his team's scoring and also acknowledged the performance of the lone junior in the above-mentioned group.

"It was nice to see how we spread out the scoring," said the coach. "I also have to give credit to A.J. Green for his great game and for the way he's played lately."

The Falcons had a shot to subdue unbeaten Poland on the road on Jan. 16, but unlike the East game, they came up on the wrong end of the scoreboard. The Bulldogs outlasted Fitch 70-56 to stay perfect in 2017/2018. Coach Beany thought the score looked worse than the way his youngsters actually played.

"We had opportunities, but we missed some layups in the first half," said Beany. "(Poland) has some great shooters and they'll make you pay for missed opportunities."

Fitch will now get the opportunity to play some schools for the second time this season. The round robin format of the AAC Red Tier allows the Falcons a chance at revenge against Canfield on the road this Friday. The Cardinals beat the Falcons 77-57 on Dec. 16 in Austintown. Another game with Warren Harding takes place in Austintown on Jan. 30. The Raiders ripped the Falcons 68-47 in Warren a week before Christmas.

One Red Tier team Fitch hasn't encountered is Howland. A tussle with the Tigers was postponed due to inclement weather earlier this year so they'll make that match up on Jan. 27 in Howland. Fitch's home game with Howland will be on Feb. 9. With a lot games left versus Red Tier rivals, Beany believes there is plenty of time for his current .500 outfit to make a run at a division title.

"Our conference is still wide open," Beany said.

 
 

 

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