Bucs beat Gallatin on last second shot
Story by Zach Womble
GALLATIN – Just as he has practiced so many times in the driveway growing up, Kaleb Powell’s game winning 3-pointer as time expired in overtime lifted the Beech Buccaneers to a thrilling 51-49 victory Friday night in Jerry Vradenburg Gymnasium.
“It was actually the same play that we ran last year against Nolensville,” Powell said. “I knew I had to stay calm and just shoot it like any other shot.”
Powell’s Bucs looked to be in trouble following a Beljwok Adaing free throw with 3.4 seconds left, but head coach Kip Brown knew exactly which play to dial up in the critical situation.
“We knew what play we were running when we called the timeout,” Brown said. “It worked last year, it worked again this year. It’s a great play, but the guy still has to go out and make the shot, and he did with a hand in his face.”
Inbounding the ball on the far baseline, Luke Fleming fired to mid-court where Leroy Blackwell jumped to the highest point, catching the ball before firing to Powell, who streaked down the right sideline. The sequence went catch, one dribble, pull up, splash, then ball game.
Last season against Nolensville, it was graduated senior Nelson Smith that made the inbound-pass, but it was the familiar face of Leroy Blackwell who caught the ball at mid court.
“Luke made the perfect pass and Leroy made the perfect pass and catch,” Brown said. “Last year it was Nelson Smith who made the pass and Leroy who caught it; he can jump really high, has great hands and good passer so he is the perfect guy for that play.”
Before there was overtime and the game-winning shot, there was Gallatin junior Beljwok Adaing. He scored 25 points, with 19 coming in the second half and 18 coming in the painted area.
His play brought the Wave back to force overtime and it nearly won them the game in the extra frame had it not been for Powell’s 3-pointer.
“He played really hard tonight,” Gallatin coach Bobby Luna said. “I thought in the second half we were better at not settling. It’s good to be in an overtime game but we need to be better on some execution.
“We had our chances when we were down so it was good to battle back and give ourselves a chance. It’s a tough one to lose. Beljwok was a warrior tonight, he played hard. We need him to carry us offensively right now.”
Beech led 24-17 at the break and 37-32 at the end of three quarters, but a 17-9 Green Wave advantage got Gallatin back into the game and eventually into overtime.
The loss is the second of the week for Gallatin, losing on the road at Mt. Juliet and against Beech Friday night.
“I thought we played really well defensively at Mt. Juliet and tonight we struggled offensively a little bit at times, but we got better as the game went on,” Luna said. “We just got to get better every day. Give Beech credit for going out and winning the game.”
During the game’s most critical time, Beech had plenty of youth on the floor, but to the Bucs credit, Brown says they are playing beyond their years.
“For a young group with a freshman, two sophomores, a junior and a senior to do that at that age with that little experience is impressive and it is good signs for our future,” Brown added.
BOYS BOX SCORE
Beech (51): Kaleb Powell 18, Shane Freeman 8, Leroy Blackwell 8, Luke Fleming 8, Jermaine Holt 4, Bradley Wheeler 3, Andrew Paige 2
Gallatin (49): Beljwok Adaing 25, Noah Ring 11, Ty Martin 7, Cade Martin 4, Ethan Rogers 2