MCDONALD'S SWNEWS4U.COM GAME OF THE WEEK (Dec. 29–Jan. 3)
BOYS BASKETBALL: Belmont 71, Warren (Ill.) 67, OT
By Tom Gunnell, Republican Journal
BELMONT — Senior Ty Palzkill capped off a career high by sinking the game-winning 3-pointer basket in the overtime period to lift the host Belmont Braves over the Warren Warriors 71–67 in a heart-pounding non-conference boys’ basketball game played at BHS last Wednesday.
Ty Palzkill scored 23 of his career-high 32 points in the second half to rally the Braves (4–6 overall) from a 14-point halftime deficit. He combined with his cousin, senior Waylon Palzkill, to score 27 of the Braves’ points during a 31–18 run to end regulation to force overtime, and then snapped a 67–67 tie with a clutch trey in the extra period to sent the Braves to the victory.
“Ty and Waylon have been scoring very well for us and, when we get both of them going on the same night, we are going to be tough to beat,” said Belmont head coach Mitch Austin. “In the second half, they really took it upon themselves to look to score more, but also allow the offense to flow around them to create better shots.”
Belmont senior Tyler Simmons made all four his points count big as he nailed a clutch 3-pointer at the final horn to send the game into overtime, and he sank a key free throw with 4.5 second to go in OT to seal the outcome for the Braves.
“Tyler did what we would expect a senior athlete to do,” said Austin. “He made a play at the end of the game with confidence and then did same thing with the free throw. It is the situation where we want our seniors to be.”
Warren grabbed a quick lead on a 3-pointer from Tyler VenHuizen just seconds into the game and the Warriors would not let the lead go before Simmons’ buzzer-beater at the end of regulation.
The Warriors maintained a 39–25 advantage at the halftime intermission and were still ahead by 13 with 14 minutes remaining in regulation when the Braves began their comeback.
Ty Palzkill (17 points) and Waylon Palzkill (10) took care of things on the offensive end of the court, while the entire team made things difficult for the Warriors on the defensive end of the floor.
A VenHuizen 3 with 1:27 remaining put Warren up 59–53, however Ty Palzkill answered back with a three-ball of his own and Waylon Palzkill turned a Simmons steal into a transition layup to bring the Braves within a point at 59–58.
VenHuizen sank a pair of free throws with 19.4 seconds to play in regulation to make it 61–58, but the Warriors missed a chance to add to their lead from the foul line when they missed the front end of a bonus chance with 5.3 to go.
Simmons made them pay by swishing home the game-tying 3 from the top of the key at the horn to tie the score at 61–61.
Junior Casin Carey hit two free throws to give the Braves their first led of the night early in OT. The teams traded baskets until Ty Palzkill’s 3 put them ahead to stay with 43 seconds remaining.
Warren missed three 3-point shots down the stretch as the Braves held on to halt a three-game slide.
“It was a great team victory where we made some adjustments at halftime and our young men bought into it and executed,” added Austin. “As soon as we got to OT our demeanor shifted, we really became more confident and had a lot of momentum. Once again we continued to execute and play our style.”
Waylon Palzkill finished with 22 points. Simmons and Carey along with sophomores Gavin Austin and Carter Kettler netted four points apiece to aid the win for the Braves.
Reed McNutt scored a team-high 22 points for Warren. VenHuizen finished with 13, while Brayden Bohnsack chipped in with nine, Michael Neff netted eight and Landen Mahoney added seven for the Warriors.
Belmont opens the new year with a pair of tough upcoming games scheduled at home against Division 4 #10-ranked River Ridge (8–1, 3–0) in Six Rivers West action Friday and against Southwestern (4–3) in a non-conference affair on Monday.
Belmont 71, Warren 67 (OT)
(from Wednesday, Dec. 29 @ Belmont)
Warren 39 22 6 — 67
Belmont 25 36 10 — 71
Warren — Eaton 4, VenHulzen 13, Mahoney 7, Neff 8, Bohnsack 9, Pafford 2, McNutt 22. Totals — 25 9-17 67.
Belmont (4–6) — Ty Palzkill 32, Gavin Austin 4, Carter Kettler 4, Tyler Simmons 4, Waylon Palzkill 22, Logan Hardyman 1, Casin Carey 4. Totals — 27 13-28 71.
3-point goals — W: 8 (VenHulzen 3, Neff 1, Bohnsack 1, McNutt 2), B: 4 (T. Palzkill 3, Simmons 1). Team fouls — W: 24, B: 12. Fouled out — W: Bohnsack, McNutt.