Buckeye Valley’s Owen Osborne scored inside to even things at 43 with 48.3 seconds left, but seventh-seeded Heath scored the final four points of the game to escape with a Division II district semifinal win Tuesday night at Highland.
The Bulldogs’ Keylan Williams answered Osborne’s hoop with one of his own with 20.8 seconds left. He was fouled, and missed the ensuing free throw, but it didn’t turn out to matter.
Troy Scowden, fouled hauling in Williams’ miss, earned a trip to the free throw line, but missed the front end of the one-and-one opportunity. Osborne and Heath’s Payton Lees simultaneously snagged the rebound, but the Bulldogs gained possession by virtue of the possession arrow.
Williams then fired a full-court inbounds pass to Reece Huber, who finished at the other end to all but seal the deal.
The Barons had a couple looks from three-point land in the final, chaotic seconds, but couldn’t convert as Heath held on for the win to earn a date with top-seeded Beechcroft in Thursday’s district final.
Osborne and Scowden carried the Barons. Osborne, who finished with a game-high 19 points to go with three rebounds and three assists, hit three triples in the first quarter as BV led 17-11 after one. He drilled another three-pointer in the second to make it a 21-20 game with 2:05 left in the half.
Scowden, meanwhile, had a double-double — 10 points and 10 rebounds.
“You can’t have the season we did without (Troy and Owen) … those guys are unbelievable,” BV coach Andy Gast said. “Owen is a warrior and Troy’s the same way. They compete and play hard. I can’t speak highly enough about those two guys.”
Heath’s 3-2 zone gave the second-seeded Barons problems in the second quarter as the Bulldogs got some stops and used an 8-0 run to get back into things.
The zone’s success didn’t continue in the third quarter, though, as Brendan Stalf hit a corner three before Mason Kurtz hit two straight triples to push BV’s lead to 32-25 with 4:33 left in the third. The Bulldogs closed the quarter on an 8-0 run thanks in part to hoops by Brandon McLaughlin and Huber.
The Barons hit eight threes in the setback, which was more than their seven two-point field goals. The issue, though, was at the foul line, where they hit just five of their 11 attempts.
“We knew we were probably gonna have to hit some three-pointers, but the disappointing stat is the foul shooting,” Gast said. “We didn’t shoot it well and these tournament games come down to a play here and a play there.”
Williams gave Heath an early edge in the fourth, but Scowden scored on a strong drive to even things back up.
Osborne hit a couple free throws to give BV a 39-37 lead with 3:28 left, but Williams converted a three-point play to give his team a late lead in parlayed into the win.
“Our kids really competed,” Gast said. “Our defense was phenomenal. Our goal is always to hold our opponent under 50 points and we held them to 47 … just didn’t make enough plays. Give Heath credit … they have some talented players, but our kids battled like I knew they would.”
Williams had 14 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four blocks to lead the Bulldogs while Huber had 10 points and four rebounds.