ATHENS, Ohio -- Harvest Prep (28-0) used great guard play down the stretch and several big plays late to fuel themselves past Garaway 59-53 in a Division III regional final on Saturday night. In a game that was tied eight different times, and had nine different lead changes, sophomore guard CJ Anthony and junior guard Brandon Beavers helped the Warriors to a gritty overtime win in the Athens regional final over Garaway (19-9). The two combined for 34 points and five steals.
Coming into the contest the Warriors had all the confidence in the world after they took down Garaway by 31 points earlier this season, but the Pirates would not back down. Slowing the game down and making Harvest Prep uncomfortable early, Garaway was able to take a 14-11 lead into the second quarter.
The Warriors intensified the pressure in the second quarter, and plays like a steal and bucket from junior Avonti Duncan, and take from Anthony at the buzzer gave the Warriors a 21-17 lead the half.
Although junior forward Erik Miller hit three straight threes to start the second half for Garaway, the Warriors would not fold under the pressure. Trailing 26-25 with 5:50 to play in the quarter, a three pointer from Beavers and blocked shot from senior CJ Penha leading to a basket from senior Isaiah Cumberland gave Harvest Prep a 32-26 lead with 3:53 to play in the third.
Garaway junior Corey Troyer was able to convert an and-one, and fellow junior Austin Fearon made a layup with 22 seconds remaining in the third to cut the margin to 36-33 heading into the final frame.
In a back and forth final quarter Beavers made several key shots, as he traded buckets with Garaway junior Ethan Roden two times. Trailing 48-46, it was gut check time for Harvest Prep. Anthony had a very tough take to the basket and finished it to send it to overtime after Garaway senior Trevor Donaldson missed a three pointer at the buzzer.
Anthony would then start the extra period with a step back three, only to be answered by another basket from Roden. After two free throws from Beavers, an and-one from Cumberland would seal the deal for the Warriors, as they will head back to their third final four in the last five years, and first since 2015.
For Garaway, they finish the season as 19-9 and the Athens Division III regional runner up. They were led tonight by Troyer off the bench with 15 points, while junior Ethan Roden tallied 12 points and nine rebounds, and Miller had 12 points on four three-pointers.
Harvest Prep was led by Anthony with 18 points and Beavers with 14, while Penha added in 11 and Cumberland finished with eight. They will take on fellow Central District foe Africentric; who won on a buzzer beater tonight, this Thursday at 8:30 pm at the Jerome Schottenstein Center in the OHSAA Final Four.