Lafayette Jeff beats Central Catholic to win back-to-back Franciscan Health Hoops Classic titles
LAFAYETTE — Sophomore guard Brooks Barnhizer was named Most Valuable Player of the Franciscan Health Hoops Classic after leading Lafayette Jeff to a 76-73 win over Central Catholic with 19 points, four steals and three rebounds in Saturday’s title game.
The game was decided when junior guard Avery Beaver ran down a loose rebound on the right wing. He collected it and made a cross-court bounce pass to his younger brother Ashton Beaver, who knocked down the left wing 3-pointer to put the Bronchos up 70-67 with 1:08 left.
“That was huge,” Avery Beaver said. “The momentum was kind of going down, because we kept on trading shots. Getting an offensive rebound and seeing my little brother open (on the right wing), that’s what we always played outside for. It was a good moment.”
Jeff (4-0) led the rest of the way.
Avery Beaver finished with 19 points, two assists and three steals. Ashton Beaver had 21 points with four triples, three steals and three rebounds.
On the crucial bucket, the camaraderie from the brothers kicked in.
“We made eye contact, I was thinking of taking it into the lane,” Avery said. “‘I said, ‘Nah, he is going to make this 3. I kicked it out to him and he made it.”
Central (3-1) pounced from the outset, taking a 7-0 lead, it led nearly the entire first half.
The Bronchos made their first field goal with 4:10 left in the first frame, a lay-in from Ashton. They took their first lead on an and-1 from Ashton with 1:04 left in the quarter at 15-12.
The Knights stretched the lead to seven again after three free throws from sophomore guard Brenner Oliver, 32-25 with 1:58 left in the half.
A right corner 3 from Matt Timmons made it 35-25 on the next possession.
The third quarter belonged to the Bronchos. They started a crucial spurt when junior forward Matt Jones made a basket in the paint to start a 15-0 run that began with 4:39 left in the third, and concluded with 1:01 left in the quarter on 30-foot jumper from junior guard Braxton Barnhizer.
Jeff didn’t squander the lead the rest of the way, despite hot-shooting from the Knights to close the game.
Jones finished with five points, five boards including three on the offensive glass after missing the semifinal.
“I didn’t play yesterday; I had an altercation with the coach,” Jones said. “I really wanted to bounce back and prove to my team that I can handle the pressure. I was just out there trying to get a ‘W.’ We finally felt like a team, like a family. Out there just running and getting buckets — what else can you ask for?”