Early, it was Thorin Stage.
Late, it was senior Bryan Mathews for Hagerstown’s boys basketball Tigers.
Mathews canned back-to-back treys in the game’s final minutes Saturday night to break a tie at 51 and give visiting Hagerstown a hard-fought, 61-52 win over a valiant Seton Catholic team on Schuckman Court at Earlham College.
Seton had led most of the game, but the Tigers battled to gain a victory that moved them to 5-2 on the season. The host Cardinals fell to 4-6 with the hard-luck defeat.
“Hat’s off to Seton, they played a great game,” said Tiger coach Bobby Jones. “But basketball is a game of runs, and we had a couple of runs, and they came at the right time.”
The first came to start the second half, when the Tigers scored eight of the first 10 points to turn a 30-25 deficit into a 33-32 lead and force a Seton timeout.
But the Cardinals responded to the challenge, moved back ahead by four at the quarter break at 47-43, and even led into the fourth quarter.
But Mathews scored 14 of Hagerstown’s 22 points in the final quarter. He finished with 24 points in the game.
Stage had a game-high 27 for the Tigers, as the junior Stage and the senior Mathews combined for 51 of 61 Hagerstown points.
“If Mathews doesn’t hit those 3s, it’s a different ballgame, but he hit them for us,” Jones said.
Seton coach Josh Jurgens was thrilled with his team’s play. Only six players saw action, and most played the entire 32 minutes without a break. The fatigue seemed to show late.
“It’s hard to play just five guys in a high school game, but I couldn’t be happier with our guys, other than getting the win,” Jurgens said.
Desmond Bane finished with 16 points, with Rhett Butler and Billie Webster adding 11 points each. Seton is still playing without seniors Brady Gray and Adam Dolesh, but they will be back soon.
In the first half, Seton led almost all the way, leading 11-6 by the midway point in the first quarter, leading 15-10 at quarter’s end, then 30-25 at intermission.
It was balanced scoring for the Cardinals in the half, as all five starters had between four and 11 points. Bane led with 11, including a late trey to stretch the lead back to five points.
Mathews and Stage combined for 21 of the 25 first-half Tiger points.
Hagerstown returns to action Thursday night in the first round of the Wayne County Tournament, meeting Lincoln. Seton Catholic in now off until Jan. 17-18, when the Cardinals play in the Miami Valley Classic at Dayton, Ohio.