CLINTONVILLE - They knew it was coming.
With a 51-39 lead at the end of the third quarter, the Beekmantown varsity boys basketball team had seen that their opponents, AuSable Valley, had plenty of experience when it came to coming back late.
Sure enough, the Patriots outscored the Eagles 19-10 in the final eight minutes, but a game-tying, buzzer-beating three-pointer from the hand of Ryan Lee went halfway through the rim, bounced around a couple of times and then popped out of the basket and to the ground, letting the Eagles escape with a 61-58 victory Feb. 3.
"We were expecting the run," Eagles head coach Ryan Converse said after the game. "Basketball is a game of runs. AuSable is a very good team. Tonight, we were tough enough to stave off the run and win."
The Patriots, who had scored heart-stopping wins against Saranac and Saranac Lake in the week previous, again turned a 13-point fourth quarter deficit into a two-point game with just 1:35 remaining in the fourth quarter. However, the team missed four shots in the final minute, including the shot by Lee to tie the game after Keegan Ryan had hit the front end of a one-and-one to give the Eagles a three-point lead.
"We got the looks, they didn't fall," Patriots head coach Jamie Douglass said after the game. "There is no give up in these guys and to get a performance like we did out of Ryan Lee off the bench on senior night was special. It was a team effort to get back into this game."
The Eagles used a 18-2 run in the first and second quarters and an 11-2 run to end the first have with a 39-23 lead.
"We execute our offense in runs," Converse said. "When we execute properly, anyone can get going."
Against the Patriots, it was senior Tom Ryan, who scored 11 of the team's 13 points in their opening run and seven of the Eagles nine fourth quarter points en route to surpassing the 1,000-career point plateau.
"We were looking for a chance to get going, and that run kept the energy up," said Ryan. "We knew we had a chance if we could handle the press, and our guards did a great job tonight doing that."
Ryan ended with 29 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocked shots, while brother Keegan Ryan scored nine points to go with eight rebounds, including the final point of the game after having previously missed on the front end of a one-and-one attempt.
For the Patriots, TJ Burl scored 24 of his 28 points in the second half, as he and Brody Douglas scored all but two of the team's 19 fourth quarter points. Burls added 10 rebounds, three assists, three steals and four blocked shots to the Patriots effort, while Douglas scored 16 points to fo with four steals.
Jordan Coolidge scored eight points to go with five assists and four steals, with Connor Manning adding four points and 10 rebounds and Lee scoring two points to go with seven offensive rebounds and two steals.