Freeport’s Beale scores 30 in OT victory at Deer Lakes

Friday, February 9, 2018 | 11:54 PM

Freeport didn't forget its Section 1-4A finale last season, when Deer Lakes came onto the Yellowjackets' home floor and denied them a share of a section title.

A year later, Freeport got a measure of revenge.

Ben Beale's eighth 3-pointer of the night halfway through overtime gave Freeport the lead for good as the Yellowjackets beat the Lancers, 70-68, on Friday, in a back-and-forth thriller in front of a raucous Deer Lakes senior night crowd.

“I think it was pretty important by the fact that there's always been a rivalry between us both,” said Beale, who scored a game-high 30 points. “I don't know if it was big in the playoff perspective, but it felt so good. It was a totally great win. I'm so happy with our team.”

Freeport (15-5, 9-3) won its seventh consecutive game, completed a season sweep of Deer Lakes and secured third place in the section behind Indiana and Valley. Deer Lakes (11-9, 7-5) finished in fourth place.

“We knew it was going to be a hard-fought game tonight,” Freeport coach Mike Beale said. “(Deer Lakes coach Terence Parham) does an unbelievable job with them. We thought our guards could beat them off the dribble, which we did, and they were able to kick it to our shooters on the perimeter. We got some key rebounds at the end of the game, and that's what sealed it up for us.”

In the teams' first meeting, Freeport rallied from a double-digit second-half deficit to win.

Friday's game was close throughout. Although Freeport led by 11 in the second quarter, Deer Lakes cut the deficit to two by halftime and took a four-point lead into the fourth quarter, when the lead changed hands nine times.

“It is a nice backyard brawl,” Parham said. “I didn't know much about it before coming (three years ago), but when you can play in an atmosphere like this as a high school kid, it doesn't get much better — unless you win the game.

“It's just tough to battle like that two games in a row and come out on the short end of the stick.”

Whether it was the significance of the game, the rivalry or the constant heckling he received from a sizeable Deer Lakes student section, Beale played an inspired game from tip-off. The senior scored 11 of Freeport's 14 points in the first quarter and 18 in the first half. He hit a single 3 in each of the third and fourth quarters before draining a pair in overtime, the final one coming with 2 minutes, 6 seconds remaining.

“I block it out as best as I can,” Beale said. “But I actually like all the attention on me because they want me to do bad, so I'm going to prove them wrong.”

A Jared Colton 3-point attempt on the next Deer Lakes possession went in and out, and both teams hit 2 of 4 free throws down the stretch. Colton's desperation 3 at the buzzer fell short.

Isiah Bauman added 12 points for the Yellowjackets and Jalen Brown and Damon Shiring had 11 apiece, with Bauman and Brown's penetration giving Beale open looks. Jake Kelly led Deer Lakes with 15 points, Jack Hollibaugh added 14 and Brad Perrotte scored 10.

Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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