PLATTSBURGH — The Beekmantown crowd breathed a sigh of relief after Keegan Ryan pulled down a rebound and Justin Stevens connected on a free throw to end Peru’s comeback attempt.
The Eagles captured their first Section VII Class B title since 1996-97 as they held off the Indians, 59-54, Saturday at the Plattsburgh State Field House.
Beekmantown will take on Section II’s Schuylerville Wednesday at 7:45 p.m. at the Plattsburgh State Field House in the regional semifinals.
“I feel like this is a long time coming,” Eagles coach Ryan Converse said. “I feel really good for the kids.
“The kids have worked really hard and they are a great group. I really wanted this for those guys.”
Beekmantown had built a 49-36 lead after three quarter before Peru’s Hunter Bruno began to take over.
Bruno did all that he could, hitting one unbelievable shot after another to pull the Indians within one point.
“He hit some unbelievable shots,” Converse said. “They weren’t open looks; all of those shots were contested. He was in the zone and pulled them back into the game.”
After Greg Manney hit a pair of free throws to give the Eagles a three-point lead, Bruno tried to complete the comeback with a 3-pointer.
The shot hit the rim, but rattle in and out and Ryan pulled down the rebound. Free throws from Stevens and Manney would seal the deal in the final seconds.
“This feels good,” Ryan said. “We have been working towards this for a long time. Everyone contributed (Saturday) and it was a great team win.
“We had the lead when Hunter really stepped up for them, but we were able to hold on.”
Beekmantown was able to open up a 19-8 lead after the first quarter, thanks in large part to the outside shooting of Manney.
The junior guard drained three 3-pointers in the first quarter, while Ryan chipped in with eight points on the inside.
“We are at our best when we have balance,” Converse said. “Keegan’s consistent, but when guys step up it creates balance and we are so much harder to stop.
“It was big for us to get off to such a good start.”
The Indians would cut into the lead slightly in the second quarter, but the Eagles maintained the lead at the half, 31-21.
Beekmantown, though, would push its lead to 13 at the end of the third quarter as Ryan finished the quarter strong.
Through three he had accumulated 25 of his game-high 27 points.
The fourth quarter, however, would belong to Peru.
Conor Casey opened the quarter with back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Indians life. Bruno then did his best to put Peru on his shoulders, but the comeback bid would fall just short.
“(Bruno) hit about six jumpers that were huge,” Indians coach John Clemons said. “We had a set play the last couple of possessions and we gave him the green light because he was on fire. He had a step-back 3-pointer and it rattled in and out. Sometimes that will happen, I guess.
“We played with heart the entire game, especially down the stretch. Even after losing Timmy (Remillard) to fouls. They never gave up and I am very proud of our guys.”
Ryan added 18 rebounds to go with his 27 points. Manney finished with 14 points, while Stevens added nine points and five steals.
Casey led the way for the Indians with 14 points. Bruno tallied 13 points, while Remillard finished with nine. Bret Boyer hauled in seven rebounds.
“It feels great,” Ryan said. “Everything coming together and to be able to win a sectional championship my senior year — indescribable.”
“I think Section II is going to be a different world,” Converse said. “It’s going to be a challenge.
“These kids have surprised me all year, though. I have faith in them and believe they can do anything they put their minds to.”
Beekmantown 59, Peru 54
Begor 0-1-1, Manney 4-3-14, Ryan 11-5-27, Pelkey 3-1-7, Trombly 0-1-1, Koktowski 0-0-0, Stevens 3-3-9, Singh 0-0-0, Remchuk 0-0-0. Totals: 21-14-59
Bruno 6-1-13, Boyer 2-0-4, Remillard 3-3-9, Casey 6-0-14, LaRocque 3-0-6, Demarais 0-0-0, Hendricks 1-0-2, Spear 1-1-3, Lemza 1-0-3. Totals: 23-5-54.
Beekmantown 19 12 18 10 — 59
Peru 8 13 15 18 — 54
3-point goals: Beekmantown (3) Manney 3. Peru (3) Casey 2, Lemza.