Buckeye's Anthony Watkins reacts during a timeout against Keystone. AARON JOSEFCZYK / GAZETTE
YORK TWP. — Brock Brumfield had laser-like focus as he walked across the court. Once he reached his destination, he embraced Buckeye boys basketball coach Tom Harrington with a bear hug.
Both of them richly earned — and enjoyed — the public display of respect.
The senior point guard scored seven of his game-high 22 points in the pivotal third quarter Friday, leading the Bucks to a 46-37 victory over Keystone that moved them within one win of clinching the Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division championship.
Brumfield made 9-of-14 field goal attempts, including 3-of-4 3-pointers, and 1-of-2 free throws in front of an overflow crowd as Buckeye (14-2, 11-1) split its season series with the Wildcats (9-9, 8-4).
“I love seeing a player reach his potential like Brock has,” Harrington said. “This team means a lot to him, this program means a lot to him and this community means a lot to him. It’s gratifying to know that all of his hard work has paid off. And I say this with the utmost praise, but I still believe Brock has even better basketball in him.”
There were three ties and 10 lead changes in the first half, the last lead change occurring in the final minute when Brumfield buried a 3-pointer to put Buckeye ahead 24-23. It began an 18-2 run that saw him score 10 points and coincided with Keystone going 1-for-16 from the field.
Shooting guard Anthony Watkins collected eight points, seven rebounds and four assists for the Bucks, while small forward Cam Imes had seven points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Fellow senior Michael Knoll chipped in eight points and nine boards.
“Keystone has a great team with great guards and posts, but we really wanted this one,” said Brumfield, who also had three of his five rebounds and an assist in the third.
“To come out and get them at home with this kind of crowd — they were so loud — and the pep band after they had beaten us three straight times, it means a lot. Knowing that it was a team effort really makes it a special night.”
Shooting guard Ashton Waite scored 14 points and power forward Kevin Mealwitz added six points, six rebounds and two assists for the Wildcats, who forced 20 turnovers and held Buckeye to a 3-of-19 evening beyond the arc.
After the Bucks built their largest lead at 39-25, Keystone scored nine straight points to begin the fourth quarter, pulling within five on a 3-pointer by Kollin Rodick with 4:17 remaining.
The Wildcats had two chances to make it a one possession game but missed a pair of shots over the next 90 seconds. Imes blunted their momentum by pulling down a defensive rebound and scoring on a coast-to-coast layup to make it 41-34, then made a pair of free throws with 1:45 left to ice the victory.
Buckeye’s lone loss in the lame duck league was 47-31 at Keystone on Dec. 21. The contest marked the final scheduled meeting between the two programs that have defined excellence in the PAC Stars Division.
“I want to give Buckeye a lot of credit. I think they are the best team in the conference,” Keystone coach Jeff Holzhauer said. “I’d also like to say we’re the best defensive team in the league, but that’s Buckeye this year, as well.
“Over the years, they have made us better and we made them better, and I’m going to miss that.”
Bucks assistant Keith Sooy was honored in a pregame ceremony for his 50th season coaching the sport. More than 30 former Buckeye players and ex-coaches Steve King and John Marhefka were among those celebrating with Sooy.
Freshman Danny Flood scored a game-high 19 points for the junior varsity Bucks in a 43-35 victory.
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Buckeye 46, Keystone 37
KEYSTONE 10 13 2 12 — 37
BUCKEYE 10 14 15 7 — 46
Keystone — Matt Mealwitz 1-0-3, Kevin Mealwitz 3-0-6, Mason Strader 2-0-4, Ashton Waite 4-3-14, Ethan Sokolowski 2-1-5, Kollin Rodick 1-0-3, Bryan Sayers 1-0-2, Sean Saterlee 0-0-0, Jacob Shackelford 0-0-0. TOTALS: 14-4-37.
Buckeye — Cam Imes 2-3-7, Michael Knoll 4-0-8, Dom Monaco 0-1-1, Anthony Watkins 3-2-8, Brock Brumfield 9-1-22, Clay Gunkelman 0-0-0, Aaron Drew 0-0-0. TOTALS: 18-7-46.
3-point goals — Waite 3, M.Mealwitz, Rodick, Brumfield 3. Rebounds — Keystone 26 (K.Mealwitz, Strader 6), Buckeye 38 (Imes 11). Assists — Keystone 9 (Sokolowski 4), Buckeye 8 (Watkins 4). Records — Keystone (9-9, 8-4), Buckeye (14-2, 11-1). Junior varsity — Buckeye 43, Keystone 35.