Beecher beats Momence, breaking a 51-year-old school record for wins
Beecher coach Tyler Shireman has been telling his players the last few years that if they kept winning, fans would eventually come out to watch them play.
Beecher coach Tyler Shireman has been telling his players the last few years that if they kept winning, fans eventually would come out to watch them play.
Beecher is not a basketball town. The school has won only one regional in its history and has averaged fewer than 10 wins a season over 72 years.
A talented group of kids and a committed coach are starting to change that. Shireman’s promise to the team has come true. On Tuesday, the community was out in force to see if the Bobcats could set a school record for victories.
“The beautiful thing about small-town basketball is watching a couple of promising classes stacked up through elementary and junior high, and knowing it’s something to get excited about,” Shireman said.
The Bobcats delivered with a 50-43 win against Momence, their 23rd of the season. Beecher picked up its 24th victory against Milford on Wednesday. The 1968-69 and 1969-70 Beecher teams won 22 games.
“It’s been great watching this grow,” senior guard Duane Doss said. “It’s been a process from my freshman year to now. We got better as a group, and we stayed together and kept winning. We wanted this last year, but we only played 10 games. So we got it this year.”
Doss is the team’s leader. He has scored more than 1,500 points in his career despite the short season last year.
“He does everything for us,” Shireman said. “He’s leading us in points and rebounds. When we need a basket, he goes and gets it. We want him with the ball in his hand. I’m real proud of him, and I feel lucky that I was able to coach him for four years.”
Sophomore Adyn McGinley and senior Mitch Landis are the other standouts for the Bobcats.
McGinley is a lefty shooter with a smooth stroke. He missed eight weeks with an injury and only recently returned.
“We had some guys step up when [McGinley] was injured, and that made us stronger as a team,” Landis said. “But now that he’s back, everything is coming together.”
Beecher is 24-7 overall and finished 11-1 in the River Valley Conference, sharing the title with Momence.
The Bobcats are the sixth seed in the Class 2A Clifton Central Sectional. To win the regional, Beecher would have to beat Manteno, McNamara on the road and possibly Momence again in the regional final.
“We are peaking at the right time,” Shireman said. “We got a share of the conference championship, and we have our eyes on some more hardware. If you look at the wall, you see there’s only one regional win in history. That’s always been the goal.”
Watch the final minute of Momence at Beecher: