HAMMOND | In a historic gym, Bishop Noll coach Drew Trost opened the history books Monday night.
In between the third and fourth quarters of the finale of The Times' 12th annual Region Roundball Rumble against Bowman, Trost sat his five on the bench and reminded them about the 2009 sectional against Wheeler when Najee Bailey dominated the Warriors' front line on the boards.
It took some yelling but Trost got his point across -- despite being outrebounded 44-31 -- and Noll kept Bowman off the boards just enough in the fourth quarter to pull out a 59-58 win on a pair of Ronnye Beamon Jr. free throws with 11 seconds left at the Hammond Civic Center in front of an estimated crowd of 2,700.
"They were killing me," Trost said. "I was telling them all week it was going to come down to rebounds and poise."
It took a while before both finally kicked in.
Beamon scored nine of the Warriors' final 11 points, including the two free throws that sealed Noll's seventh win of the season.
Noll's celebration can't lost long. Two days after defeating the defending Class 1A champions, the Warriors take on the defending Class 2A winners when they travel to Wheeler on Wednesday.
Beamon capped a 14-2 run with two free throws with 3 minutes, 43 seconds left in the fourth quarter, then added another pair to cut into Bowman's lead, 55-52. After a 3 by Bowman's Elijah Ray, Beamon countered with a 3.
Adonis Filer, who scored 15 points, pulled Noll within one on a scoop in the lane before Beamon, the game's MVP, won the game.
"Dad, this is for you," Beamon said of his father, who has been in a Chicago intensive care unit since September and hasn't seen his son play yet this season. "All that time we spent outside. He always said: free throws count. Follow through. Elbow lock. It just so happened that's how we had to win it."
The hype of the game, which featured five Division I prospects, never materialized until the final minutes, when a minor scuffle in front of Bowman's bench brought the crowd to its feet, where they remained throughout the Eagles' last second heaves.
DeJuan Marrero, Bowman's highly recruited junior, struggled all night, frustrated by a series of shots within five feet that didn't like the bottom of the net and popped out. He finished with five points on 2-of-16 shooting, but grabbed 13 rebounds.
With Bowman playing better with Marrero on the bench, Ray, a fellow prospect, picked up the slack, scoring 20 points.
Noll's John Dodson had 13 and Larry Crisler, who attended Bowman for elementary school, had 10.
But neither team looked sharp, however, as errant passes and missed gimmes were more prevalent than Bowman's fundamental bounce passes.
"Bottom line, when you go out and have six turnovers in the fourth quarter, you've got to take the game," Bowman coach Marvin Rea said, "not give it away."