Beach Bums basketball champions

Beach bums
Beach Bums are crowned youth basketball champions; from left are Brock Soletti, Evan Christenson, Coach Ray Gardner, Matthew Spiedel, Jeremiah Sculco and Connor Ludwig. – Monica Simpson | Sun

Last Tuesday night proved to be the close championship basketball game predicted by fans, parent, players and coaches at The Center.

The number one and number two teams went head-to-head in a 36-minute battle on the hard court. In the end, Team Beach Bums’ three-point lead gave it the championship.

Bryce Higgins started off the game with the first two points for Slim’s Place, that finished in first place during the regular season because of a forfeit by Beach Bums.

Beach Bums’ Connor Ludwig hit a three-point shot three minutes into the game, only to be met with a goal by Tyler Brewer, Slim’s Place’s top scorer. Higgins hit two more shots in the half, giving his team the lead and momentum.

During the first half of play, Beach Bums’ hot hand, Brock Soletti, had shooting problems. Uncharacteristically, Soletti found himself at the free throw line missing both shots.

David Daigle hit two shots back-to-back, advancing Slim’s Place’s lead to 12-3. Buckets by Travis Bates and his team gave his team a nine-point lead with five minutes left in the first half of the championship game.

The hard long shot by Evan Christenson was rebounded by Tuna McCracken giving his first score of the game. Soletti matched the hoop with one of his own moving the score to 22-13.

Christen was fouled going up for the score giving him two shots at the line. Hitting both of them gave Beach Bums a little pep in its step during the last minutes of the game. Scoring by Ludwig, McCracken and Jeremiah Sculco narrowed Slim’s Place’s lead to five points at the end of the half.

Still looking to find his groove, Brock Soletti’s brother Shane entered the game. The brotherly competition flipped the switch for B. Soletti.

To start the second half, both teams came out aggressive and quick. When the game finally slowed down, Brewer made a smooth lay-up.

Matthew Spiedel made the first of two three-pointers with 13 minutes left in the competition, making it a two-point game.

With the score 30-28, Slim’s Place called a timeout to regroup and work widen the lead.

From downtown, both Daigle and B. Soletti net the long shot. Beach Bums called a timeout with 11 minutes on the clock.

Returning to the court, B. Soletti was fouled during a shot attempt. Making one of two free throws, Beach Bums made it a open point game.

Dribbling the basketball all the way down the court, weaving in and out of traffic, McCracken drove down the lane for a lay-up. Spiedel’s second three-point shot tied the game for the first time in the game.

Scoring went back and forth, and the spark of B. Soletti was finally lit with a layup and three-pointer, giving Beach Bums its first lead of the game with only two minutes left in regulations time.

Ludwig hit both of his free throws only to be followed by behind the arc shot by Daigle.

Hoping to retain the lead, Beach Bums called a timeout with five seconds left on the clock. B. Soletti got the throw in alone under the hoop for a quick bucket to end the championship game with the score 43-46.