Winning by virtue of a record-setting 19-point comeback is probably not what Hesston men’s head coach Dustin Galyon had in mind when he made the game plan for Bethel, but that’s what he got in Hesston’s dramatic 79-75 win.
“The silver lining for this ball game in this; we were in a close ballgame and down the stretch instead of making turnovers, instead of being on our heels we were the aggressor and we made plays, said Galyon. And that didn’t happen against Southeast, it didn’t happen against Barton and this is second night we’ve been in a close one and we’ve made enough plays to pull it out.”
Galyon is of course referring to the close calls that haven’t gone Hesston’s way this season, but the second win of the year for the Larks left the crowd feeling a little more optimistic about this team going forward.
But in order to stage a huge comeback one needs to fall behind majorly and boy did that happen. A close beginning turned sour for Hesston as Bethel’s hot 3-point shooting (36 percent) led to a 19-9 run that turned 12-11 Hesston lead into a 30-21 Bethel lead over a span of six minutes. The play of freshman Jordan Hett (15 points) and senior Terrance Jones (19 points) helped Bethel sustain their advantage and head into the locker room up 44-33. Freshman forward Jordan Tanner had an excellent half individually scoring 12 points, but was haunted by foul trouble.
The start of the second half seemed to erase all hope for the Larks. Bethel started the half on an 8-0 run to take a 19 point lead. Hesston had some fight in them yet and responded with a quick 11-2 to cut the margin back to 10, but there it would stabilize for a while. The squads played a long stretch of even basketball convincing most in the Yost Center to believe Bethel would walk away victorious.
Then came freshman guard Darrion Martin who decided to do something about that. Trailing 66-58 the Houston native gave the crowd at Yost a show they won’t soon forget, weaving through defenders to basketball with consistency and relative ease. Martin scored the bulk of his game-high 26 points in the second half and led Hesston on a 14-4 run over six minutes to put the Larks in front for the first time in the entire game 74-73 with 2:30 left to play.
Galyon had high praise for his start freshman after the performance.
“I don’t think there’s anyone in Division 2 who’s better at driving to the bucket than Darrion Martin.”
Bethel had some fight left in them as well, but a critical steal and free throw by freshman Myles Cardenas put Hesston up 79-75 with 3.5 seconds to play, sealing the deal for Hesston’s comeback.
Hesston (2-6) plays next this Friday at Cowley College in Arkansas City, KS and plays next at home against Southeast CC on Nov. 26.