PAINESVILLE — Chris Blauman scored 19 points and eclipsed the 1,000-point career barrier in Madison’s 56-53 overtime victory Friday night at Riverside, but it was his passing and defense that put the final nail in the Beavers’ coffin.
Trailing 53-52 after Riverside missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw with a little more than one minute remaining in overtime, Blauman dribbled the ball past half court and penetrated the middle of Riverside’s defense.
He stopped at the foul line, turned around and found a wide open Justus Albert on the left wing.
Albert nailed the 3-pointer to give Madison (8-2, 4-2 Western Reserve Conference) a 55-53 lead with 1:08 left in the extra period. Alex Dragas made it a three-point game via free throw with 2.0 seconds remaining on the clock and Blauman stole the ball on Riverside’s ensuing possession to seal the game.
“Our guys just grinded it out,” Blue Streaks coach Nick Gustin said. “They’re a verteran group that’s played a lot of minutes, and we’ve lost close games in the past, and being able to rely on those seniors to go out and make some plays … eventually things went our way and we were able to pull out a win in overtime.”
Averaging 23.1 points per game, Blauman entered the contest with 990 career points under his belt.
He scored the first basket of the game, but missed five of six attempts in the opening quarter.
He made two field goals in the second and nailed a pair of free throws before halftime for career points 997 and 998 to pull Madison within two points of Riverside.
After missing his first two shot attempts of the third quarter, Blauman received a pass from Shane Gibson in the post, spun toward the middle of the floor and tossed the ball up with his right hand to reach the milestone.
Play was stopped after the basket and Blauman’s teammates jumped off the bench to congratulate him. The senior also received a round of applause from both Madison and Riverside fans.
“It was amazing,” Blauman said of the moment. “It’s one adrenaline rush, you can’t even imagine how good it feels. It was crazy.”
Riverside was in position to spoil Blauman’s night for most of the game. The Beavers took control in the first quarter and built their lead to as many as nine, 45-36, early in the fourth.
Blauman and JD Galovic answered with six straight points, sparking a 12-2 run that gave Madison a 48-47 advantage, its first since leading 4-2 in the first quarter.
After an Albert free throw extended the Blue Streaks’ lead to two, Caden Geiger tied the score at 51 apiece and sent the ballgame into overtime.
Geiger started the extra period with a layup plus a foul, but the Blue Streaks did not allow another point and left Painesville with the victory.
“We felt good, we never felt like [the game] was out of reach and we knew if we kept playing our game, eventually we would get it back to where we wanted to,” Blauman said. “As soon as we got it to overtime, we knew it was our game.”
JD Galovic scored 13 points and Albert finished with nine for the Blue Streaks, who have now won four straight games and six of their last seven.
They will look to keep the ball rolling when they host St. Martin de Porres on Saturday.
A LONG TIME COMING
Blauman is the second Blue Streak to reach 1,000 career points in the past four years — Corbin Anthony hit the milestone in 2017.
Blauman, a freshman when Anthony scored 1,000, started his campaign the very next season.
“We were playing at Geneva and I remember my first game my sophomore year, I got a corner three and it’s been all up from there,” he said.
After celebrating the win and milestone in the locker room with his teammates, Blauman said the realization of being a 1,000-point scorer still hadn’t set in yet.
“It was a goal I always had as a kid growing up, especially when I got into high school,” he said. “But it doesn’t feel real until you’re actually there. It’s crazy.”
Gustin enjoyed the way Blauman capped off his historic night.
“The 1,000 points is great, but I love the steal he made at the end of the game to ice that game out,” Gustin said. “[Blauman has] been Mr. Consistent for us all year. And, the other thing about it, the 1,000 points is a nice accomplishment, but he couldn’t have accomplished that without his teammates and how they push each other in practice every day. So, it’s a great milestone for our program, for Chris and for our school.”