Garrett's Tyler Gater

A shot by Garrett’s Tyler Gater is challenged by Heritage’s Dalton Wasson (15) during Wednesday’s game at the Paul Bateman Gym.

GARRETT — Compete, give effort, and the wins will come.

It’s all a coach of any struggling program can ask.

The Garrett Railroaders boys basketball team competed, fighting back from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit and had the ball at the end.

They did everything but win, falling to Heritage 42-41 Wednesday in Andrew Evertts’ debut as the new Garrett coach.

“You always want to win, but I am so proud of our guys. They played so hard,” he said afterwards.

“Heritage is good. We’re going to look back at the end of the year, and that’s a 15-plus win team that’s going to compete for a sectional title,” Evertts said. “We gave them everything and more and we had a shot to win it.

“We’re not going to look at that last play. We’re going to look at a lot of little things throughout the game where had we done this, we’re up at the end, not looking for that shot.

“We told our guys at halftime we need to have a shot in the fourth quarter and we did.”

The Railroaders (0-1) led 11-10 after the first, but went nearly five minutes without a point in the second quarter. That’s where Heritage (1-0) surged ahead.

Sophomore Jaxson Fugate’s bucket with 6 minutes, 55 seconds left in the half would be Garrett’s only points for the longest time.

Sophomore Kobe Meyer scored all nine of his points in the run, all on threes. Tanner Whitman added a bucket in the paint as the Patriots reeled off 11 straight points to take a 24-13 lead.

During that stretch, Garrett missed seven shots and turned the ball over twice.

Heritage’s active hands played a role in the Railroaders’ struggles. Later, a Garrett defensive adjustment caused problems for the Patriots.

Junior Kyle Smith finally ended the Railraoders’ dry spell with 2:03 left in the half. Junior Tyler Gater hit a three before the half ended to cut the gap to eight.

Garrett looked to be ready to make a run after sophomore Luke Coffman scored in the paint with 3:30 left in the third, cutting it to seven.

The hosts, however, would turn the ball over twice, get called for an offensive foul, and miss a shot on their next four possessions.

The Patriots’ Luke Saylor, who led all scorers with 12 points, hit a three with 1:22 left in the quarter to push the lead to 38-28.

The Railroaders made their push early in the fourth, running off 10 straight, with six by Fugate, a three by senior Christian Hess and a Coffman free throw to draw even at 38-all with four minutes left.

Jasen Bailey stole the ball that led to a score by Fugate. Fugate grabbed an offensive board that resulted in Hess’ three.

The Patriots’ Dalton Wasson answered with a three, but Bailey drove the lane and scored, completing the conventional three-point play to even the score once again with 2:37 to go. A Wasson free throw with 1:50 to play provided the final margin.

The Railroaders had a chance at the end, but Bailey’s shot was off the mark.

In its comeback stretch, Garrett switched from man-to-man to a 1-3-1 half-court defense, which forced Heritage to take some quick shots. The Patriots got some long rebounds but couldn’t put the ball in the hole.

Coffman led the Railroaders with 10 points. Fugate and Gater had eight each, and Smith added seven.

Garrett hosts Prairie Heights Saturday in a boys-girls doubleheader.

Garrett JV 44,

Heritage 42

Garrett’s Drayton Myers led all scorers with 19 points. The Patriots led 22-16 at halftime but were outscored by the Railroaders 16-4 in the third quarter.

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