Girard wins first boys basketball title in comeback win over Beloit

HUTCHINSON, Kan. - For much of the game, it looked like the odds were stacked against Girard.

The Trojans put together a big first quarter, only to see Beloit respond by turning a four point deficit into a nine point lead in less than a quarter.

But when it mattered most, it was Girard that was hitting buckets as Beloit went cold, giving Girard their first boys state championship in school history.

The first 16 minutes it was the Carson Cox show for Beloit. The junior couldn't miss--literally. Cox went 7/7 from the floor, six of those makes coming from beyond the arc, good for 20 of Beloit's 31 first half points.

After a back and forth third quarter, the fourth is where Girard pulled away. They slowly chipped away at the lead, tying the game up at 45 with 3:25 to go, then after two scoreless minutes, Caleb Muia came up with a steal and breakaway--but missed the lay-in.

Luckily for Muia, his teammate Carter Doherty was right there to pick him up, giving Girard their first lead of the second half.

"I missed the lay up and I was like 'Oh my Gosh!'" said Muia after the game, "then Carter came and got it, I was like 'Thanks you so much!' It's the best feeling."

That two point lead turned to four after a pair of Muia free throws, and that was enough. Girard knocked off Beloit 49-45, taking home the state title with the win.

"That's something that these kids will remember the rest of their lives, never going to forget," said Girard head coach Rod Wescott. "It's been a good ride, and we're going to enjoy it."

In the fourth, Beloit was outscored 13-4 leading to just their second loss of the year. The Trojans end their year just shy of winning their first ever state championship, closing the year as state runner-up for a sixth time in the loss.

"They need to hold their head high," said Trojan coach Ryan Eilert after the game, "Played a great game, we just we're able to score the ball late."