By Kristie Staphryder and Brock Stafford | Beacon Arts and Sports Editors
Picture this: It’s late in the second half with the home team trailing a conference rival by two points.
The home team has possession with 10 seconds remaining and begins working the ball toward the bucket when suddenly a young man dressed as a snowplow driver leaps from a nearby conifer, sets a pick and allows the star player to dribble past the three-point line, shoot and score. The home team wins and the curtain falls.
Believe it or not (apologies to Mr. Ripley, may he rest in peace), that’s what happened Saturday night at the Bass Lake University concourse, as the BLU Beaver defeated the Stripmall State Retailers, 79-78, and as the Bass Lake High School thespians completed a successful two-night run of the original play “A Mid-Winter’s Day Dream.”
A scheduling conflict forced both events to occur concurrently.
“I couldn’t have scripted it any better,” said playwright and director Jan Flug. “It was a magical night.”
Flug’s play centered on a pair of lovebirds hoping to elope only to have their plans thwarted by a surprise mid-winter snowstorm. Then a snowplow driver appears out of nowhere to whisk the young lovers off to wedded bliss.
Meanwhile, BLU head coach Park Zagel’s game plan relied on getting the ball into the hands of senior power-forward Tyler Polk as often as possible. It worked.
Polk scored a career-high 43 points on 15 of 19 shooting, including 10 from behind the arc and three from the charity stripe.
But it was that last long-ball that shoved the Beaver to victory.
With time running out for BLU, as well as the beautiful Hermanita Shrug (Kaylee Kramer) and her strapping beau, Beau Fortress (Zach Jimmerschmidt), misunderstood plowman Zuck (Zach Brownstein) climbs bleary-eyed into his truck only to crash it into a towering eastern white pine.
Beavers guard Jackson Van Buren dribbled past the timeline looking for a passing lane. But none was found.
Zuck, distraught over his poor driving, climbs the pine, shovel in hand, hoping to leap over the drift caging Hermanita and Beau and dig them to freedom.
Junior center Zachary Monroe tripped on his untied shoelace and failed to set a pick for DeLadder, as the play called for.
As Zuck made his desperate plunge from the pine, his shovel caught on a branch and swiveled him from the stage to the court where he filled in for Monroe, freeing Polk to catch Van Buren’s pass and sink the game-winning 3-pointer. Both audiences erupted in applause.
“The Retailers expected Polk to get the ball,” Zagel said. “But they never expected that kid with the shovel to show up. It was brilliant.”
Flug was equally impressed.
“Talk about late-game drama!” she said.
The ungainly pairing of college hoops and high school theater proved a boon for both institutions as attendance for both events soared. Administrators are said to be contemplating a similar mingling for spring.