PIQUA – Mississinawa Valley came to the end of its tournament run Tuesday night when the Blackhawks were defeated by Fort Loramie 58-46 in round two of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division IV boys basketball tournament.
The Redskins used a stout defensive effort and the inside scoring of 6-foot 7-inch sophomore Tyler Siegel to take control of the game.
The intensity level of the game was high right from the start. You could feel the emotions in the air. It looked as if a very high percentage of the Union City community was at the gymnasium.
The opening minutes were unsettling for the Blackhawks. Fort Loramie employed a two-two-one full court press that gave Mississinawa problems. Several turnovers aborted scoring possessions, but with 2:18 to go Trent Perkins completed a 3-point play to give the Blackhawks a 10-4 lead.
The Redskins then started sending the ball down to Siegel in the post from where he would score three consecutive field goals to close out the period and tie the score at 10.
“Patience went flat on us in the first quarter,” MV coach Tim Barga said. “Really, we should have been up in the first quarter. That’s what hurt us. Turnovers really hurt us again. Ten points with 10 turnovers. That’s not good.”
As far as for Siegel, Barga added, “He was just getting 2 footers all night.”
The Blackhawks managed to build their biggest lead of the night after a Perkins basket with nearly five minutes until the half at 17-12. The Redskins were not deterred by this as they would score the next eight points. A triple by sophomore Evan Berning tied the game at 17 and another by junior Cody Gasson would give Fort Loramie the lead at 20-17, which it would never relinquish.
The Redskins pushed out the lead to 28-22 at the intermission.
“Turnovers went wrong,” Coach Barga said. “Didn’t hit some shots we usually hit but give credit to Fort Loramie defense.”
The third quarter action went back and forth. The Redskins led by as many as nine and MV cut the deficit to four just before the period’s end, but a basket and free throw by Drew Wehrman for Fort Loramie stretched the lead out to 39-32 heading into the final eight minutes.
Mississinawa got as close as six points twice in the fourth quarter, 40-34 and 49-43, but could not gain any more ground with the last occasion coming with less than three minutes to go. As time ebbed away the Blackhawks were forced to take 3-point shots and foul the Redskins. MV would shoot 1 of 9 from behind the arc in the period and 2 of 17 for the game, and Fort Loramie was 11 of 15 at the line in the fourth quarter.
This was the final game for seniors Colyn Nelson, Dalton Geesy and Devan Rinderle.
“Colyn Nelson has come a long way … just an excellent kid, smart in school,” Barga said. “Geesy, inside, two years ago he couldn’t even shoot the ball … last year he scored 10 points in the last 12-15 games. This year he scored six-seven points a game. He is so much better. Devan, last year had an ugly shot. He went out this summer and worked at it. Went to a camp and worked … It really, really showed up this year. He set out to prove something, and he did. District media and all-star team and first team all-league. He could start for any team around here. He’s a good team leader.
“When I first walked in they told me I could only win four or six games,” Barga said of the team’s turn-around the past two years. “First open gym I could see the kids had talent, lots of talent. It’s not all coaching. If the kid’s don’t have talent … coaches aren’t any good if you don’t have talent.
“We’ve had great crowds this year, both home and away,” Barga said of the Blackhawk fans. “Fans have been just great. They don’t make smart remarks … Good solid fans. We pretty well pack Mississinawa gym … I really appreciate what the fans have done for these boys.”
The Blackhawks closed the season with a record of 16-8.
Mississinawa Valley – 46
Bowman 12, Perkins 10, Nelson 14, Rinderle 7, Johns 3.
Fort Loramie – 58
Wehrman 11, Berning 7, Braun 9, Siegel 21, Sasson 10.
3-pointers: MV: 2(Perkins, Rinderle); FL: 3(Wehrman, Gasson 2).
Free throws: MV: 12-19; FL: 19-26.