|Bath makes it clean sweep of ‘Dawgs|
|Monday, March 11, 2013 2:42 PM|
By JIM METCALFE
ADA — Elida had gone ahead of Bath 42-36 with a little over six minutes remaining in the Bulldogs’ Division II District final Saturday night on the Joe and Margaret Campoli Court and was looking to get even after a pair of regular-season losses to the Wildcats.
Bath would have none of it, answering the challenge with a 20-8 closing spurt, finished off at the free-throw line, to capture their first-ever Regional boys basketball berth with a 56-50 triumph before a capacity crowd of 2,400-plus inside the Ohio Northern University Sports Center.
Bath (22-4) will battle Cleveland Benedictine 8 p.m. Thursday at Bowling Green State University.
“I don’t usually celebrate a lot anyway but when we got that last rebound with a few seconds left and the clock wound down, it hit me; I can’t describe the feeling I had at that time,” Bath coach Doug Davis began. “This is not only big for our team and the program but it’s big for the entire Bath community. There are people still out there on the floor taking pictures and just enjoying the moment. This is such a proud moment for the entire community.”
Elida bows out at 17-8.
With the teams tied at 36 to start the ultimate quarter, sophomore Austin Allemeier got Elida going with an early basket, followed by a deuce by junior Dakota Mathias — the only Bulldog in double digits with a game-high 27, including five bombs, to go with a game-high 13 caroms — and then another basket by Marquevious Wilson (4 points, 8 boards) that gave the Bulldogs that 6-point lead. Junior Taren Sullivan (11 markers, 9 caroms, 4 steals, 3 assists) hit two singles at 5:50 to begin the journey back for Bath. He followed with a second-chance basket and senior Cole Chambers (13 markers) tied it up with a putback at 4:14.
Senior Connor Rockhold (9 markers, 4 boards) gave the Wildcats the lead for good — 44-42 — with a tear-drop runner at 3:53 and senior Logan Rockhold (10 points) finished off a killer 11-0 spurt with a transition 3-point play at 3:35 for a 47-42 edge. Mathias broke the string with a 3-ball from the key at 3:01 but the Wildcats then spread out the offense and either kept attacking for good/uncontested shots or forced Elida to foul. They first got a baseline drive by Chambers at 2:03 and then after a missed shot by the Bulldogs, the rest of Bath’s points came from charity. Led by 4-of-4 free-throw shooting by Logan Rockhold, Bath netted 7-of-8 at the line in the final 1:28 (10-of-12 in the fourth, 15-of-20 for the game for 75%) to keep Elida at bay. Mathias hit a pair of treys in the same late span but it was not enough as Bath finished the 3-game sweep of their WBL archrivals in 2012-13.
“We got up by six in the fourth and then we committed a couple of turnovers that led to easy buckets for them. That was one of the keys for us; handle their pressure and not give them a lot of easy baskets,” Elida mentor Denny Thompson began. “For the most part, I felt we didn’t give them a lot of those looks. Then you throw in their free-throw shooting down the stretch and that’s what wins close games this time of year.” The 6-3 Chambers had the primary duty of defending the 6-4 Mathias, with Davis electing to not double the Bulldog star as often as possible and going 1-on-1 much of the time.
“They were pretty physical with me and seemed like they had someone different each time down the court but I’m getting used to that. I was surprised they didn’t double as much as before, pretty much playing me 1-on-1; I had to make shots and just didn’t make enough of them,” Mathias noted.
“We employed different strategies all three times we played them. The first game (Elida Tip-Off Classic in early December), we played straight up and he scored 40,” Davis continued. “The second time (Feb. 8), we doubled him a lot more but we found out he’s a pretty good passer. Tonight, we assigned Cole to him most of the time and he did a nice overall job.” Both teams had an opposite game plan coming into the matchup; Elida wanted to take care of the basketball and run more of a half-court tempo offense, while Bath looked to push the pace and make it a 90-foot game.
“I felt we did a good job of controlling them defensively. Outside of the last few minutes when we had to foul, we defended them pretty well,” Coach Thompson added. “In particular, we got to Taren early. The problem is, they have a lot of weapons. We were up one at halftime and I didn’t feel we played all that well. Every turnover at this stage is big as well.” Bath had the better of the proceedings in the first period, shooting 6-of-11 in the stanza (19-of-45 for the game, 3-of-13 from 3-land, for 42.4%). Elida struggled finding the range, hitting only 4-of-14 (21-of-49 for the night, 6-of-20 from deep, for 42.9%). When Colin Gossard, the fourth Wildcat in twin digits (11) in a very balanced offense, hit a basket inside at 1:04, Bath had its biggest edge of 15-8.
Elida righted the ship in the second stanza, with Mathias getting untracked with eight markers (2 treys) in the span. As well, the Elida defense began to limit Bath’s offense, holding the Wildcats to six markers in the period. When senior Aric Thompson laid one in in transition with 1:03 showing, Elida led 22-21.
Bath started the third period well, working to a 29-24 edge on two tosses by Logan Rockhold at the 5-minute mark. Back came Elida as Mathias hit a deuce and a trey to tie it at 29, with Thompson adding a pair of throws and junior Louis Gray (7 points) a basket for a 33-29 edge. A quick five points — a trey by Gossard and a layin off a steal by Sullivan — put Bath back in front at 34-33 at 1:27. Gray buried a triple from the left corner at the 40-second mark to give Elida the lead again but Doug Sanders hit a pump-fake basket inside at 10 ticks for a 36-all tie. “We had a lot of question marks about this team at the beginning of the year and went through some adversity,” Coach Thompson added. “The progress we made, to come back and tie for the WBL title and make it to District is a testament to the kids and how hard they worked.”
David Diller 0-0-0-0, Max Stambaugh 2-0-0-4, Austin Allemeier 2-0-0-4, Louis Gray 2-1-0-7, Aric Thompson 1-0-2-4, Dakota Mathias 6-5-0-27, Trent Long 0-0-0-0, Marquevious Wilson 2-0-0-4. Totals 15-6-2/3-50.
Colin Gossard 3-1-2-11, Taren Sullivan 3-1-2-11, Connor Rockhold 3-0-3-9, Cole Chambers 5-1-0-13, Logan Rockhold 1-0-8-10, Hayden Atkins 0-0-0-0, Doug Sanders 1-0-0-2. Totals 16-3-15/20-56.
Score by Quarters:
Elida 8 14 14 14 - 50
Bath 15 6 15 20 - 56
Three-point goals: Elida 6-20 (Mathias 5-13, Gray 1-2, Wilson 0-1, Allemeier 0-2, Thompson 0-2), Bath 3-13 (Gossard 1-1, Chambers 1-3, Sullivan 1-6, L. Rockhold 0-1, C. Rockhold 0-1, Sanders 0-1).