|Poor shooting dooms Bearcats in boys District semis|
|Tuesday, March 04, 2014 9:31 PM|
WAPAKONETA — A basketball coach can run motion, flex, fast break, slow-down or anything offensively.
No matter what, though, it still comes down to making shots.
The youthful Spencerville boys team didn’t in Tuesday’s Division IV District semifinal at Wapakoneta, shooting a chilly 10-of-42 from the floor (23.8%), including an even colder 5-of-25 beyond the arc, in falling 61-37 to a more senior-laden Arlington (6) crew.
The Bearcats (16-6) played two seniors, two sophomores and four freshmen during the bulk of the contest.
“For the first time all year, I think we showed our youth. We settled too much for the first available shot instead of working the ball,” Spencerville coach Kevin Sensabaugh noted. “We didn’t respond to the atmosphere and the situation well at all. Youth is no excuse, though; it’s about playing good basketball at this time of year and we did not. It’s about shooting the basketball and even when we got good shots, they didn’t fall; that happens sometimes in this game.”
On the other end, the Red Devils (19-4) canned a warm 18-of-34 shots (7-of-14 3-balls) for 52.9 percent.
“For us, though, it came down to defense. We felt the best way to try and slow them down was keep them off-balance with our changing defenses,” Arlington mentor Jason Vermillion explained. “They are very skilled players but they are young. They got a few buckets early and we gave up some penetration but we never strayed from our game plan. They started to miss some shots then.”
The Bearcats had two main scorers all night: senior Ben Bowers with 17 (3 treys) and sophomore Zach Goecke 15 (10-of-12 free throws).
Arlington was led by seniors Jordan Freed and Blake Courtney with 16 each.
Arlington employed that defensive strategy of changing between their man-to-man and 2-3 zone all night long and it worked as the Bearcats were 4-of-13 in the opening period. On the other end, the Red Devils were 4-of-10 shooting. With Bowers dropping in seven and Goecke five (with a trey), two Goecke free tosses at 4.8 ticks accounted for a 12-11 lead for Spencerville at the end of one.
Four players scored for the Devils as there were four lead changes.
The second period proved decisive Tuesday night. The Bearcats turned polar, shooting 1-of-7, and included five turnovers in the mix (11 for the game) — including three on their first three possessions. When senior Andrew Hunter (8 markers, 5 assists) buried a triple early in the period, Arlington never trailed again. They delivered 5-of-11 shooting, with five different players scoring at least two points, while Goecke was the only Bearcat who scored (4). When senior Ryan McDowell drained a trifecta from right of the key on an inbounds play at 1:15, Arlington led 25-16.
The Spencerville shooting woes continued into the third period, try as they might to heat up (2-of-12) — Goecke was 6-of-8 from the free-throw line and freshman Dakota Prichard finally broke into the Spencerville scoring column with a trey. The veteran Red Devils knew what to do: go to a more slower-tempo offense and force the Bearcats to chase in an effort to get back in the game. The result — 7-of-8 shooting in the canto, including Freed draining all three triples on three straight possessions (out of the first 4 of the canto) within the first 4:44. When Courtney laid one in off Hunter penetration with 13 ticks on the board, they had their biggest lead of the night at 43-27.
The Bearcats fought to the end but to no avail, with the benches emptying as the fourth period wound down and seeing the end of the Bearcat cage careers of three seniors: Bowers, Jon Long and Aaron Crider.
“I’m not sure we did anything that resembled a good basketball team tonight. We have four guys averaging double figures and we basically had two guys score tonight,” Sensabaugh added. “We didn’t rebound very well and we didn’t play good defense. We’ve had three games like this this year and it’s unfortunate tonight was one of them. It’s a great learning experience for our underclassmen but unfortunately for our three seniors, it doesn’t help them; they won’t be back next year.”
In sum, Arlington finished 18-of-24 at the line (75%); with 26 rebounds (7 offensive) as Courtney cleaned up with 13; 10 turnovers; and 13 fouls.
“I have a lot of confidence in my senior guards that have been through quite a lot of big games,” Vermillion added. “Again, we had our ideas offensively and when they tried to apply more defensive pressure, we stayed poised and made good decisions with the ball.”
Spencerville concluded with 12-of-16 foul shots (75%); 27 rebounds, 16 offensive, as Goecke and Bowers had six each and Prichard and frosh Bailey Croft five each; and 17 fouls.
Zach Durliat 0-0-0, Ryan McDowell 2-0-6, Andrew Hunter 1-5-8, Jordan Freed 5-3-16, Ridge Babb 0-0-0, Jesse Coleman 0-0-0, Jared Green 0-0-0, Aaron Starr 2-0-5, Matt Glick 2-0-4, Logan Speyer 0-0-0, Michael Blunk 1-4-6, Blake Courtney 5-6-16. Totals 11-7-18-61.
Mason Nourse 1-0-2, David Wisher 0-0-0, Damien Corso 0-0-0, Grant Goecke 0-0-0, Jacob Meyer 0-0-0, Zach Goecke 2-10-15, Ben Bowers 6-2-17, Dakota Prichard 1-0-3, Bailey Croft 0-0-0, Griffen Croft 0-0-0, Jon Long 0-0-0, Aaron Crider 0-0-0. Totals 5-5-12-37.
Score by Quarters:
Arlington 11 14 18 18 - 61
Spencerville 12 4 11 10 - 37
Three-point goals: Arlington, Freed 3, McDowell, Hunter, Starr; Spencerville, Bowers 3, Z. Goecke, Prichard.