Luke Trentman of Fort Jennings drives the baseline Friday night against Arlington’s Caleb Price in season-opening boys basketball action inside The Fort of Fort Jennings High School. (DHI Media/Jim Metcalfe)
Luke Trentman of Fort Jennings drives the baseline Friday night against Arlington’s Caleb Price in season-opening boys basketball action inside The Fort of Fort Jennings High School. (DHI Media/Jim Metcalfe)

FORT JENNINGS — If the Arlington at Fort Jennings boys basketball season-opener Friday night inside The Fort is any indication, the 2016-17 campaign will be a fun one.

The game see-sawed back and forth, requiring an extra session.

It also means that execution would be key down the stretch and the Red Devils — who have had practices and scrimmages limited due to the success of their football team — were the better of it in a 61-58 thriller.

Tied at 50-50 entering the extra four minutes, Arlington was without 6-5, 255-pound senior Logan Speyer (who matched up with 6-4, 230-pound Musketeer junior Brandon and is signed to play defensive end at Miami University in Oxford), who fouled out late in the fourth period. After trading turnovers, Musketeer junior Cole Horstman followed his own miss at 3:18 and added a foul shot at 2:49 around a free throw from Arlington’s Jacob Russell. A 3-pointer by Matt Crawford at 2:22 gave the visitors the lead and that began three trades of the lead, with the Musketeers’ last one 57-56 on two Wehri foul shots at 1:11. Russell tied it at 1:02 and off the last of Fort Jennings’ 19 miscues, Russell’s steal and layin at 38 seconds gave them the lead for good. Wehri hit 1-of-2 at the line at 16.4 and Crawford and Corbin Mains each hit 1-0f-2 free throws in the final 14.9 to seal the deal.

Wehri and Speyer went at it most of the night as both units used mostly man-to-man defensive looks, also trying to help whenever they could. Speyer had eight points versus seven by Wehri in the opening period but the latter had a bit more help as they took a 13-11 edge on two Luke Trentman foul shots at 2:12 to close first-period scoring.

The second period was close as there were four lead changes. Wehri helped slow Speyer down, holding him to four in the span, but Logan Hardeman came alive for eight of his game total of nine points to pace the orange-and-black. In fact, his layin at 1:24 put them up 25-22 at halftime.

There were two lead changes in the third period, with Russell and Nathan Russel scoring the first four points for Arlington and Ian Finn giving the home squad the lead right back on a spinner in the lane at 6:33. They built up a 7-point lead twice, the latter at 38-31 on a putback by 6-3, 230-pounder Connor Stechschulte, before Musketeer Erik Klausing’s 15-footer on the right wing at 1:55 provided a 40-35 cushion.

With Speyer getting into more foul trouble — eventually fouling out with 23 seconds left in regulation — the hosts appeared to finally have things in hand as they built the game’s biggest margin: 48-40 with 2:34 left on two Trentman foul shots. However, back came the Red Devils as they outscored their hosts 10-2 down the stretch (Jennings hit 2-of-4 free throws and turned it over a crucial two times) and when Jacob Russell drained a 22-footer on the right wing with 3.6 on the clock, that tied the score at 50, with Jennings quickly calling time. Trentman got a look on the right wing but it caromed off the rim and overtime was forced.

“It’s what I told the kids in the locker room after the game; this is a lesson we can learn about execution down the stretch. We had some issues that cost us but we can learn from this,” Fort Jennings head coach Keith Utendorf explained. “We had things going our way with their big man out in overtime but we had some key mistakes down the stretch and they hit some big shots in that span as well. We were up eight and just failed to hold on. Again, we can pick up from this and move on to our next game; it hurts the kids to lose a game like this and I could see that, so in a way, that’s good.”

In junior varsity action, Arlington opened with a 42-34 win as Jaret Vermillion nailed five 3-pointers en route to 19 points.

Ian Ricker countered with 12 and Carson Kazee 11 for the home team.

With Fort Jennings and their slated road game at Ayersville tonight moved back to Dec. 27, their next game is on the road at Antwerp Friday.

VARSITY

ARLINGTON (61)

Nathan Insley 2-4 1-1 6, Caleb Price 0-6 0-0 0, Matt Crawford 1-6 1-1 4, Colten Crist 0-1 0-0 0, Logan Speyer 10-23 0-4 20, Ivan Berry 1-2 0-1 2, Jacob Russell 5-8 3-7 15, Nathan Russell 1-4 0-0 3, Brock Oates 0-0 0-0 0, Corbin Mains 2-4 6-8 11. Totals 22-58 11-22 61.

FORT JENNINGS (58)

Erik Klausing 1-4 0-0 2, Ian Ricker 0-0 0-0 0, Logan Hardeman 4-4 1-3 9, Ian Finn 3-11 0-1 7, Luke Trentman 1-7 6-6 9, Cole Horstman 3-7 3-4 9, Connor Stechschulte 1-3 0-1 2, Brandon Wehri 7-13 6-10 20. Totals 20-50 16-25 58.

Score by Quarters:

Arlington 11 11 13 15 (11) - 61

Ft. Jennings 13 12 15 10 (8) 58

Field Goal Percentage: Arlington 37.9, Fort Jennings 40. Free Throw Percentage Arlington 50, Fort Jennings 64. Three-point goals: Arlington 6-19 (J. Russell 2, Insley, Crawford, N. Russell, Mains), Fort Jennings 2-14 (Finn, Trentman). Rebounds: Arlington 34/12 off. (Speyer 8), Fort Jennings 47/13 off. (Wehri/Trentman 9). Assists: Arlington 7 (J. Russell 3), Fort Jennings 9 (Trentman 4). Steals: Arlington 9 (J. Russell 4), Fort Jennings 4 (Trentman 2). Blocks: Arlington 6 (Speyer 5), Fort Jennings 4 (Wehri/Trentman 2. Turnovers: Arlington 10, Fort Jennings 19. Fouls: Arlington 25, Fort Jennings 19.

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JUNIOR VARSITY

ARLINGTON (42)

Jaret Vermillion 5-4-19, Ryan Metzger 2-0-4, Ewan Martin 0-0-0, Ivan Berry 5-1-11, Ty Webb 0-0-0, Carter Essinger 0-0-0, Tyson Speyer 0-0-0, Nate Sheets 3-2-8. Totals 10-5-7/19-42.

FORT JENNINGS (34)

Ian Ricker 4-3-12, Carson Kazee 3-5-11, Reese Von Sossan 0-0-0, Derek Luersman 0-0-0, Noah Wittler 0-0-0, Austin Nelson 4-0-9, Brandon Suever 0-0-0, Simon Smith 1-0-2. Totals 10-2-8/19-34.

Score by Quarters:

Arlington 17 5 10 10 - 42

Ft. Jennings 6 6 8 14 - 34

Three-point goals: Arlington, Vermillion 5; Fort Jennings, Ricker, Nelson.