By Matt Zircher
KETTERING — The Fort Loramie Redskins battled back in the second half, but the hole was too big to climb out of in a 52-50 loss to the Lima Perry Commodores in Division 4 Boys Regional basketball action at Trent Arena in Kettering.
The loss ends Fort Loramie’s season at 21-6, while Perry advances to Friday’s regional championship game Friday against either Tri-Village or Cincinnati Christian.
The Commodores played the game with heavy hearts after the team’s assistant coach, Herb Lane Jr., who is also the school’s head football coach, was killed in an automobile accident Monday afternoon.
Classes were canceled at Perry for Tuesday, and the basketball team had the option of not playing Tuesday night at Kettering, and waiting until Wednesday to face Fort Loramie at Vandalia Butler. But the team decided to go through with the game.
Austin Siegel and Evan Berning staked the Redskins to a quick 4-0 lead to start the game, but Perry responded with a 7-0 run, the last bucket a three by Plummie Gardner.
After Loramie tied the game at 7-7, Perry scored six of the next seven points for a 13-8 lead, but by the end of the quarter, it was just a two-point game at 13-11.
The Redskins stuck right with the Commodores in the second quarter despite falling behind 18-12 with 6:40 left in the first half. They pulled to within 18-17 on a Dillon Braun three, and it was 23-21 Perry after a pair of free throws by Austin Siegel.
But Perry scored the final seven points of the half to take a 30-21 lead into the intermission.
Things went from bad to worse in the third quarter, with the Commodores threatening to blow the game open. After an exchange of baskets to open the quarter, Perry got a three from Orion Monford to make it 35-23, then a free throw and bucket by Monford to make it 38-23.
Monford scored again to make it 40-23, and after a free throw by Loramie’s Nick Brandewie, Kobe Glover scored to push the lead to 18 at 42-24 with 4:36 left in the third quarter.
At that point, the Redskins’ Eli Rosengarten had had enough, and drained two straight three-pointers to slice the lead to 42-30 with 2:26 left. And when Braun hit another three, the lead was down to nine with :46 left in the third period, which ended 42-33.
The final period started with a Berning layup to cut the lead to seven, and after Kobe Glover answered for Perry, Braun and Siegel both scored to cut it to five at 44-39.
A bucket by Glover was countered with a three from Berning to make it 46-42, but Perry was able to push the lead out to 49-42 with just 1:08 remaining on a pair of free shots from Monford.
Braun made it interesting again with another three, but Perry scored inside to make it 51-45 with just :54 remaining. Gardner added a free throw for a seven-point lead with just :21 left. Rosengarten hit another three with :14 left but the Redskins ran out of time, the final bucket coming with just one tick remaining.
“Lima Perry is the best team we’ve seen all year and you can’t afford to fall behind 18 against them,” said Loramie coach Corey Britton. “I can’t fault the effort of our kids, though. They played their tails off to get back into it. We just ran out of time. We didn’t do enough of the little things that we said we needed to do to win.”
Braun finished with 18 to lead the Redskins and Tyler Siegel added 10 points and eight rebounds. Rosengarten had nine points on three threes, and Cody Gasson had eight rebounds. Berning, meanwhile, had eight points and dished out eight assists.
“We started attacking on offense late in the third quarter and that’s the only way you can be successful against their pressure.” Britton said. “When we started attacking, that opened things up and we were able to hit some three-pointers. When we were hesitant earlier in the game, Perry took advantage.”
The Redskins were 17 for 34 from the field for 50 percent, and Perry 19 for 45 for 42 percent. Both teams had 24 rebounds.
“We ran into a senior-laden team tonight in Perry that was here in the regionals last year and that showed,” said Britton. “Next year, we hope to be in that position.”
Lima Perry (52) — Gardner 9, Monford 20, Lane-Harvey 11, Glover 10, Nichols 2.
Loramie (50) — Berning 8, Braun 18, A. Siegel 4, T. Siegel 10, Brandewie 1, Rosengarten 9.
Score by quarters:
Perry` 13 ` 30 ` 42 ` 52
Loramie`11 ` 21 ` 33 ` 50
Three-pointers: Loramie 8 (Braun 4, Rosengarten 3, Berning); Perry 6 (Monford 3, Gardner 2, Lane-Harvey).
Records: Loramie 21-6, Perry 23-3.