FORT LORAMIE — Fort Loramie had a slow start in a season opener against New Knoxville on Saturday. But if the Redskins score like they did in the last 12 or so minutes of the nonconference game, they’ll likely rack up the wins again this season.
Fort Loramie outscored the Rangers by 24 points in the second half to pull away to a 59-22 win.
The Redskins’ defense was solid throughout the game as New Knoxville struggled to find shots and get rebounds. Loramie wasn’t as dominating on its offensive end, though. The Redskins threw several passes out-of-bounds and had other turnovers that limited their early output.
“It was really ugly in the first half,” Fort Loramie coach Corey Britton said. “We just didn’t execute really well. I thought we missed some bunnies and offensively just never got into a flow and reversed the basketball. In the second half, we played really well, but that’s because the ball was bouncing around from hands to hands and people were attacking and playing together.
“It was much better in the second half. It’s the first game of the year, so it’s going to be choppy and ugly at times. The kids did a nice job of battling through it and kept playing.”
After building a 25-13 halftime lead, Loramie put the game away in the third quarter with a 16-4 scoring advantage. Nathan Raterman hit a 3-pointer with about two minutes left to give Loramie a 30-point lead, and the Redskins never led by less than 30 the rest of the game.
“Defensively early in the game, we did exactly what we wanted to do,” New Knoxville coach Josh Lisi said. “Our goal is to try to hold them to 10 points per quarter, and the first two quarters we did that pretty well. But coming out in the second half, we just kind of lacked a little bit. We’re working on that focus from a defensive standpoint, and we’re going to get better at it.”
New Knoxville made only three field goals in the second half and didn’t get many second-chance opportunities as Fort Loramie dominated the boards. The Redskins had 29 rebounds in the game.
“Giving up 22 points in a high school basketball game is impressive,” Britton said. “That goes to our kids. For the most part, until about the fourth quarter, I thought we rebounded really well, too. So we did nice job. That was a good step forward.”
Fort Loramie made 21-of-41 shot attempts (51 percent) and 12-of-14 free-throw attempts. The Redskins had 13 turnovers.
“We’ve got to be a little bit more consistent offensively,” Britton said. “Tonight, it was just ugly. …We took some poor shots in the first half. We’re at our best when the ball moves side-to-side and we play inside-out. Our post guys didn’t get enough attempts tonight, so we’ve got to do a better job moving forward.”
Dillon Braun led Loramie with 16 points and four assists, while Tyler Siegel scored 13. Siegel, a senior, scored eight in the first half. Evan Berning added nine points, including four from the free-throw line. He led the team with nine rebounds.
Lisi said it was a good early-season test for New Knoxville to go up against Fort Loramie, which has four starters back off a team that finished 21-6 last year and won a district title.
“We’re continuously growing as a team,” Lisi said. “We’re going to grow. Sometimes when you face a really good team right off the bat, you have trouble staying together. I hope through the season we keep building and staying together as a team through all this. But it’s a good test for us to see where we’re at, and we’ve just got to move on from here. That first half we went in the direction we wanted to go to. We’ve just got to keep working at it.”
Ben Lammers led New Knoxville with 11 points, while Nathan Tinnerman scored eight.
Lisi said he’s been pleased with the improvement he’s seen in practice so far.
“These guys get along well and they’re playing together,” Lisi said. “We’ve got to keep building on that. They work extremely hard in practice, but we’ve got to get the mental aspect under control. I think that’s our biggest weakness. These guys are such competitors that they think each time they make a mistake, that’s the end of the game. We’ve got to work on that mental aspect. Once we do that, I think we’ll be a tough team down the road. “
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter.