KETTERING — Fort Loramie coach Corey Britton wasn’t pleased with the team having a dozen turnovers and missing several layups in a showdown with Dayton Thurgood Marshall in Flyin’ to the Hoop on Monday.
If the Redskins have as much to work on as Britton said, their future opponents have reason to worry. As Thurgood Marshall can attest, they’re not that bad to begin with.
Fort Loramie shot 53 percent from the field and dominated rebounding-wise in a 58-53 win over the Cougars. The win keeps the top-ranked Redskins undefeated at 12-0.
Fort Loramie fell behind by five points but pulled ahead early in the second quarter and never trailed the rest of the game. The Redskins made 23-of-43 shots from the field, including 20-of-34 from two-point range.
“Our kids battle and play hard,” Britton said. “I thought in the first half we didn’t do a good job of getting the ball to the spots that we needed to. We took great shots, but shoot, we missed four or five layups in the first half. That’s starting to become a reoccurring problem, and if we don’t get that fixed, it’s going to cost us.”
Fort Loramie senior forward Tyler Siegel said it took a few minutes for the team to get accustomed to Thurgood Marshall’s speed.
“We hadn’t seen a team that was as all-around athletic as they were,” Siegel said. “… We can adapt to different teams and different opponents.”
Fort Loramie struggled with layups in last Tuesday’s win over Versailles. The good news for Redskins fans is the team has found a way to overcome those lapses, namely through tough man-to-man defense and strong rebounding.
The Cougars shot 21 for 53 from the field and had trouble getting offensive rebounds against Fort Loramie’s Tyler Siegel, Dillon Braun, Austin Siegel, Evan Berning and Eli Rosengarten, who combined for 25 of the team’s 27 defensive rebounds. Loramie had 32 total rebounds to Thurgood Marshall’s 26.
Britton was especially pleased with Rosengarten, who came off the bench and got a couple of big rebounds in the second half. Rosengarten finished with four rebounds.
“That’s going to get overlooked in some articles and stuff like that,” Britton said. “That’s an area of weakness for us, and he got some big ones, including one where it was a four-point game and he gets a rebound that led to a monster layup at the other end. That’s a big turning point.”
Braun led Fort Loramie with 21 points, 13 of which came in the second half. Tyler Siegel added 12 points and nine rebounds and Berning scored 12 points and had four rebounds.
“We’ve got weapons and kids that can put the ball in the basket all around us,” Britton said. “That’s very, very valuable.”
Fort Loramie led 21-18 at halftime and the Cougars started the third quarter on an 8-4 run to take a one-point lead with 5:16 left. Evan Berning responded with two consecutive baskets to put the Redskins up 29-26, then Dillon Braun hit a 3-pointer from the right wing with 2:29 left to push the lead to 32-26.
Thurgood Marshall cut Fort Loramie’s lead to four early in the fourth, but the Redskins went on a 6-0 run to put the game away. Evan Berning hit a basket to give the Redskins a 46-36 lead midway through the fourth, and the gap hovered around 10 points until Thurgood made a couple of late baskets.
Thurgood was able to cut into the lead after the Redskins had a few turnovers.
“We had to clean some things up,” Britton said. “The first half of the third quarter, every pass was over-the-top, over-the-top. You’ve to make bounce passes, make ball-fakes, stop dribbling and pass the basketball. We learned good lessons, and these are the games that we get better. We’ve got to go back and get ready for a big weekend.”
The Redskins will travel to Botkins for a Shelby County Athletic League game on Friday and return home on Saturday to face Minster (7-2), which beat Franklin Monroe 74-58 in Monday’s first Flyin’ to the Hoop game.
“Minster’s always been a rival of ours,” Tyler Siegel said. “They’ve got a lot of size and a lot of athleticism. It’s going to be a tough game, and we’re going to have to stick together and stick to what we do best, the basics.”
Thurgood Marshall went on a 6-0 run to take a 9-8 lead over Fort Loramie, but Austin Siegel hit a basket with 10 seconds left in the first to put the Redskins ahead 9-8.
Britton said the team took a few minutes to get accustomed to Thurgood’s speed.
“It’s a little different than County basketball,” Britton said. “We try to do our best to prepare for it, but you can’t simulate their speed and athleticism. …They’re three times our size, so it’s a big task for our kids to play somebody like that. I was proud of the way we battled and fought.”
Fort Loramie’s lead grew to six points after a basket by Evan Berning with 2:43 left in the second. The lead stayed close to six points until Tavell Sims hit a 3-pointer from the right corner at the buzzer to pull Thurgood within three points.
Sims led Thurgood Marshall with 18 points, while Anthony McCombs scored 16 points and Chanze Amerson added 14. Byron Lanier brought down 10 rebounds for the Cougars (3-7, 2-2 Dayton City League).