VERSAILLES — The Russia Raiders pretty much did everything right — except at the free throw line. And it cost them in a tough one-point loss at backyard rival Versailles Saturday night in non-league boys basketball action.
Ohio State commit Justin Ahrens dropped in two free throws with 3.2 seconds left to give the Tigers a 55-54 thriller in a battle of two of the area’s best teams.
The loss leaves the Raiders at 13-4 on the season, and they return to County play Friday at Botkins hoping to remain alone atop the league standings.
Versailles, the No. 4-ranked team in Ohio in Division 3, is now 16-1 after the narrow escape and is in Midwest Athletic Conference action at New Knoxville Friday.
It was a gutsy effort by the Raiders. They trailed by 10 after a quarter and still by nine at the half at 34-25. Versailles then scored the first four of the third quarter to open up a 13-point lead.
But the Raiders refused to go away and went on a run that gave them a 50-47 lead past the midway point of the final period.
Versailles responded with six of the next seven points to lead 53-51. Cole Tebbe countered to tie the score, but missed the free throw on a three-point play attempt.
Justin Ahrens returned the favor when he missed the front end of a one-and-one to keep the score at 53-53.
Russia was playing for the last shot, but Dylan Cordonnier was fouled with 8.5 seconds left. He made the first, but missed the second, and on Versailles’ trip down the floor, Ahrens was fouled and converted both for the win.
“They had us right where they wanted us,” said Russia coach Spencer Cordonnier. “We were struggling to keep our heads above water. Versailles is a great team, and I think everybody in Versailles points to this game every year. But I told our kids we could guard them, and we weren’t doing that in the first half. We came out in the second half and did, and it got us back in the game.
“We didn’t do anything flashy. We just ran our offense and defended,” he added. “Dylan (Cordonnier) kinda led the charge. We were able to get him some open looks, and some ball screens, and he knocked his shots down.”
But they couldn’t overcome struggles at the free throw line, finishing just 6-for-15 for the game.
“That just killed us,” Cordonnier said. “And three misses late in the game. But credit both teams. It was a hard-fought game, and that’s what everybody wants to see — two teams just going at each other.”
Cordonnier had 21 for the Raiders and hit five threes, and Jack Dapore added 13.
Justin Ahrens had 20 and Keaton McEldowney 12 for the Tigers.
Russia (54) — Cordonnier 21, Poling 8, Tebbe 8, Dapore 13, Kearns 4.
Versailles (55) — J. Ahrens 20, AJ Ahrens 8, McEldowney 12, Knapke 2, Barga 2, Wendel 3, Custenborder 6, Niekamp 2.
Score by quarters:
Three-pointers: Russia 7 (Cordonnier 5, Dapore 2); Versailles 2 (McEldowney, Wendel).
Records: Russia 13-4, Versailles 16-1.
Fairlawn 87, Miami East 64
CASSTOWN — The Fairlawn Jets are on a quite a roll, and a high-scoring one.
On Saturday night, the Jets won for the seventh time in a row to up their record to a County-best 14-2. And they rolled up 87 points in a 23-point win over Miami East, making that the fifth time in those six wins with 75 points or more, including four in the 80s.
The one time they didn’t score high was in a win over Fort Loramie, but they won that one by 21 (55-34).
The Jets will try to kep it going and keep their County hopes alive on Friday when they host the Jackson Center Tigers.
On Saturday against a good Miami East squad (now 9-7), the Jets led by a dozen at the half, then pulled out to a 22-point lead after three periods.
Nathan Lessing again led the Jets with 29 but he was just one of five players in double figures for Fairlawn.
Luke Hickman added 21 and hit four three-pointers, Keshon Johnson had 12, Drew Brautigam 11 and Nick Brautigam 10.
“We are sharing the ball so well right now,” said Fairlawn head coach Justin Tidwell. “We’re moving the ball around and hitting the open guy and that’s given us good shots. And it really helps that Luke (Hickman) is becoming such a long-range threat.”
Hickman had nine threes in the two weekend wins for the Jets and has hit 20 in those seven straight wins.
Fairlawn (87) — Lessing 29, Reck 2, N. Brautigam 10, Curtner 2, Johnson 12, Hickman 21, D. Brautigam 11.
Miami East (64) — Brown 13, Hahn 2, Kearns 2, Coomes 6, West 36, Rutledge 2, Gengler 3.
Score by quarters:
Three-pointers: Fairlawn 7 (Hickman 4, Johnson 2, N. Brautigam); Miami East 5 (Brown 2, Coomes 2, Gengler).
Records: Fairlawn 14-2, Miami East 9-7.
Reserve score: Miami East 42, Fairlawn 21.
Loramie 51, Recovery 42
FORT LORAMIE — Fort Recovery was 9-1 at one point this season, but Fort Loramie handed them their fourth loss in a row Saturday night, 51-42 in non-league action at Loramie.
The Redskins improve to 13-3 this season and have now won five of their last six. They host Houston in County play on Friday.
“Fort Recovery is good, and has good size. And they are always physical,” said Fort Loramie coach Corey Britton. So this was a good win for us. Any time you can get a win over a MAC (Midwest Athletic Conference) team, it’s a good win. I think this was a real confidence-builder for us.”
The Redskins led 16-12 after a quarter and clamped down on the Indians on the defensive end to steadily pull away, although the Indians cut it to 46-40 with under two minutes to play.
“Our defense was outstanding,” Britton said. “We made it real tough on their big kids and we didn’t give them many good shots.”
Dillon Braun was dialed in from long range right from the start and finished with 21 points, 12 coming on four three-pointers. He was the only one in double figures, but Tyler Siegel and Evan Berning had nine apiece, and Siegel added nine rebounds to just miss a double-double. Berning added four assists.
Fort Recovery (42) — Martin 8, Braun 4, Jutte 15, Wendel 2, Sutter 6, Bihn 4, Cox 3.
Fort Loramie (51) — Brandewie 5, Berning 9, Braun 21, Raterman 3, A. Siegel 4, T. Siegel 9.
Score by quarters:
Three-pointers: FL 6 (Braun 4, Brandewie, Raterman); FR 3 (Jutte 3).
Records: FL 13-3, FR 9-5.
Reserve score: FL 51, FR 25.
Jackson 40, NB 38, OT
NEW BREMEN — The New Bremen Cardinals came into Saturday’s game at home against Jackson Center with just one win on the season, but they didn’t play like it, taking the Tigers into overtime before coming up short, 40-38.
Jackson Center improved to 10-5 with the win and is back in action Friday at Fairlawn.
New Bremen is now 1-13 and is also back in action Friday at Coldwater.
“We expected a tough game, and their record is very deceiving,” said JC coach Scott Elchert. “They play so darn hard.”
The Tigers had the ball and played for a last shot in regulation with the score tied at 36, but the play designed for senior standout Brady Wildermuth failed when he was called for an offensive foul.
After New Bremen got a free throw to take the lead in overtime, Jackson countered with a bucket. But the Cardinals got another free throw with about a minute-and-a-half left.
When Jackson got possession after the free throw, Elchert decided to play for the last shot. This time, the play was designed for Bryce Sosby, and he hit a 10-footer with 4.5 seconds left that stood up for the win.
Sosby led the Tigers in scoring with 19 and Wildermuth added 13.
Koby Paul had 15 to lead the Cardinals and Nolan Bornhorst added 10. Luke Vonderhaar pulled down eight rebounds for Bremen and Bornhorst seven.
Jackson Center (40) — Platfoot 2, Booser 3, Sosby 19, Bunke 1, Wildermth 13, Winner 2.
New Bremen (38) — Paul 15, Bowers 1, Myers 6, Bornhorst 10, Vonderhaar 6.
Score by quarters:
Three-pointers: JC 4 (Sosby 3, Booser); NB 4 (Paul 3, Bornhorst).
Records: JC 10-5, NB 1-13.
Reserve score: NB 46, JC 39.
F-M 59, Minster 54
PITSBURG — Minster went on the road and dropped its second straight, this one to Franklin-Monroe in non-league action Saturday.
The Wildcats fall to 7-7 with the loss and are back in action with two home games this weekend, Friday against Marion Local in conference play and Saturday against Jackson Center.
Minster gave the now 12-4 Jets all they could handle, leading 15-12 after a quarter and being tied heading to the final period. But F-M scored 21 points over the final eight minutes to pull out the win.
Bryce Schmiesing led the Wildcats with 14 points, and Isaac Dorsten added 12 and was 6-for-8 from the field. Schmiesing also had seven rebounds.
Minster shot well from the field, hitting 24 for 51, and was 15-for-22 from the line. Monroe was 22-for-44 and 19-for-26.
Minster (54) — B. Schmiesing 14, Ketner 9, Broering 3, Ernst 4, Frericks 4, Schulze 8, Dorsten 12.
F-M (59) — Ressler 5, M. Conley 23, Hesler 1, Cable 4, McGlinch 4, E. Conley 22.
Score by quarters:
Three-pointers: Minster 4 (B. Schmiesing 2, Ketner, Broering); F-M 6 (M. Conley 3, E. Conley 2, Ressler).
Records: Minster 7-7, F-M 12-4.
Reserve score: Minster 62, F-M 57.
Southeastern 62, Riverside 55
DEGRAFF — Riverside threw a bit of a scare into once-beaten and state-ranked Southeastern Saturday night, but couldn’t overcome a tough second quarter in losing 62-55 in non-league action at home.
The Pirates are now 4-11 and host Triad on Tuesday.
Southeastern is now 14-1.
The two teams were deadlocked at 16 after one quarter, but the Trojans outscored the Pirates 19-8 in the second period, and it was an uphill climb for the Pirates after that.
“We got off to a good start and competed well on both ends of the floor,” said Pirate coach Seth Bodenmiller. “We were right with them midway through the second quarter, only down 25-24, but then they went on a 10-0 run to finish out the half. Coming out of halftime, we got it down to five, but then Southeastern went on another big run. Our guys went into the fourth quarter with a lot of confidence and energy and we were able to get the lead down to five. Give a lot of credit to Southeastern, though, they are the 8th-ranked team in Division IV right now, and they were able to convert a lot of free throws down the stretch and seal the win.”
He said Trey Helmlinger had an outstanding game at both ends of the floor. He was unstoppable on offense, pouring in 36 points on 13-for-24 from the field and 7-for-8 from the line. He also had three assists and three steals.
Southeastern (62) — Bertromes 2, King 1, Spears 7, King 25, Lyons 15, Flannery 2, Billet 10.
Riverside (55) — Harshbarger 6, Helmlinger 36, Auflick 3, Willoby 2, Kreglow 8.
Score by quarters:
Three-pointers: Southeastern 4 (Spears 2, King, Lyons); Riverside 4 9Helmlinger 3, Auflick).
Records: Riverside 4-11, Southeastern 14-1.
Reserve score: Riverside 51 (Wyatt Auflick 20), SE 38.
Fort Jennings 67, NK 55
NEW KNOXVILLE — New Knoxville lost its seventh in a row and fell to 4-11 on the year with a 67-55 loss to visiting Fort Jennings Saturday night.
The Rangers are back in action Friday at home against Versailles.
The Rangers fell behind 35-22 at the half and couldn’t recover.
Ben Lammers had an outstanding game, pouring in 23 to lead the Rangers. Nathan Tinnerman had 14 and Jonah Lageman 12.
Fort Jennings (67) — Klausing 1, Hardeman 14, Finn 7, Horstman 1, Stechschulte 3, Wehri 28, Trentman 13.
New Knoxville (55) — Lammers 23, Bartholomew 2, Lageman 12, Tinnerman 14, Thobe 4.
Score by quarters:
Three-pointers: NK 5 (Lammers 3, Lageman, Tinnerman); FJ 4 (Trentman 3, Finn).
Records: NK 4-11, FJ 5-11.