JACKSON CENTER — Fort Loramie hadn’t won a game at Jackson Center since 2014 entering a Shelby County Athletic League contest on Friday. The Tigers’ defense didn’t make it easy, but Fort Loramie used strong defense of its own and rebounding to capture a 44-30 victory.
The Redskins battled early to take a 23-15 halftime lead. Outside of an early 7-0 run, Loramie was unable to get baskets in quick spurts against Jackson Center’s defense. The Tigers did well on the defensive boards to limit Loramie’s second-chance looks.
“They made it difficult for us,” Fort Loramie coach Corey Britton said. “A lot of our struggles were a credit to them. They defended really well. It was a scratch-and-claw, back-and-forth great game. It was good for us, and we’re glad to get out of here with a victory. This is a tough place to play.”
Jackson Center pulled within six points on a basket by Aidan Reichert with about 3:30 left in the third quarter but didn’t score over the next five minutes.
Loramie scored the last four points of the third to take a 31-21 lead, then Austin Siegel opened the fourth quarter with an inside basket to put the Tigers up by 12 points.
“You can’t go that long without scoring,” Jackson Center coach Scott Elchert said. “I felt like the third quarter was a really good defensive quarter. But man, we were dry too. Their defense had a lot to do with us not scoring, let’s give credit where credit is due.
“Some of the shots my main guys got, when they had opportunities, they didn’t knock them in. In a game like that, you’ve got to cash in on the few opportunities you get.”
Nathan Raterman hit a 3-pointer with 6:20 left in the fourth to extend Loramie’s lead to 38-23. Jackson Center didn’t come closer than 11 points after that.
Tyler Siegel closed out the win for Loramie with a big one-handed dunk with 2:20 left.
“I thought we played better in the second half,” Britton said. “We had a couple of turnovers and some missed layups, but that’s how it goes some nights. We didn’t play very well, but Jackson Center had a lot to do with us.
“… Our attacks had to be tougher (in the second half). There were four or five attacks in the first half where their kids just flat-out took it from us. We had to be tougher. We showed the ball, gave them the ball right in their bellies, and they took it from us. They were stronger and more physical, and we had to match that physicality.”
Fort Loramie’s physicality on defense proved tough through the game for Jackson Center. The Tigers needed long possessions to find good shots. Tyler Siegel, a 6-7 post player, led a strong defensive rebounding effort for Loramie.
“They’re a tough matchup for everybody,” Elchert said. “They’re bigger at every position from top to bottom. Their height and athleticism came into play tonight, no doubt. But I thought our kids responded well to that and did what they could to put us in a good position. We just didn’t cash in on the few opportunities we had.”
The Redskins went on a 7-0 run over a two-minute stretch late in the first quarter to take a 14-7 lead. Bryce Sosby hit a 3-pointer for Jackson Center with three seconds left in the first, then Reichert opened the second with an inside basket to bring the Tigers within 14-12.
Fort Loramie responded with a 9-0 run over a long stretch in the second. Dillon Braun started the run with a basket in the paint and finished it off with a 3-pointer with 2:37 left in the second to give the Redskins a 23-14 lead. Jackson Center’s Trent Platfoot hit a 3-pointer with 1:11 left to shrink the halftime deficit to eight points.
Braun led the Redskins with 10 points, while Austin Siegel finished with eight and Nick Brandewie scored seven. The Redskins made 7-of-9 free-throw attempts and 16 field goals.
Fort Loramie travels to Bethel on Saturday for a big nonconference game. The Bees have started the season without star guard Caleb South but haven’t been to hampered. They’ve amassed a 7-1 record, including a 59-54 win over Troy on Dec. 23.
“I know they’ve got (Ryan) Rose that’s a very good player and they’ve got a 6-7 kid, and their schedule’s been extremely challenging,” Britton said. “Their only loss has been to Kettering Fairmont, which is Division I and probably one of the better Division I teams in southwest Ohio.”
Sosby led Jackson Center with nine points while Platfoot finished with eight. The Tigers made 13 field goals and 1-of-1 foul shot attempts.
Fort Loramie jumped out to a 5-2 lead early, but the Tigers quickly closed the gap.
Christopher Elchert hit a 3-pointer with 3:05 left in the first to cap off a 5-2 run for Jackson Center that tied the game 7-7.
The Redskins scored the next seven points. Eli Rosengarten scored a basket with 2:27 left and then hit a 3-pointer from the right wing with a minute left to put Loramie up 12-7, then Austin Siegel scored a basket in the paint with 17 seconds left to finish the run.
Jackson Center plays again next Friday at Houston.
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter.