FORT LORAMIE — A backyard rivalry between two state-ranked boys basketball teams lived up to the billing and more on Saturday night as Fort Loramie remained undefeated, holding off Minster 52-51 in overtime in front of a near-capacity crowd.
The Redskins, the top-ranked team in this week’s Division IV state poll, improve their record to 14-0 while the Wildcats, ranked ninth, are now 8-3.
Neither team had more than a two-point edge for most of the first quarter until back-to-back 3-pointers from Mike Ketner and Jack Heitbrink gave Minster a 12-6 advantage. A Dillon Braun three-point play and jumper cut the Loramie deficit to one early in the second period, only to see the Wildcats again go up six at 20-14 following consecutive baskets by Jarod Schulze, the second coming at the 2:37 mark.
Back came the Redskins, though, as after a Nathan Raterman three in the right corner, Braun tallied the final five points of the quarter, including another three-point play with 50 seconds left, to give Loramie a 22-20 halftime lead.
After hitting just 3-of-11 shots in the opening period, the Redskins connected on 6-of-7 attempts in the second stanza to finish the half at 50 percent, while Minster finished at 32 percent. The Wildcats, however, had seven more shots thanks in part to a 7-1 advantage in offensive rebounds.
Schulze tied the game on Minster’s first possession of the third quarter, but a Nick Brandewie jumper and three foul shots gave Loramie a 27-22 lead. The Wildcats, though, answered with an Isaac Schmiesing 3 and a Cody Frericks layup and later went up 31-30 with 1:13 left in the period on another 3, this time from Ketner.
A Braun jumper tied the game at 33 heading into the fourth period before Minster went back in front on a Jared Huelsman 3. The Redskins regained the lead on a Braun layup and two Brandewie foul shots, only to see the Wildcats go up 46-44 on a Huelsman layup and Ketner hitting the first of two free throws with 41 seconds remaining.
Evan Berning tied the score with two foul shots at the 31.5-second mark and Loramie had a chance to win in regulation after Minster was called for an offensive foul with six seconds left, but the Wildcats came up with a turnover as time expired, sending the game into overtime for the second-straight year.
A Tyler Siegel putback gave the Redskins the lead for good at 50-48 at the 1:44 mark in overtime and two Braun free throws, the second with four seconds left, put Loramie up 52-49.
On the next Minster possession, the Redskins elected to foul rather than give the Wildcats a chance to tie the score with a three. Ketner made the first foul shots, but in an attempt to miss the second and potentially set up a putback try, the shot rattled around the rim and went in to cut the deficit to one.
Minster had one last chance after two missed free throws, but could not get off a shot before the horn sounded.
“It was quite a battle,” Fort Loramie coach Corey Britton said. “It was back and forth the entire way (11 ties, 10 lead changes) and we just happened to have the final run. It was two good basketball team going at each other.”
“It was a great game,” Minster coach Michael McClurg said. “We had some foul trouble in the fourth quarter and overtime and that disrupted our flow. We’ll learn from this and games like this will help us for the rest of the regular season and the tournament.”
Over the last 10 years, including overtime games in the last two, the Loramie-Minster contest has been decided by seven or less points seven times.
The Redskins shot 50 percent and were 18-of-25 at the foul line compared to 33 percent shooting and 11-of-16 at the line for the Wildcats, but Minster ended up with 19 more field goal attempts as they held a 32-24 rebounding advantage, 15-2 on the offensive end, and forced 11 turnovers while committing only seven. The Wildcats also led 12-2 in second-chance points and 12-6 in points off of turnovers.
Braun led all scorers with 23 points as he made 8-of-10 shots on the night and was 6-of-8 on free throws. Siegel added a double-double of 17 points and 14 rebounds for Loramie.
Schulze paced Minster with 15 points, 12 coming in the first half, and had seven rebounds while Jack Heitbrink had 10 points off the bench. Ketner added nine points and six assists.
Fort Loramie plays next on Tuesday at Anna. Minster hosts Botkins on Tuesday.