PIQUA — Fort Loramie senior forward Austin Siegel wasn’t asked to shoot much in regular season. But with Tyler Siegel on the bench the last two games, Austin Siegel has helped lead the Redskins’ scoring in the paint. His offense was needed on Wednesday in a Division IV sectional semifinal against Bradford.
Siegel scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half to help the Redskins run away from Bradford to a 67-40 win at Piqua’s Garbry Gymnasium.
The win puts No. 1 seed Fort Loramie (22-2) in a sectional final against Ansonia on Saturday. Ansonia beat Botkins 59-57 in the second semifinal on Wednesday at Piqua.
Bradford (1-22) pulled within four points early in the third quarter, but Austin Siegel scored three consecutive baskets to put the Redskins up by 10.
Siegel, a senior forward, averaged 4.5 points per game in regular season but has scored 18 and 16 points in Fort Loramie’s first two tournament games.
He’s been an asset in the paint for the team in the absence of Tyler, who was injured in the team’s regular-season finale on Feb. 16. Tyler Siegel dressed but did not play on Tuesday.
“Somebody’s got to step up, and I’m the next guy in line,” Austin Siegel said. “Whenever they ask for it, I try to step up and do my best. …It’s a big difference not playing with Tyler. He’s a big part of our team, a big energy booster.”
Fort Loramie led by six points at halftime and gradually pulled away in the second half. Bradford scored the first basket of the third to pull within 31-27, but Siegel scored the next six points to push Fort Loramie’s lead to 10.
Dillon Braun then made consecutive baskets and added a free throw after a foul to increase the lead to 43-32 with two minutes left in the third.
The Redskins closed out the win with an 18-6 scoring advantage in the fourth. Bradford finished with 15 points in the second half after scoring 14 in the first quarter alone.
“I just don’t think I had us ready to go and mentally prepared,” Fort Loramie coach Corey Britton said. “We just weren’t there. Our mindset wasn’t really good, and Bradford played pretty well. We have to be mentally prepared and prepared in general.
“… We played really well in the second half, and at this stage of the game, it doesn’t matter, we’ve just got to get the W.”
Braun, a senior guard, led Fort Loramie with 29 points and had three steals. Britton credited Braun and Siegel for helping to get the team going on offense.
“They’ve been through the grind,” Britton said. “Dillon shot well and Austin was there to settle us down when we needed settled down. Those kids always have big roles — our seniors are a big part of us. We’ve just got to keep trucking and get ready to go Saturday night.”
Andy Branson scored the first 12 points of the game for Braford to help the team keep pace with Fort Loramie, then Jake Barga hit a basket with 2:15 left in the first quarter to tie the squads 14-14.
Siegel hit a basket before the end of the first to put Fort Loramie ahead by two. Braun hit a 3-pointer for the Redskins to cap off an 8-0 run to start the second, but Bradford responded with a 9-2 run to pull within 26-23. Fort Loramie finished the second on a 5-2 run to take a 31-25 halftime lead.
The Redskins had 15 turnovers, only five of which came in the last 12 minutes of the game.
“We had to quit turning the ball over so much,” Siegel said. “That was the main thing. We weren’t playing very hard at the beginning. In the second half, once we started to move the ball more, it worked out better.”
Fort Loramie shot 26 for 45 (57.8 percent) from the field and outrebounded the No. 13 seed Railroaders 23-19. Bradford shot 11 for 16 (68.8 percent) from the field in the first half but shot 6 for 20 (30 percent) in the second half.
Braun scored 19 points in the first half, while Branson scored 17.
Branson led Bradford 24 points while Josh Phillips scored 10. Both had six rebounds.
Saturday’s sectional final will tip off at 7 p.m.
“We need to come out with the right mindset and play harder,” Siegel said. “We didn’t practice very well (on Tuesday), so a good practice the next few days will be good. Come out and run and do what we do.”
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.