PIQUA — Tyler Siegel was happy to be back on the court again on Saturday — but probably not has happy as he will be when he hits the floor at UD Arena this Friday.
Siegel, a senior forward, led Fort Loramie with 14 points and eight rebounds in a 47-24 win over Ansonia in a Division IV sectional final on Saturday at Piqua’s Garbry Gymnasium.
The win earns the Redskins their third consecutive sectional title, and they’ll play in their third consecutive district final next Friday as a result. Fort Loramie will face Middletown Christian at 9:30 p.m., which will be the third of three D-IV sectional finals.
“It never gets old,” Siegel said. “It’s a blast playing down there. It’s going to be a heck of a good time.”
Friday’s game was Siegel’s first since he landed on his back after a Russia player collided with him late in a Shelby County Athletic League game on Feb. 16. He had some contact with Ansonia players on Saturday and fell on the floor once, but hopped right back up.
“It feels good,” Siegel said. “I was a little iffy going in, but it’s good to know I’m back to normal. …It felt good to get playing again. Watching everybody have fun was okay, it’s good to see them succeed, but it’s more fun when you’re out there with them.”
Fort Loramie put the game away with a fantastic defensive effort in the second half. The Redskins led by four points at halftime but held the Tigers to five points in the second half.
Ansonia made 2-of-16 (12.5 percent) of shots in the second half, during which time Fort Loramie owned a 16-5 rebounding edge. The Tigers shot 7 for 19 (36.8 percent) in the first half, including 5 for 11 from 3-point range.
“We just executed extremely well there,” Fort Loramie coach Corey Britton said. “I thought in the first half we were pretty good. We fell apart on a couple of those screens. In the second half, we were dialed in. It was a team effort. It just wasn’t one guy. They’ve got shooters everywhere, and we were dialed in.
“… We needed to make sure we communicated a little better and chased everything. We were trying to go up over the top, and they were flipping their screens and getting some shots. We just needed to go in a little bit and go back to our game plan.”
Dillon Braun hit a basket with 3:34 left in the third to cap a 7-0 run to start the third quarter. The Tigers scored soon after a timeout, but the Redskins stretched their lead to 36-21 by the end of the quarter.
Fort Loramie used an 11-3 scoring advantage in the fourth to close out the win. Braun scored all eight of his points in the second half, while Siegel scored five and Austin Siegel scored four of his six.
Evan Berning finished with nine points, seven of which came in the first half. The Redskins shot 19 for 38 (50 percent) from the field and owned a 34-15 rebounding edge for the game. Fort Loramie scored 30 points in the paint, while Ansonia scored six.
The Redskins will now try for their second consecutive district title. They’ll face Middletown Christian (6-18), which finished seventh out of eight teams in the Metro Buckeye Conference. The Eagles beat Cincinnati College Prep 101-99 in overtime in a sectional final on Saturday to advance.
“We’ve got to go back to work and clean up some things offensively,” Britton said. “We turned the ball over and got impatient a few times, but the kids have been through all this before, so it makes it a lot easier. It’s not the first time.”
Berning made basket with 3:30 left in the first quarter to give the Redskins a 10-5 lead, but Ansonia closed the gap to 11-8 by the end of the first quarter.
Raterman opened the second quarter with a basket after a steal and Berning followed with a 3-pointer from the right wing to put the Redskins up 16-8. Ansonia scored the next five points, though, and later pulled within 20-19 on a 3-pointer by Trevor Alexander with 2:35 left.
Tyler Siegel made a pair of free throws with 1.7 seconds left in the second to boost Fort Loramie’s halftime lead to 23-19.
“The first half, I think we got a little excited,” Siegel said. “We weren’t thinking defensively and didn’t stick to what we were supposed to do. After that, we kind of settled down a little bit, took it all in and kind of stuck to the script and played good D.”
The game marked the second consecutive sectional game that the top-seeded Redskins had a closer-than-expected first half, as they led No. 13 Bradford by six points last Wednesday before running away to a 67-40 win.
Britton said he’s pleased with how the team responded in the second half both nights.
“I don’t know if our kids could have been through anything more than what they have,” Britton said. “Through 25 games with sickness, injuries, battling through adversity and close games this year and last year, our kids have been through it all. They just sort of put their heads down and go through it. It’s a great group to coach.”
Alexander led Ansonia (12-11-1) with nine points. The Tigers were the No. 6 seed in the sectional.
Contact Bryant Billing at (937) 538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.