Red was definitely the color of
choice as the 4th ranked Loudonville Redbirds (23-2), faced off against the 15th
ranked St. Henry Redskins (20-5) in the 1st semi-final game at the Jerome
Schottenstein Center in Columbus.
In the opening minutes of the 1st quarter, St. Henry jumped out to a 9 point lead on the strength of 6'9 center Kurt Huelsman's 7 point explosion. By the end of the 1st quarter, St. Henry led by a score of 15-2. When asked abut his team's slow start, Loudonville Coach Mark Schlaback stopped short of blaming nerves, citing instead, St. Henry's clear height advantage.
HUELSMEN FROM THE LINE
In the 2nd quarter, Loudonville drew 1st blood with a 3 pointer by 5'11 guard Trevor Scott. However, Huelsmen countered with his second 3 pointer of the half. St. Henry went in to the locker room with a 28-15 lead. For the half, Huelsman paced the Redskins with 10 points and 2 blocked shots.
At the opening of the 2nd half, Loudonville got on the board first with 2 field goals by Zack Young. Hoping he still had the touch from the perimeter, Huelsman took the first 3 field goal attempts of the 2nd half and missed all three. Since he had cooled off from outside, Huelsman went to work on inside, and at the end of the 3rd quarter, St. Henry lead by a score of 38-28.
THE CROWD CHEERS ON THEIR TEAM
Although St. Henry led the entire contest,
missed free throws late in the game and increased defensive pressure by the
Redbirds kept Loudonville in the game. Late in the 4th quarter, Loudonville cut
the lead to 4 points with 2 seconds remaining. With time running out,
Loudonville had chance to tie the game with a desperation 3 pointer which missed
Despite Loudonville's late-game run, St. Henry held on to win by a final score of 44-41. Kurt Huelsman lead all scorers with 17 points. For Loudonville, Scott Trevor was the leading scorer with 15 points.
ST HENRY HUDDLES FOR THE STRECH RUN
In the second semi-final game of the day, state tournament neophytes, No. 9 ranked Bellaire Big Reds (22-4) and second-ranked Versailles Tigers (26-3) squared off. With the Tiger's star player sidelined with an injury, Bellaire entered the semi-final game with Division III First Team All-Ohio, Nate Davis and big man, 6'10 Aaron Agnew.
DAVIS TAKES A SHOT FROM THE LINE
The opening tip went to Bellaire, quickly followed by a 3 pointer from Davis. Bellaire ended the 1st quarter with a 22-11 lead. Despite his size, Agnew's inactivity defensively led to several Tiger drives to the basket and scores. Offensively, when Bellaire got it down low to the big man, there was little the Tigers could do to stop Agnew. Bellaire ended the half with a 41-31 lead. Davis & Agnew finished the half with 13 and 8 points, respectively.
AGNEW TO THE HOLE
In the beginning of the second half, Bellaire increased their lead to 12 points when Davis drove to the bucket and finished for 2 points. At one point in the second half, Bellaire was up by 14 points. Instead of giving up, the Tigers mounted a furious run and took their first lead of the game with about 7.25 left in the forth quarter. After a see-saw battle that lead to several ties and lead changes, the Tigers had two shoots to win the game at the buzzer but could not knock down the shots. At the beginning of the first overtime, the Tigers struck first with a field goal by Paul Borchers. However, Davis hit a 3 pointer to take 1 point lead with 2:10 left in overtime.
AGNEW GOES STRONG FOR THE FINISH
After Davis was fouled on a drive to the bucket, he missed the first of two free throws which left Bellaire up 3 points with 15 seconds remaining. Following the missed free throws, the Tigers' Kyle Gehle hit a 3 pointer with 1.5 seconds left to send game into a 2nd overtime.
After Davis missed two 3 pointers to open the 2nd overtime, Bellaire scored 1st on a put-back by Mike Fisher. Two missed free throws by Agnew kept the lead to 2 points. Gehle tied the score at 63-63 with about 1:15 left in the game. Agnew hit the first of two free throws to take a 1 point lead. After Agnew's missed free throw, Ben Shappie hit a monster 3 pointer to put the Tigers up for good. The final score was 64-68. What a great game!