Saturday, December 16th, 2006
By Gary R. Rasberry
Indians clutch down the stretch
FORT RECOVERY - Another week, another clutch performance in the end for the Fort Recovery Indians.
After getting up by as many as nine points midway through the fourth quarter, the Indians suffered through a bout of turnovers as Coldwater got to within one with 48 seconds left.
The Indians rebounded and hit six straight free throws down the stretch to beat the Cavaliers, 54-47, at Fort Site Fieldhouse to improve to 2-0 in Midwest Athletic Conference play. Coldwater suffers its first loss of the season to go to 2-1 overall and 0-1 in the MAC.
Free throws, and turnovers, were contributing factors in the game result. Fort Recovery was 15-of-18 from the charity stripe in the game - 7-of-8 in the fourth quarter - while Coldwater was 7-of-17 in the game.
"We've been shooting them better," said Coldwater coach Mike Kanney. "We knew coming over here it might be a little tougher, but one thing our kids didn't do was give up. They kept battling and got it to one point. We had a chance. It was a great ballgame."
The Cavaliers' misses at the charity stripe stung a little worse in the fourth quarter. With 1:22 to go, Tony Harlamert missed the second of a pair. Ryan Geier got the rebound and was fouled as his shot went through the net, cutting the score to 48-44. Geier missed his shot as Fort Recovery rebounded. The miss proved costly as Geier sank a three-pointer from the top of the arc with 48 seconds left to cut the lead to 48-47.
Coldwater picked up the pressure as Fort Recovery looked to hold the ball to force the Cavaliers to foul. Sixteen seconds ran off before Clint Tobe was fouled and sent to the line for the one-and-bonus. Tobe calmly sank both free throws to put the lead back up to three.
The Cavaliers eschewed the three and Geier drove to the basket and was fouled with 17 seconds left. Geier missed both free throws, with the Indians' Tony Diller rebounding and promptly fouled. Diller drilled both freebies to make it a five-point game. Seth Kahle tried a three-pointer and missed, allowing Aaron Kahlig to grab the board and get fouled. Kahle kept up the pace at the line for the Indians, swishing both tosses to end the game.
Both teams put plenty of pressure on each other. The first half, Coldwater's pressure caused 12 Indian turnovers, which kept the Indians from breaking through and allowed Coldwater to take a 23-21 halftime lead.
"Coldwater did a good job and made us uncomfortable somewhat," said Fort Recovery coach Brian Patch. "I thought in the first half it was uncharacteristic of our team. ... I don't know if we had a game with 12 turnovers and we had 12 in the first half."
In the second half, Fort Recovery cut down on its turnovers, committing just three for a total of 15 in the game and forced some early turnovers on Coldwater to make a run. The Cavaliers had 17 turnovers in the game.
"We regrouped a little bit, got them calmed down," said Patch. "We weren't making good passes, catching the ball and doing the things we normally do. They regrouped themselves in the locker room. We talked it out a little bit."
"Up until now, we did a pretty good job taking care of the basketball," said Kanney. "That's something we'll have to look at."
Tobe got hot at the perfect time, scoring 10 of his 18 points in the third quarter and, in a stretch spanning the third and fourth quarters, made five straight field goals.
"We were upset with him in the first half because he wasn't very assertive," said Patch of Tobe. "He had to be assertive for us. At the same time, our guys have to get him open and get him the ball. It was a combination of him and us. We made a few adjustments for him at a couple of spots. He came out and hit some shots and did things he was capable of doing."
"Give Fort Recovery credit. They did some nice things," said Kanney. "Tobe did a great job attacking the basket with the support of the other guys. They were able to make big shots and big free throws."
Tobe got plenty of help from his teammates in the scoring department as Aaron Kahlig added 12 points with Toby Metzger scoring 11.
Cory Klenke paced Coldwater with 18 points while Kahle added 10 with Geier scoring nine.
Coldwater is back in action tonight traveling north to face Al Welch's Wayne Trace squad while Fort Recovery is off the rest of the weekend, returning next Saturday to host Arcanum.
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