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Saturday, December 29th, 2007

It will be an all-MAC final for tourney championship

By Gary R. Rasberry

Coldwater's Ryan Geier, 24, challenges a Waynesfield defender in the paint durin. . .

COLDWATER - Appropriately, it will be two Mercer County teams playing for the championship of the inaugural Mercer Health Holiday Classic.
Fort Recovery used hot shooting and solid defense to dispatch Fort Loramie, 54-39, in the opening game of the tournament. The host Coldwater Cavaliers had no trouble moving on, pummeling Waynesfield-Goshen 66-29 in the nightcap Friday night at The Palace.
The 7-1 Indians and 3-1 Cavaliers will meet in the championship game tonight, starting approximately 7:45 p.m. at The Palace. The consolation game between the Redskins and Tigers will take place at 6 p.m.
Fort Recovery 54, Fort Loramie 39
If it looked like Fort Recovery couldn't miss in the second half, it was because misses were few and far between.
The Indians racked up a stellar 60.9 shooting percentage from the field in the second half, coming back from trailing 23-21 to the Redskins at the break to pulling away in the fourth quarter.
Much of the Indians' hot shooting came through thanks to solid defense that kept Loramie from getting into any offensive flow. The Redskins committed 13 of their 18 turnovers in the second half, including seven in the third quarter where the Indians obtained a 38-33 lead.
"We were mixing up some defenses a little bit, trying to get them off-guard and uncomfortable," said Indians coach Brian Patch. "Actually, it probably made our guys more uncomfortable with their (Loramie's) cut-through and our guys weren't sure how to handle some of those things. One of our coaches on the bench made the call to switch to man. We did that and decided to go smaller, put five guards out there that maybe we thought we could play a little better defense."
Things got worse for Loramie in the fourth quarter, where six turnovers and cold shooting made the difference. Fort Recovery ended the game by outscoring Fort Loramie 16-6.
Indians sophomore Greg Kahlig came up big in the clutch, scoring a game-high 22 points on 10-of-16 shooting. Senior Clint Tobe added a solid 13 points.
"Lot of those (shots) are Greg Kahlig. He got hot," said Patch. "To our guys' credit, they kept on feeding him the ball and he kept on going at it.
"I was really happy with our effort tonight, how we executed for the most part."
Kyle Turner nailed four three-pointers to lead the Redskins (6-3) with 12 points while Mitch Westerheide and Kyle Gasson added six points each.
Coldwater 66, Waynesfield-Goshen 29
The first quarter told the tale of the game: Tiger turnover begat Cavalier points.
Waynesfield turned the ball on its first four possessions and had eight turnovers in the first quarter, allowing Coldwater to jump out to a 14-4 lead.
"Our focus was to come out and guard them well, try to get some turnovers (and) create some offense with our defense," said Cavaliers coach Mike Kanney. "I thought our kids did that. (Waynesfield) played a 2-3 zone and we were able to knock down some shots. I thought our defense stayed pretty consistent the whole game."
In the first quarter, it was the strength on the boards that paced the Cavaliers. Six-seven sophomore Eric Lefeld had three offensive caroms that resulted in six points in the opening stanza to pace the Cavaliers. Of Coldwater's 43 rebounds during the game, 17 were on the offensive glass.
"We didn't give them too many second chances," said Kanney. "That was important. It was good. The guys did a great job on the glass."
From the second quarter on, Coldwater was able to light the scoreboard from all over the court. Kurt Riethman nailed a trio of three-pointers in the second quarter as Coldwater took a 34-16 halftime lead.
In the second half, Coldwater cranked up the momentum and seven of the 12 players that made it into the game scored at least three points.
Ryan Geier led the Cavaliers with 15 points while Lefeld added 12 points and nine rebounds. Keith Wenning came off the bench to score 12 points and pulled down 11 boards with Riethman finishing with 13 points.
"We like to see more guys score," said Kanney. "It makes us a little tougher to guard."
Riley Huffer and Taylor Miller led the Tigers (4-5) with seven points each.
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