Saturday, December 27th, 2008
It's an all-MAC final tonight in Coldwater
By Gary R. Rasberry
Coldwater's Zach Siefring, 40, leans in for a shot against Fort Loramie during a. . .
COLDWATER - It will be two Mercer County teams competing for the second straight year for the championship of the second annual Mercer Health Holiday Basketball Classic after Coldwater and Fort Recovery came away from Friday's semifinals at The Palace with very convincing wins.
The host Cavaliers used a 16-0 first-quarter run on Fort Loramie to dominate play and head to the finals with a 65-40 nightcap win over the Redskins.
Coldwater will face Fort Recovery in the title game for the second time in the two-year tournament after the Indians had little trouble in dispatching Waynesfield-Goshen 53-24 in Friday's opening game.
The championship rematch from last year, a 51-48 win for the Indians, will take place at approximately 7:45 p.m. tonight at The Palace. The consolation game gets underway at 6 p.m. between Fort Loramie and Waynesfield.
Coldwater 65, Fort Loramie 40
The contest had the makings of a shootout between the Redskins and Cavaliers after Justin Hoying got a layup off a steal just 13 seconds in the game to give Loramie a 2-0 lead.
That, however, would be the end of any Redskin rally as the Cavaliers quickly put the game in their pockets.
Using strong pressure defense, both with a full-court press and half-court pressure, the Cavaliers began to take control. Keith Wenning scored the first six points for the Cavaliers to make it 6-2. Joe Thomas added a bucket to make it 8-2 and Zach Siefring, playing his first game after missing the opening three games recovering from a football injury, came off the bench to nail a three-pointer to make it 11-2 with 3:17 left in the quarter.
Another Thomas bucket, followed by an old-school three-point play by Tim Brunet, made it 16-2. Fort Loramie finally ended a six-minute cold spell when Hoying hit a pair of free throws with 1:45 left in the quarter to make it 16-4. Siefring capped off his first quarter of the season with another trey to give the Cavaliers a 21-4 lead after eight minutes.
The Coldwater pressure forced nine turnovers in the first half, resulting in 12 of the Cavaliers opening stanza points.
"We talked about coming out, moving our feet and establishing ourselves. I thought our kids did that," said Coldwater coach Mike Kanney. "On both ends, really. Offensively, too, I thought we did a good job of hitting the opening and knocking down some shots. Defense really helped us get it going."
Fort Loramie got its scoring a little more on track as 6-5 post player Mark Frilling, who picked up two quick fouls and sat out most of the first quarter, began to get some inside points, but Siefring continued to have the hot hand and Cavs 6-7 center Eric Lefeld started finding his range. Coldwater did not commit a turnover in the second quarter and went to the halftime break with a 40-17 lead.
Fort Loramie tried to get back into the game, cutting the deficit to as low as 16 points in the third quarter, but the Cavaliers calmly built the lead up again, going up as much as 26 points late in the game as Kanney cleared the bench for most of the final quarter.
The Cavaliers were 25-of-44 from the field (56.8 percent) and got big games from all around.
Wenning led the way for the Cavaliers with 15 points. Siefring and Thomas added 14 each, combining to go 11-of-20 from the field. Lefeld added 13.
"Our seniors (Siefring, Thomas and Tony Harlamert) really stepped it up," said Kanney. "It was nice to get Zach back. He just gives us another dimension. I thought our kids rebounded well for the most part. We had a couple of times where we had 2-3 shots at a basket. That makes a big difference with the kids."
Frilling, who entered the game averaging 13 points per game, hit his average with 13 points for Fort Loramie while Albers added 12 points.
Fort Recovery 53, Waynesfield-Goshen 24
The Indians also jumped out to a quick lead in their game, leading 10-2 midway through the opening quarter. Waynesfield would get no closer than six points for the remainder of the game as Fort Recovery forced 26 Tiger turnovers. Fort Recovery's defense also held Waynesfield to just 22 percent (9-of-41) field-goal shooting, including a staggering 3-of-21 in the second half when the Indians outscored the Tigers 21-9 to close out the game.
"Defensively, I thought we did all right," said Indians coach Brian Patch. "The one thing I was disappointed with was our rebounds (Waynesfield outboarded the Indians 30-26, including 15-11 on the offensive boards). Part of that was they shot 22 percent and they're obviously are going to have more shots coming off. We have to do a better job finding guys to box out and locate guys when the shots go up.
"I thought our pressure was pretty good. (We) got the transition and ran. We shot good shots."
Fort Recovery worked the ball around, allowing eight of the 11 players that got into the game to score points. Greg Kahlig scored 19 points - the first game this season the junior has scored less than 20 points - in just three quarters of action. Craig Tobe came off the bench to add 11 points.
"I thought our offense looked pretty good," said Patch. "Guys were driving (the Indians attempted just four three-pointers, missing all four), to set up their teammates instead of driving to take wild shots (the Indians dished out 15 assists). From that standpoint, I was happy with our offense and how we were unselfish."
Taylor Miller led the Tigers (1-4) with 11 points.