Wednesday, December 18th, 2013
By Ryan Hines
Defensive spark leads Indians to blowout win
  FORT RECOVERY - Despite a 15-point lead at halftime, Fort Recovery boys basketball coach Brian Patch felt that his Indians needed a spark.
Patch found the spark he was looking for in Darien Sheffer and Brandon Schoen during the third quarter, and Fort Recovery rolled to an 87-48 victory over Waynesfield-Goshen on Tuesday night at Fort Site Fieldhouse.
The Indians were ahead 40-25 after an uninspiring effort in the first two quarters of play and Patch voiced his concern with his team during halftime.
"I probably shouldn't tell you everything that I told the guys at halftime," said Patch. "I didn't think that we were focused and ready to start the game. We hadn't played for a week and a half and we just weren't ready to play."
Patch decided to start Sheffer and Schoen in the second half and it paid immediate dividends. Sheffer and Schoen spearheaded an intense fullcourt defensive effort in the third quarter and the Indians outscored the Tigers 29-7.
The Indians' trapping pressure forced 13 turnovers in the third quarter alone - 28 for the game - and led to numerous easy layups for the home team. Fort Recovery had 19 steals in the game, including six by Sheffer.
"We started a couple of different guys in the second half and we came out with more intensity in the second half. The effort picked up collectively," said Patch. "I was happy with our bench guys, particularly Darien and Brandon. They gave us a great spark off the bench with their effort. They are our energy guys and provided a great spark for us. That's why they started the second half. I thought we needed a sparkplug and an energy boost. Those two guys provided that, especially on the defensive end of the floor."
Alex Kaiser benefited from the increased defensive pressure in the second half and scored the first eight points of the third quarter on layups to ignite an 11-0 run that pushed the Indians to a 51-25 lead.
Following a Waynesfield-Goshen timeout, Fort Recovery then scored 15 of the next 16 points and the Indians' lead ballooned to 66-29.
"Any time any team puts pressure on us, that has been a problem for us all year. We almost had 30 turnovers and when you turn it over that many times, you aren't going to beat anybody," said Waynesfield-Goshen head coach Ryan Taylor. "I was expecting them to turn up the defensive pressure in the second half and that's what they did. They put the game away with their defense."
Fort Recovery then opened the fourth quarter with a 17-9 run to lead by as many as 45 points before the Indians cleared the bench in the final three minutes of play.
Waynesfield-Goshen hung with Fort Recovery in the early stages of the first quarter and were leading 8-7 at the 4:35 mark. However, Elijah Kahlig and Sheffer combined to score 14 points to close the opening quarter and the Indians were in control 21-10 after the first eight minutes of action.
The 15-point halftime lead wasn't enough to satisfy Patch, after watching the Indians struggle defensively and at the free-throw line. The Indians were just 10-of-22 at the charity stripe in the first half and finished 15-of-33.
"We made a lot of mistakes in the first half and the guys all realized that. We played harder and executed better on both ends of the floor during the second half," said Patch. "Actually, we were hoping they would stop fouling us. We had a double-digit lead at halftime and if we would have stepped up and shot 70-80 percent on our free throws, it could have been a 25-point lead or more."
Kahlig led all scorers with 29 points and moved into the 11th position for career scoring at Fort Recovery with 1,036 points. Kaiser added 16 points and Sheffer contributed 12.
Jerron Hennon led the Tigers with 17 points.
Fort Recovery is back in action again on Friday at Franklin-Monroe.
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