Saturday, January 4th, 2014
By Gary R. Rasberry
Indians open MAC play with win over Cardinals
NEW BREMEN - A 13-0 run that started late in the third quarter and stretched into the fourth quarter padded Fort Recovery's lead and the Indians won their Midwest Athletic Conference opener on Friday night with a 64-51 triumph over New Bremen at Cardinal Gymnasium.
It was a back-and-forth affair in the early portion of the game as the Cardinals tried to take advantage of their size by feeding the ball into the post to Ben Homan (6-6) and Nolan Fox (6-5). Fox scored seven points in the first quarter and tallied 11 points in the first half to help give New Bremen (3-6, 1-2 MAC) a 25-24 advantage with 1:36 on the clock in the second quarter.
However, the Indians scored five points in a span of just over a minute to take the lead. Alex Kaiser hit a free throw and after a Ben Dilworth bucket, Kaiser added a basket of his own to send Fort Recover into halftime with a 29-26 lead.
The Cardinals threatened repeatedly to regain the lead early in the third quarter, but every time they got to within a field goal the Indians were able to counter.
New Bremen got a Brent Goettemoeller basket with just under three minutes to play in the third quarter to cut the Indians' lead to 41-37, but that would be the last Cardinals' score for the next 6:28 and the Indians went on a game-clinching run.
Elijah Kahlig and Dilworth hit free throws before Kaiser got a buzzer-beater to fall that pushed the Indians' lead to 47-37 entering the fourth quarter.
Kahlig and Derek Backs each started the final eight minutes of action with a basket to push the Indians in front 51-37 with 6:09 on the clock, forcing Cardinals' coach Adam Dougherty to call a timeout.
"We were able to spread them out. As big as they are, that was an advantage of ours on our end," said Fort Recovery head coach Brian Patch.
"We didn't do the things we need to do against pressure," said Dougherty. "We stopped attacking the pressure and moving against the pressure. That causes us to make turnovers and causes us to run poor offense. Then, we constantly get beat in the middle off the dribble."
After the timeout, Kahlig greeted the Cardinals with a three-pointer to extend the run to 13-0 before Carson Manger ended the Cardinals' scoring drought with a bucket.
From there, the Indians hit free throws - going 18-of-28 in the game - to keep the Cardinals from getting any closer.
"First off, I told coach Patch after the game that their kids just battled and compete as hard as anyone I've seen all year," said Dougherty. "Man, they just scrap, compete and go after it. ... Their level of toughness is way better than ours."
Kahlig led the Indians with 21 points. Kaiser drew praise from his coach after scoring 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting.
"I thought Alex played a great game tonight," said Patch. "He stepped up as a senior. First MAC game, on the road. That's what you want from your seniors. Pig (Kahlig) gave another great effort on his part."
Fox finished 7-of-13 from the field to lead New Bremen with 19 points while grabbing nine rebounds. Manger added 14 points while Homan, who battled foul trouble, finished with 10 points.
"Coming into the game, we knew we had to do a good job boxing out," said Patch. "We knew that was the number one thing for us in taking care of the glass. Not sure how the rebounds ended up (35-28 advantage for New Bremen). They're a little bit bigger and stronger, but I thought our kids played really tough, battled and gave everything we had. Proud of the effort."
Fort Recovery returns home to Fort Site Fieldhouse to take on Lincolnview tonight. New Bremen makes the trip to Mercer County to face the Celina Bulldogs at the Fieldhouse.
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