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01-11-04: Redskins win streak snapped

Standard Correspondent

ST. HENRY — As Fort Loramie senior Mitchell Goldschmidt made his way to the Redskin bench with his second foul a minute into Saturday night’s game at St. Henry, his departure was met with a chorus of boos from the visiting stands and a sigh of relief from the St. Henry faithful.
Goldschmidt’s premature absence turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Fort Loramie. He returned to the floor in the third quarter and immediately dumped in four long balls and logged 14 points in the eight-minute stanza, helping his team to the 57-52 win over St. Henry.
“This is a very big win for us tonight,” explained Fort Loramie head coach Jason Shatto. “It was exactly the kind of game that I thought it would be. It was a solid game from beginning to end with two good teams and a great atmosphere. Games like this make you a better team and are exactly why both schools like this contest so much.”
The opening quarter began with both teams trading baskets before Fort Loramie (8-1), went on a five-point run to take the 7-4 lead. St. Henry regained its lead a few possessions later when junior Nathan Stahl drilled his second consecutive three-pointer to put his team in front, 10-9.
Junior Ross Niekamp added to the excitement the next time down the court, draining his first of four three-point baskets on the evening. Trailing 13-9, Fort Loramie picked up the quarter’s final two buckets and the two teams sat down with the contest knotted at 13 points.
Things got interesting in the second quarter as St. Henry big men, Steve Sutter and Kurt Huelsman, both spent the majority of the quarter on the bench in foul trouble.
With Fort Loramie senior Jordan Pleiman already in double digits for the visitors, St. Henry coach Joe Niekamp went deep into his bench, inserting junior Alan Hartke into the contest to help keep Fort Loramie’s biggest scoring threat in check.
With just over four minutes to play in the half, the visitors held their biggest lead of the night, 24-16, but St. Henry was quick to close the gap and would eventually take the lead.
The home team closed the half with a pair of free throws from Stahl, a jump-er by Jeremy Schwieterman, and another three-pointer from Nie-kamp with four seconds to play, taking the 30-27 lead into the locker room with them at the half.
“I thought that second half of the second quarter, we really seemed to put things together,” explained a disappointed Nie-kamp. “We were able to make our shots fall and we were in good position. Too many times before and after that stint, we rushed the offense and only had possession for a short time only to go to the other end of the floor and play defense twice as long.”
St. Henry opened the second half with another monster three-pointer from Stahl to take charge 33-27, but Goldschmidt immediately answered with his first long ball of the night, pulling his team to within three points.
Niekamp’s Redskins didn’t have an answer defensively for the 6-2 guard, as he drained three more long balls and a driving jumper in the quarter to put his team on top 48-42.
An ankle injury and a tighter St. Henry defense slowed Goldschmidt in the final stanza as he was limited to just a pair of free throws.
“Mitchell getting those early fouls, hurt us at the time, but I feel him coming back fresh in the third quarter helped out a lot,” said Shatto. “One thing I feel is just as important is the way our players and bench responded to him not being in there. Being down only three at halftime, I felt good about our chances the rest of the way.”
At the onset of the fourth quarter, another three-point bomb by Niekamp was sandwiched in between a pair of inside buckets by Pleiman, pushing the visitors back in command, 52-45.
A short time later, Pleiman picked up his fourth foul and was forced to sit, giving St. Henry the opportunity to take advantage once again.
The home team did just that as Kurt Huelsman threw down a slam dunk for his second of just three shot attempts on the evening.
With 4:10 to play, senior Steve Sutter’s driving bank shot cut the Fort Loramie lead to three points at 52-49. The visitors picked up a pair of free throws over the next three minutes to extend their advantage to five points, but Ross Niekamp’s fourth long ball of the game (St. Henry’s 34th of 35 three-point attempts) cut St. Henry’s deficit to one shot at 54-52.
Fort Loramie closed the game at the free throw line, hitting three charity tosses to secure its 57-52 victory.
“It was a rough weekend for us overall,” commented Niekamp. “We battled Fort Recovery to overtime last night and tonight Fort Loramie really took it to us. It’s time to regroup and get back at it next week.”
St. Henry, who’s record slips to 7-3, will return to action on Friday against the Coldwater Cavaliers and will play host on Saturday to the Tri-Village Patriots. The junior varsity contest was won by St. Henry by a final of 52-38.


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