By ROBB HEMMELGARN
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
“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
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.