By TED RADICK
Teams have to pick their poison when defending Carey’s offense.
Extend the defense to far, and the Blue Devils will find a hole and penetrate or make the right pass inside. Sag inside, and Carey will fire away from 3-point range.
Hopewell-Loudon couldn’t find the answers it needed Friday as Carey defeated the Chieftains 71-54 in a Division III sectional final at Findlay High School.
The Blue Devils (18-4) advance to Thursday’s district semifinal at Ohio Northern, where they will play Lima Central Catholic (19-4) at 6:15 p.m.
In Friday’s opener, Liberty-Benton jumped to an 18-0 lead after one quarter, led 42-1 late in the second quarter and trounced Lakota 89-27 to win a sectional title. The Eagles (18-4) will play St. Henry (17-7) at 8 p.m. Thursday at Ohio Northern in another district semifinal.
Carey also jumped out of the gate in the nightcap as Matt Holsinger’s 3-pointer gave the Blue Devils an early 9-2 lead. A short jumper by Zach Boes and a tap-in at the first-quarter buzzer by Jared Wentling made it 15-4 and it looked like Carey would romp.
Not so fast. Back came Hopewell-Loudon.
Ryan Lommerse hit a layup to stop the bleeding, and Weston Hill hit a pair of free throws to bring the Chieftains back within a two-possession game at 25-19 midway through the second quarter.
“I thought we started fast, which is something we always try to do,” Carey coach C.J. Kin said. “I thought there in the middle of the second quarter, we just kind of played them even. I thought we got out of our rhythm.”
Adjustments were necessary, Kin said.
“We talked at halftime about putting more pressure on and getting out in transition more,” Kin said. “I thought once we started doing those things, we were able to open up that lead.”
Carey forced seven turnovers in the third quarter, outscored Hopewell-Loudon 22-12 in the third and led 54-33 going into the fourth. Laine Wentling and Boes hit 3-pointers in the halfcourt set, and several steals led to easy layups to highlight Carey’s multi-dimensional attack.
“A big stat for us is how many deflections and how many runouts we get,” Kin said. “The second half, the pressure allowed us to get more layups and more baskets in transition. When we can do that, that’s when we can score a lot of points.”
Lommerse did what he could to keep the Chieftains close. The junior guard scored a game-high 29 points and led Hopewell-Loudon with six rebounds.
“Lommerse is a beast,” Kin said. “He’s so hard to guard. He’s big and strong and can get to the basket on you, and he can step outside. I thought we made him work for everything he had, and he hit some tough shots.”
Until Garret Sendelbach hit a couple of late 3-pointers, though, Lommerse was all Hopewell-Loudon had on the offensive end.
“Give Ryan a lot of credit to get 29 against a team that, I’m sure, was trying to make him their No. 1 focus,” Hopewell-Loudon coach Adam Smith said.
Smith pointed to turnovers — 12 in the first half, 19 through three quarters — for Hopewell-Loudon’s downfall.
“We came out early and were rattled, you could tell,” he said. “We preached, no live-ball turnovers. Five-second calls, 10-second calls, we can live with that and let’s go back and play defense. It’s just easier said than done.
“We panicked and threw a lot of live-ball turnovers on a one-count or a two-count. Then, they were off to the races.”
Sendelbach finished with 12 points for Hopewell-Loudon. Boes score a team-best 20 for Carey, with Jared Wentling adding 16 points and Bryan Powers 11. Boes grabbed eight rebounds.
In the opening game, the rout was on as soon as the ball tipped off as Liberty-Benton forced Lakota (8-15) into eight first-quarter turnovers. The Eagles stretched their lead to 25-0 before the Raiders finally scored with 5:43 left in the first half.
L-B led 46-10 at the half behind a defense that forced 18 turnovers.
“We did some nice things at the defensive end that I thought complimented our offense,” Liberty-Benton coach Steve Williman said. “We got some transition because of the things we made happen on the defensive end.
“I don’t think our execution in the half-court game was stellar by any means, but we ran the floor well and made good decisions off of transition.”
John Darnall led a trio of L-B scorers in double figures with 23 points. Zach Garver added 11 points and Adam Cytlak 10; Brandon May had nine rebounds as the Eagles had a 36-21 edge on the boards.
Liberty-Benton had 17 offensive rebounds.
“We’ve had a point of emphasis on rebounding and how important it is going to be for us,” Williman said. “Not just in tonight’s game but in every game in the future, and I thought our kids responded.
“We attacked the offensive glass and got some second and third looks. Sometimes we finished them and sometimes we pitched it outside to a shooter, so I was pleased with our offensive rebounding.”
Dakota Bowling led Lakota with nine points. Kyle Below had seven rebounds.
Bowling 3-1–9, Timmons 2-0–5, Kirkpatrick 0-1–1, Chalfin 0-2–2, Below 2-0–4, Monroe 1-4–6, Crowe 0-0–0, King 0-0–0, Riddle 0-0–0. TOTALS: 8-31 8-11–27.
Cytlak 5-0–10, Darnall 7-7–23, Geise 3-3–9, Garver 3-4–11, Craft 3-1–7, Lawson 2-0–4, May 3-0–6, Haan 2-0–4, Steinman 2-0–4, Rhodes 2-0″”5, Archer 2-0″”6. TOTALS: 34-69 15-21–89.
Lakota 0 10 11 6 — 27
Liberty-Benton 18 28 24 19 — 89
3-Point GOALS: Lakota 3-15 (Bowling 2, Timmons); Liberty-Benton 6-20 (Darnall 2, Archer 2, Garver, Rhodes).
rebounds: Lakota 21 (Below 7); Liberty-Benton 36 (May 9).
turnovers: Lakota 32, Liberty-Benton 4.
Sadler 3-0–7, Sendelbach 4-1–12, Bodart 1-1–3, Lommerse 10-6–29, Hill 0-3–3, Sebetto 0-0–0, Reinbolt 0-0–0, Gorrell 0-0–0, Feathers 0-0–0, Depinet 0-0–0, Steinmetz 0-0–0. TOTALS: 18-36 11-22–54.
Holsinger 3-0–8, Boes 8-2–20, Powers 5-0–11, Roszman 1-0–2, L. Wentling 2-0–6, J. Wentling 6-4–16, Distel 2-0–4, Rymer 1-0–2, Griffin 1-0–2. TOTALS: 29-55 6-8–71.
Hopewell-Loudon 4 17 12 21 — 54
Carey 15 17 22 17 — 71
3-Point GOALS: Hopewell-Loudon 7-16 (Sendelbach 3, Lommerse 3, Sadler); Carey 7-20 (L. Wentling 2, Boes 2, Holsinger 2, Powers).
rebounds: Hopewell-Loudon 26 (Lommerse 6); Carey 22 (Boes 8).
turnovers: Hopewell-Loudon 23, Carey 11.
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