By ANDY WOLF
NEW RIEGEL — Seemingly out of nowhere, New Riegel appeared to gain all the momentum it needed to make a comeback against Old Fort.
The Blue Jackets whittled a 19-point deficit down to five points midway through the fourth quarter. But even with Old Fort point guard Jacob Webb on the bench with foul trouble, the Stockaders withstood the challenge and held on for a 57-45 Sandusky Bay Conference River Division boys basketball victory Friday night.
“It was a bad turn of events for us there in the fourth quarter,” Old Fort coach Eric Hoover said with a laugh. “(New Riegel) knew that their backs were against the wall, and they picked up intensity defensively. We had a couple offensive fouls and a couple turnovers in addition to that. They did a good job of turning those into scores and grabbing the momentum.”
Old Fort improved to 3-1 overall, 1-0 in the SBC River Division. New Riegel dropped to 3-1, 1-1.
Jacob Webb, a first-team all-SBC selection last year, led the Stockaders with 16 points and four steals.
He did all of his scoring damage in the first three quarters in helping Old Fort build a peak lead of 45-26 with 2:36 left in the third quarter.
Then New Riegel made its move.
Ben Dryfuse, New Riegel’s 6-foot-5 senior forward, lit up the crowd with a buzzer-beating jumper to end the frame on a mini 6-0 run.
“Our effort in the first half was subpar,” New Riegel coach David Losey said. “The effort to get back into it was nice. Guys were flying around, just trying to make plays. It was nice to see some competitive spirit and some fight in them.”
The Blue Jackets still trailed 45-32 but there was a sign of life.
The energy continued into the fourth quarter as New Riegel scored the first eight points, thanks in large part to senior Dylan Smith.
Smith swiped three steals and collected two offensive rebounds in the first three minutes, assisted Bryce Hohman on the first field goal of the quarter and followed with a bucket of his own and two free throws.
In between that spurt, Dryfuse drew the charge that saddled Webb with his fourth foul.
Senior Luke Wagner handled the point duties for the Stockaders as Webb sat the bench for nearly four minutes.
“We’ve got a young, inexperienced group, especially,” Hoover said. “They have to learn how to handle those situations. It wasn’t great but it was good enough.
“Luke came back in and handled the ball well and kind of calmed everybody down with his composure. We’ve got to give him a lot of credit for stepping up and handling that situation.”
New Riegel closed to within 45-40 after Dryfuse scored again with 5:20 remaining.
With Webb still on the bench, Wagner found Mason Salas under the basket on consecutive possessions — the first to stop the bleeding and a 5:38 scoreless stretch by the Stockaders.
Wagner, who finished with 12 points, knocked down a pair of free throws to push the game into double figures a minute later where the lead remained.
Salas totaled 10 points.
Webb re-entered the game with Old Fort up 57-41 after a 12-1 run.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets went through another flurry of turnovers, including four in a three-minute scoreless stretch that sealed their fate. They finished with 23 turnovers on the night.
Dryfuse backed New Riegel with 14 points and 10 rebounds while Nick Reinhart had 10 points.
The Blue Jackets collectively shot just 34 percent (17 of 50) from the field, including 2 of 18 on 3-pointers.
“The shots around the arc, I don’t remember thinking we took some bad ones,” Losey said. “Most disappointed with our work around the rim. Maybe we were rushing it a little bit, but there was a stretch where it seemed we had a bunch of point-blank looks in the first half, and we couldn’t get them to fall.”
New Riegel didn’t make its first field goal until Reinhart swished a 3-pointer at the 1:45 mark of the first quarter.
By then, Old Fort led 11-4 and Webb answered in a matter of seconds with a 3-ball of his own.
“We came out ready to play. Our defense was pretty good that first quarter,” Hoover said. “We made it tough for them to get the ball down the floor. Every pass was difficult, every shot was contested. It was all eight guys we had in in the first quarter.”
OLD FORT (3-1, 1-0 SBC RIVER)
Wagner 2-7–12, Smith 2-0–4, A. Steyer 2-0–5, Miller 2-0–5, Webb 6-3–16, Salas 5-0–10, C. Steyer 2-0–5. TOTALS: 21-45 10-18 — 57.
NEW RIEGEL (3-1, 1-1 SBC RIVER)
Dryfuse 6-2–14, Lescallett 3-1–7, Hohman 2-0–4, Reinhart 3-2–10, Smith 2-2–6, Acree 1-2–4. TOTALS: 17-50 9-13 — 45.
Old Fort 20 13 12 12 — 57
New Riegel 6 12 14 13 — 45
3-Point GOALS: Old Fort 5-14 (Wagner, A. Steyer, Miller, Webb & C. Steyer); New Riegel 2-18 (Reinhart 2).
rebounds: Old Fort 23; New Riegel 36 (Dryfuse 10).
turnovers: Old Fort 19; New Riegel 23.
junior varsity: Old Fort, 50-33.
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By ANDY WOLF