3A boys basketball: Late free throws lift Patriots over Adrian
WORTHINGTON — Scoring half of their points at the free throw line late Saturday afternoon, the third-seeded Hills-Beaver Creek Patriots (11-11) earned a trip to the Section 3A South semifinals with a 56-39 victory over sixth-seeded Adrian.
The Patriots had seven players combine for a sizzling 28-of-35 performance (80 percent) from the charity line, including a remarkable 25-of-31 (81 percent) in the second half.
“That was the difference,” exclaimed veteran Adrian head coach Dean Schnaible. “Hills-Beaver Creek shot a lot of free throws and made almost all of them. Plus, their zone press bothered us more than we expected it would.”
The Dragons, who lost possession on 18 turnovers, held an 18-12 lead following a corner three-pointer by 5-9 junior guard Collin Kemper with six minutes remaining in the first half.
But, the Patriots rallied with an 11-0 run to close out the half with a 23-18 edge.
There was not a lot of scoring early in the second half, but H-BC maintained the advantage, stretching the lead to 35-22 with 8:53 left. A nifty pass from Isaac Tilstra (six rebounds) to Carey Taubert (16 points, nine rebounds) resulted in one inside hoop for the Patriots. Later, Dylan Gehrke took a pass down the lane from Braden Ellingson (four assists) and converted a three-point play off a hard drive before Taubert capped the 11-1 surge with another bucket off a nice pass from Ellingson.
Adrian’s Brady Lonneman, a 6-4 junior forward, rifled in a three-pointer for the Dragons at 8:27 and later converted a four-point play, bringing Adrian to within six, 37-31, with 5:47 to play.
H-BC countered with a pair of free throws by 6-5 freshman Zach Scholten and two by Gehrke, extending its lead back to 10 (41-31) with 4:34 on the clock.
Down the stretch, the Patriots nailed 14 straight free throws as Tilstra, Scholten and Gehrke each made four without a miss and Taubert sank a pair.
Scholten (10 points, six rebounds) was a perfect eight-for-eight from the line, all in the second half for H-BC, while the ever-versatile Gehrke (18 points, eight rebounds, four steals) was seven-of-seven and Taubert was six-of-seven.
“We have been good at the line,” praised H-BC head coach Steve Wiertzema. “We played well defensively. Ellingson did a very nice job on Taylor Recker, which was a key factor. Offensively, we had only 10 turnovers. We passed the ball better as the game progressed and got the ball inside, which helped us get to the free throw line more.”
Lonneman (16 points, 11 rebounds) and Nick Reyne (15 points, three assists) combined for 31 of Adrian’s points. Recker (11 rebounds), who averages nearly 20 points per game, was held to three.
Adrian finished its season with a 8-18 record.
Adrian 18 39
Hills-Beaver Creek 23 56
ADRIAN (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Reyne 2-4-1-15, Kemper 1-0-0-3, B. Lonneman 3-1-5-16, Polzine 0-0-2-2, Recker 0-1-1-3. Totals 6-6-9-39.
H-BC (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Vaughn 0-0-1-1, Ellingson 0-1-1-3, Gehrke 1-4-7-18, Tilstra 0-0-4-4, Scholten 0-1-8-10, Forshey 0-0-1-1, Holthaus 1-0-0-3, Taubert 0-5-6-16. Totals 2-11-28-56.