MT. ORAB — In between the senior night festivities honoring the Western Brown Broncos’ three seniors, ceremonies honoring the state-tournament bound wrestling team and a recognition of Mt. Orab’s pee-wee basketball teams, the Western Brown boys’ basketball team had a rather important tilt against the Amelia Barons Friday night.
With a win, the Broncos could move as high as second in the Southern Buckeye Athletic and Academic Conference standings, as long as Norwood beat Batavia. However, the Broncos couldn’t overcome a poor third quarter on offense, falling to the Barons 49-45.
The Broncos held a slim 14-13 lead after the first quarter, thanks to senior Chaiten Tomlin. Tomlin had nine points, including one three-pointer, in the first quarter. The Barons were more balanced, as at least five different players had at least two points.
Neither team’s offense did much in the second quarter, as the fouls began to pile up on the Broncos. Joe Sams tallied four points in the frame for the Broncos, but the game was tied at 22 heading into halftime.
Western Brown head coach Greg Foster said both defenses were the reason the first half was a low-scoring affair.
“Neither team could score,” Foster said. “The first half was a good defensive first half.”
Amelia picked things up a tad on offense in the third quarter. The Barons built a six-point lead with less than a minute remaining. Brandon Gaynor hit a three-point shot to push the lead to nine points at the end of the quarter.
Western Brown scored just six points in the third quarter, so the team switched to a pressing defense in the fourth, despite having several key players pick up fouls.
“We couldn’t press in the first half,” Foster said. “There were some tic-tac fouls called that put us in foul trouble, and them too…We couldn’t get up and pressure the guards like we had planned on doing. You could tell, when we got up in them and guarded them the way we wanted to, they struggled with it.”
The Broncos trailed by 13 points after Tomlin picked up his fourth foul with 4:01 remaining in the game. That’s when the defense started a rally. Tomlin hit a three-pointer, then drew an offensive foul. On the ensuing possession, the Broncos nearly threw the ball out of bounds, but Brandon Butler blindly threw the ball to Sams, who hit a layup and drew a foul. He missed the shot, but the Broncos had cut the lead down to just six points with 2:32 remaining.
The team shaved five more points off the deficit and trailed by just one point with 47 seconds left. A steal led to a breakaway, but the team couldn’t convert the lay-up. The Broncos grabbed the offensive board, then proceeded to miss a three-pointer. Another Bronco rebound led to a timeout, but the team would finish the possession with no points.
Foster said the team took some shots that they shouldn’t have in the last minute of the game, but those baskets weren’t the only reason for their loss.
“That should come with playing,” Foster said. “You have to know when to take a shot, when not to take a shot. You can look at those two shots and say those were bad shots, but look at the third quarter. That was the difference.”
Amelia hit three of four free-throws to seal the victory. David Winkler led the Barons with 12 points. Sams had 15 for the Broncos to lead all scorers while Tomlin added 12.
Western Brown drew SBAAC foe Batavia in the sectional tournament next Saturday at Mason High School. Foster said the familiarity with the Bulldogs helps in preparation.
“You know what they can do,” Foster said. “You know who their players are. You know what to expect at both ends. It helps.”
Before the team can worry about the sectional tournament, however, they have one more game on their schedule. The team faces Bethel-Tate Saturday, Feb. 13 at 1 p.m. at Clermont Northeastern High School in the SBAAC Tournament.
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Southern Buckeye Athletic and Academic Conference
Bethel-Tate 54, Williamsburg 43
Goshen 59, New Richmond 52 (OT)
Norwood 64, Batavia 46
Clermont Northeastern 54, Felicity 41
Blanchester 62, Georgetown 49
Southern Hills Athletic Conference
North Adams 55, Eastern 49
Lynchburg 57, Peebles 51
Manchester 58, Fayetteville 52 (OT)
Fairfield 69, Whiteoak 59
Ripley at West Union, late