A single point killed the Comets’ playoff dreams as North Ridgeville won 62-61 last Wednesday.
The heartbreaker was decided by a buzzer-beater that sent the Rangers to St. Ignatius.
Going into the game, Amherst’s boys knew it would be a tough job. They eeked out a six-point win over Ridgeville in mid-January play.
Just like they did a month ago, the Comets took an early lead, going up 7-0 in the first three minutes.
Amherst’s well-executed defense held off the Rangers for the first quarter as both teams played it slow, going into the second at 17-10.
Despite an early three-pointer, North Ridgeville struggled make baskets early on while Amherst gott inside the paint and make short shots count.
Half-way through the second period, the Comets started to press their luck and brocked several shots from outside the arc.
The Rangers took advantage and make a quick comeback.
With a minute remaining in the half, the Rangers had tied it up, pushing ahead for a one-point advantage before Amherst answered back to hit the locker rooms at 28-27.
The Comets pressed hard in the third, but North Ridgeville was able to break through and put up points. By the five minute mark, the Rangers had pulled ahead.
For the next three minutes, the Comets struggled to contain the Rangers’ quick cross-court passes.
Amherst’s Adam Srnis answered back with a trey to end the third quarter at 43-41, North Ridgeville.
Garrett Klekota started the final quarter with a two-point shot to pull Amherst even. The Rangers struck quickly with a fast drive and a three-pointer, keeping a four-to-five-point lead as the clock wore down.
Trying to tip the balance, Amherst fell into an aggressive defense and tried to steal the ball in hope of causing fast breaks.
With a Klekota three-pointer at the 3:30 mark, Amherst was within three at 53-50, but the Rangers weren’t about to allow a come-from-behind playoff debacle.
Klekota kept it tight at 57-55 and Srnis hit a three at the 50-second mark to trail just 61-60.
After and Amherst rebound and a team foul, North Ridgeville called a timeout with 40 seconds remaining.
Rees Rua drove quickly to the net and notched a quick two-pointer, putting Amherst in the lead at 62-61 with just 15 seconds left.
That gave the Rangers possession, and they dribbled away the seconds. As the clock read :03, Ridgeville bounced a three-pointer — and rebounded in mid-air for a tap-in off the backboard.“It was a tough was to go out, it was a broken play and we didn’t put a body on the guy. He got it and put it back in, there was nothing else to it,” said Rees Rua.
Amherst ended the season with ten wins and fourteen losses.
“All around, it was a good year and we got a better record than last year. Next year we will have to work harder and more as a team due to the loss of our seniors,” said junior Rees Rua. “Overall, I think we will have a decent team next year.”