FINDLAY — When the game got tight Pandora-Gilboa’s defense got even tighter.
Holding on to a one-point lead with two minutes to play, the Rockets did not allow Miller City to score on its last five possessions in their Division IV boys basketball district semifinal on Tuesday night and walked away with a 49-45 win.
Pandora-Gilboa (23-1) will play Kalida at 7 p.m. Friday at Liberty-Benton for the district championship.
Kalida defeated Columbus Grove 42-40 in double overtime in the other game at Liberty-Benton on Tuesday night.
Trevor Lambert’s driving lay-up with three seconds to play in the second overtime provided the winning points for Kalida (18-6), which avoided the upset by Columbus Grove (9-14).
Grant Laudick scored 11 points to lead Kalida. Blake Reynolds and Logan Schroeder had 14 points each for Columbus Grove.
Jared Breece scored 18 points, half of them in the fourth quarter, and Drew Johnson had 17 points, all but three of them in the first half, to lead P-G. Mark Kuhlman’s 11 points led Miller City (14-10) and Mitchell Gable scored 10.
Pandora-Gilboa jumped out to a 20-8 lead to start the game. Miller City got to within two points by halftime after ending the first half on a 12-2 run and took its first lead since the game’s opening minute when it went up 43-42 on a 3-pointer by Noah Otto with 5:43 left in the game.
But that was the Wildcats’ only lead of the second half. Pandora-Gilboa allowed only two more points the rest of the way and Miller City’s last five possession ended with a missed front end of a one-and-one, two turnovers and two unsuccessful 3-pointers.
“From the summer until now, we’ve really kind of based our team on defense on every possession. It’s second nature to us at this point and offense will take care of itself,” Breece said.
“They’re a very good team. They match up really well with us. We struggled a little bit but once we calmed down we were fine. I think everybody was a little nervous because it was our first time in the district semifinals,” he said.
Pandora-Gilboa’s win was similar to a 44-42 regular-season win that ended with the Rockets winning on a last-second shot, so the closeness of the game was not a surprise.
“We came out of the gate not nervous. We played really well,” Pandora-Gilboa coach Joe Braidic said. “When they made that run (in the second quarter) it kind of got to us a little bit. Then we made another run and we got comfortable.”
“We told them they were going to make a run. They were a good team and we knew that was coming. We were just happy it came in the first half. I thought we controlled the game most of the second half,” Braidic said.
“We kept saying we had to rebound, that was the big key and that limited them. The last time we played them they had 10 offensive rebounds. That was a big thing for us going in,” he said.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.
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