BATH TOWNSHIP – Coming into its first round Division IV sectional game against Allen East, the Ridgemont team featured two juniors, a sophomore and two freshmen.
But the youthful Golden Gophers looked more like the experienced team for the first three quarters and then looked like the glare of the postseason had finally caught up in the fourth before holding off a determined Allen East team, 63-60 Tuesday night at Bath High School.
“We have a young team,” Ridgemont head coach Nick Stuck said. “These are a bunch of dudes that don’t know what it is like to have a 30-point lead. Everything you tell your team not to do, we did it in the fourth quarter. I guess it is just youth and frustrating. False confidence makes you complacent and complacency kills.”
Despite nearly blowing the big lead, Nick Stuck said it is all about securing the win.
“Survive and advance,,” Stuck said. “It feels good because these guys beat us during the regular season and it was a little bit about redemption.”
With the win Ridgemont (12-10) will face defending state champion Marion Local at 6:15 p.m, at Bath High School. Allen East ends its season at 10-12.
“You can’t show up and leave yourself a 30-point hole and expect to have enough gas in the tank to win it,” Allen East head coach Brad Clum said. “We just for some reason didn’t look like we were ready to play. I give them credit. They shot the lights out.”
The Golden Gopher behind some solid defense and excellent shooting scored the first 12 points of the game that would eventually balloon to as much as 30 points by the third quarter.
But in the fourth quarter, Ridgemont showed its youth. Behind the Mustangs’ pressure defense and the Golden Gopher’s inability to hit free throws down the stretch, Allen East nearly erased the 30-point deficit and had a chance to tie it with a late Mustang 3-pointer that missed its mark to preserve the win for Ridgemont.
In the fourth quarter, Allen East outscored Ridgemont 24-5 and the Golden Gophers were 1 of 9 from the charity stripe including missing three front ends of the one and one.
Prior to the disastrous fourth quarter, Ridgemont was in complete command. The Golden Gophers came out with the hot hand as well as putting the clamps on Allen East’s offense.
Coach Stuck said defensively the Golden Gophers wanted to focus on point guard Tyler Clum.
“No disrespect to Clum and I think he is a heck of a player but our focus was to push him left,” Stuck said. “He is super athletic and he jumps well and if you let him go right he has a nice cross behind his back for a jumper so we said doin’t let him get in a rhythm. He stirs their drink and I think Jadon Miller did a fantastic job on him and Grant Reppart did a fantastic job on him.”
The move paid off as the Mustangs searched for anybody with the ability to score.
That did not come until the fourth quarter when Logan McCluer, coming off the bench found his rhythm. McCluer, who would end up leading the team in scoring with 14 points, scored all of those in the second half including 10 in the final eight minutes.
For Ridgemont, Stuck and Newland combined for 41 of Ridgemont’s points. Stuck, who did not score in the fourth quarter, finished with 21 and Newland ended up with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Jayden Streets added 10 points.
Upper Scioto Valley 52,
New Bremen 48
Upper Scioto Valley’s Quinn Sanders scored a game-high 22 points and Wyatt Daniels added 14 points to help the Rams notch a 52-48 win in the first round of the Division IV sectional tournament Friday night.
With the win USV (18-5) will play familiar foe Perry at 8 p.m. Friday. Earlier in the season, Perry beat USV New Bremen ends its season at 8-15.
USV owned a 24-22 lead at halftime and despite several New Bremen runs the Cardinals could not get over the hump.
For New Bremen, Mitchell Hays finished with 14 points and Nolan Barhorst added 12 points.