VAN WERT — Fort Jennings used two and sometimes three players to smother Temple Christian’s Brody Bowman.
But with the game on the line, Bowman wasn’t bothered by the whole Musketeer team around him.
Bowman’s 17-footer jumper with 1.8 seconds left lifted Temple Christian to a 48-47 victory over Fort Jennings in the Division IV sectional boys basketball opener Tuesday at Van Wert.
“It was a blessing from God,” Bowman said. “I’ve had a lot of last-second shots, some from halfcourt, but I’ve never made one in my life. This is my first (buzzer-beater to win the game). I finally got one to fall.’’
Temple Christian (9-14) advances to the sectional finals against No.1-seed Crestview at 6:15 p.m. Friday at Van Wert.
Fort Jennings ends the year 3-20.
In the second sectional opener of the night, Lima Central Catholic blitzed Continental 65-27.
In a back-and-forth final quarter, Fort Jennings’ Simon Smith sank a 3-pointer to give the Musketeers the lead 47-46 with 24 seconds to go.
Temple came down the floor, Bowman drove the lane and the ball was knocked out of bounds to Temple under the Pioneers’ basket with 8.5 seconds to go.
Temple’s Dawson Draper inbounded the ball from under the Temple basket to Bowman, who was in the left corner 22-feet out.
Bowman dribbled a foot behind the foul line, pumped, stepped back and let it go.
The ball hit the rim, and tumbled through the net with 1.8 seconds to go to give the Pioneers a 48-47 lead.
“I knew I had eight seconds,” Bowman said. “My plan the whole time was to take it to the middle. I met two guys there waiting for me and I figured they’d be jumping all over the shot. So I threw them a pump fake, I faded back a little bit and took the shot. It bounced around a little bit, it teased with me and it fell in.’’
Added Temple coach Bruce Bowman, “We wanted him to get the ball where hopefully he could create for himself and score. You knew there would be two or three guys waiting for him. That’s just the way it is.’’
Fort Jennings had a heave from halfcourt and that was the game.
Bowman, who had 11 points in the fourth quarter, finished with a team-high 14 points.
Dakota Clay, Temple’s 6-foot-4 post player, had nine points and nine rebounds.
Draper, Lincoln Waters and Josh Engle all had six points and two 3-pointers.
Temple made 7 of 20 on 3-pointers.
“We had to have other guys score, whether it’s Dakota inside or a guard knocking down a three,” coach Bowman said. “Those things are important.’’
Ian Ricker paced Fort Jennings with 13 points. He fouled out with 1:41 to go.
On Dec. 28, Fort Jennings knocked off Temple 60-49 at Fort Jennings.
In that first contest, Bowman scored 33 points.
This time around, Fort Jennings came out with an aggressive box-and-one defense on Bowman, the Northwest Central Conference’s player of the year, who is averaging close to 30 points per game.
The Musketeers rotated different players on Bowman, but a second player would slip out of the box just inside the 3-point line and help out on Bowman.
Then, if Bowman got to the lane, a third Fort Jennings’ player would tag along with him.
Reese Von Sossan followed Bowman within inches and usually it was Ricker jumping out for the double-team.
“They always had two guys on him in a sense, in that they had another guy on him when he got to the elbow,” coach Bowman said. “If you drive, it was a triple-team. They were daring our other guys to make shots. They had to step up and they did.’’
Temple led 11-9 after the first quarter.
And that point, Bowman was scoreless and was looking to take his first shot.
“I saw a similar thing against Ada,” Bowman said. “It was a matter of going through that experience and trusting my teammates.’’
Early on, Pioneers looked inside to Clay.
Temple led 22-21 at the half.
Bowman was bottled up with only three first-half points.
Clay has seven points at the half, while Waters and Engle had both dropped two 3-pointers.
Of the Musketeers’ nine first-half baskets, seven came on layups.
When Pioneers’ Malachi White and Draper sack back-to-back 3-pointers the Pioneers’ lead grew to 35-26 as the third quarter ended.
The Musketeers started the final quarter on a 9-2 run to get within 37-35.
Von Sossan’s driving 5-footer tied the game at 41 with 3:17 left.
Temple won the boards 25-22.
“My teammates did an awesome job tonight,” Bowman said. “Any time you are double-teamed or face a box-and-one, that’s what you are counting on. … Dakota (Clay) had a monster game down low.’’
Lima Central Catholic ran out to a 15-3 lead and the T-Birds rolled home from there.
LCC (12-11) advances to the sectional finals against Delphos St. John’s at 8 p.m. Friday at Van Wert.
Jeremy Allen led LCC with 15 points and two 3-pointers.
Rossy Moore had 13 points and Michael Jay Riepenhoff added 12 for LCC.
Ron Banks had eight points and Shaun Thomas had seven points.
Continental ends its season 3-20.
The Pirates were led by Reed Warnement’s 13 points. He had three 3-pointers.
The T-Birds played without point guard Biggz Johnson, who was under the weather and wasn’t able to come to the game.
LCC ran the fastbreak early and ripped off a 15-2 run to start the second quarter. That gave the T-Birds a 32-9 lead.
The T-Birds dominated the tempo by gobbling up turnovers and turning them into fast-break layups.
“We forced them into turnovers and turned them into 94 feet,” LCC coach Frank Kill said. “If we dictate tempo, good things will happen.’’
Reach The Lima News sports department at 567-242-0451.