WAPAKONETA — When St. Henry’s Carter Ontrop launched his 3-pointer in double overtime and his team up against Perry, 56-53 with 1:41 left on the clock, Redskin head coach Eric Rosenbeck was yelling, “No. no. no.”
But after the shot swished through the net, Rosenbeck was saying yes, yes, yes because that was the back-breaking hoop that helped propel St. Henry to a 61-53 victory in a Division IV district semifinal Tuesday night.
“He (Ontrop) let it loose, it went in, and then he gave that Michael Jordan shrug and then turned around and said well that is what I am and, but you know what, it is his team and we have said that for years,” Rosenbeck said. “It is coach Rosenbeck’s program but it is the seniors’ team and for those seniors they get the right to take those shots and it just feels so much better when they go in.”
That was just one of a trio of clutch 3-pointers for the Redskins down the stretch.
The first came when Casey Bruening popped a trey with his team down 45-41 with 1:14 left in the game. That 3-pointer helped slice the lead to one and then a second clutch trey by Redskin Bennett Gels knotted the score at 47-47 with 12.4 seconds left to send the game into overtime .
“Casey Bruening wasn’t ready to have his career end and he has a been a first-team all league player to me all year,” Rosenbeck said. “He makes play after play whether it is assists, rebounds and in this case the big shot and I couldn’t be more proud of him.
In that final four minutes, St. Henry outscored Perry 9-1 to secure the victory. Perry was 1 of 4 from the charity stripe in the second OT.
The win makes for an all Midwest Athletic Conference district final as St. Henry (18-7) will face New Bremen at Wapakoneta at 7 p.m. Friday. Perry ends its year with an 18-5 mark.
“That is one of the funnest, best basketball games I have ever been a part of and I have been around basketball since I was 10 years old and so that is for about 30 years,” Rosenbeck said. “It was mental toughness. I give (the Perry) coach and his team credit. They were very mentally tough as well but I believe in wholeheartedly in our kids mental toughness.”
In this rumble and tumble affair the two teams fought each other every second from the opening tip-off in a game that saw neither team own a lead larger than four for the first 32 minutes. In regulation, St. Henry never held a lead bigger than three.
Perry head coach Matt Tabler said there were several missed opportunities down the stretch particularly at the end of regulation. In addition to missing some key free throws in the fourth quarter, the Commodores could not stop the 3-pointer to tie it nor hit the big bucket to win it.
“We knew what play they were running, that player screen for the three with 17 seconds to go and they hit it,” Tabler said. “I thought our best decision was not to call timeout and we had timeouts but we didn’t want them to set their defense up. They might be in zone or they might be in man and we had two good looks to win the game. Bubby (Knight) made a nice jump stop and a pivot in the paint and had a wide open 8-footer and Ryan (Yingst) had a put back at the buzzer that just came off. That is the game of basketball.”
For the game, St. Henry’s Logan Lefeld muscled his way to 19 points and Ontrop scored 19. Giels added 13 points.
Perry’s Terry Riley pumped in 16 points and Bubby Knight added 15 points. Jefferey Simpson, playing his final game as a senior, chipped in 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
Overall, the Commodores shot 3 of 11 from behind the 3-point arc. St. Henry hit 7 of 16 from behind the 3-point arc.
Tabler, who says good-bye to seniors Jefferey Simpson and Isaiah Cox, said it is disappointing to come up short but said they will try to build for next year.
“You never like to lose but unfortunately only four teams win the last game of the season,” Tabler said. “We would have liked to go a little further and that was our goal but our kids worked really, really hard. Going 18-5 is nothing to hang your head about but we will get back to work and that is why we have been a successful program.”
New Bremen 40, Minster 39
WAPAKONETA — New Bremen’s Reece Bussee’s 3-pointer at the buzzer ousted No. 1 seeded Minster.
New Bremen owned a 20-14 lead at halftime and a 33-24 lead going into the final eight minutes.
Minster made a late charge in the final quarter to take the lead with 34.6 seconds when Justin Nixon stuck it in for two points.
Bussee led the Cardinals in scoring with 11 points. For Minster Nixon finished with 19 points.