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(updated: 10:47 p.m.) Toledo Rogers slips past Rossford in OT (2-25-14) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Thomas Schmeltz/Sentinel Sports Writer   
Tuesday, 25 February 2014 22:54
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Rossford's Ryan Niese (right) drives the ball past Rogers' Branden Austin (middle) and Taqauris Belcher (left). (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
OREGON — It wasn’t just a questionable call in the final seconds of overtime that left Rossford head coach Brian Vorst emotional for his seniors. PHOTO GALLERY
It was the fact that his team fought time and time again to hold a lead in a Division II sectional semifinal against Toledo Rogers Tuesday night.
But on a night where the Bulldogs held a 12-point second half lead, they still couldn’t find a way to close out the Rams in a 69-67 overtime loss at Clay High School.
Rossford (15-7) led 67-66 with 44 seconds left in overtime before Rogers’ Omari Hicks was fouled after an inbound with 8.8 seconds left. Hicks hit both free throws leaving Rossford the length of the floor for a game-winning attempt as it trailed 68-67.
Rossford’s Derek Mack inbounded on the ensuing possession and when his teammate gained possession, he tried to pass back to Mack, but the ball appeared to be tipped out of bounds by Rogers. The officials ruled that possession favored the Rams, and Rogers sealed the win with a free throw with one second left.
“It’s difficult because our kids played so dog gone hard,” Vorst said. “If we come out here and lay an egg and get beat, that’s one thing. But I’m looking at three seniors that don’t get to play anymore and say, ‘believe it or not you played your tails off and it just wasn’t quite enough.’”
Mack, one of the three seniors, scored a game-high 26 points including a mid-range jumper that gave Rossford its 67-66 lead late in the overtime.
“I thought the shot that Mack hit there was the game-winner,” Vorst said. “I thought we would get a stop. Unfortunately, they weren’t going to quit. ... They wanted to win as badly as we did and they made the play at the end.”
Senior Mack Miller added 15 points, 10 in the second quarter, while senior Brian Burks had seven points and 11 rebounds.
“(Rogers) got us in the game they wanted and we got passive,” Vorst said. “We stopped moving the ball the way we wanted and that gave them the opportunity.”
Rossford struggled with turnovers all night, and in the end, the errors proved costly.
Rogers (13-9) forced 24 turnovers, including 12 in the first half, where Rossford escaped with a 36-34 lead.
“We had our chances, but we lost our composure once in a while. And that’s going to happen,” Vorst said. “We don’t get to see play like this very often. We try to prepare for it, but when you play as hard as we did tonight and gave everything we had, you like to think that’s a consolation, but it’s not. It just makes it a little harder.
“It’s a style that we’re not accustomed to seeing,” he added. “We knew that once in a while we would have composure issues just because of the way it is, and the way we’re constructed as opposed to them. For us, we had to minimize those and make those as short as we could.”
The Bulldogs trailed 38-36 early in the third quarter, but a 18-4 run gave them a 54-42 lead with under a minute left in the quarter. It was either team’s largest lead of the game. Rossford committed just two turnovers in the stretch.
“We moved the ball well in the third quarter,” Vorst said. “We were really strong with the ball and we got the shot that we wanted, and that was the key. ... The third quarter was how I thought we were going to play — how we were capable of playing. It was just a matter of how long we could sustain that effort.”
The same mistakes came back to haunt Rossford in the fourth as it had seven turnovers, leading to a 16-9 advantage in the quarter for Rogers.
Four players led the Rams in double figures as Branden Austin had a team-high 16 points. Hicks finished with 13.
“It wasn’t one turnover here or one turnover there. It was everybody making a play or a play there, just like everybody made a play to get us into the game and get us a lead,” Vorst said.
“It was a true team effort, and that’s what we talked about before the game. We want this to be a true team effort ... but it was just a little short tonight.”
Rogers plays sixth-ranked Lake (21-1) in a sectional final Friday at 6:15 p.m. at Clay.

ROGERS 69, ROSSFORD 67, OT
ROGERS
Copland, 4-3—11; Belcher, 1-0—2; Austin, 7-2—16; Hicks, 2-2-3—13; Williams, 5-2—12; Czajka, 1-0—2; Fowlkes, 1-0—2; Robinson, 4-1—9; Middleton, 0-2—2. TOTALS: 25-2-13—69.
ROSSFORD
Miller, 3-3-0—15; Niese, 0-1-0—3; Mack, 6-3-5—26; Sinclair, 0-0—0; Davis, 1-1-0—5; Burks, 3-1—7; Linthicum, 3-1—7; Childress, 2-0—4. TOTALS: 18-8-7—67.
ROGERS    20    14    13    16    6    —69
ROSSFORD    15    21    18    9    4    —67
Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 February 2014 09:54
 

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