BG takes Spartans to the wire before falling, 55-52

MILLBURY — Bowling Green appeared to give all they had but came up short in a 55-52 Division I district semifinal overtime loss to Lima Senior at Lake High School Tuesday.

“That’s a tough one,” BG coach Mason Roth said. “We battled and they battled, too. They are a really good basketball team, and our guys never backed down tonight and that is something I’m really proud of.

“Obviously, losing in the end stinks. You know, I don’t think many people outside this locker room gave us much of a chance and we had an opportunity to win at the end,” Roth continued.

“That’s what I told our guys, I don’t think we get the respect sometimes that we deserve, especially from the outside. That’s what I told them is you don’t worry what is on the jersey. Basketball is basketball. The ball has to go in the hoop.”

Lima Senior has reached the state final four five times, but coach Quincey Simpson did not expect that the Bobcats would just roll over for them.

“I’m not surprised,” Simpson said. “I mean, it’s the tournament. Guys are going to leave everything on the floor.

“Give your hat to Bowling Green. They played extremely confident, very well-coached tonight, made shots, showed toughness, and you know, they had a chance to win.

“We didn’t expect to just come here and just blow these guys out of the water,” Simpson continued. “We respect our opponent, and he (Roth) had those guys confident, so I’m blessed that we were able to move on.”

It marked the second game of the night at Flyer Fieldhouse pitting a Northern Lakes League team against a Three Rivers Athletic Conference team, ending in a split as Perrysburg downed Toledo St. Francis, 53-41, in the opener.

BG appeared to be following suit, going wire-to-wire with the Spartans, but once Lima Senior got the lead in overtime they never trailed.

Trailing 55-52, the Bobcats had one final look at the basket, but 6-foot-8 senior Jabari Conway’s 20-foot fade away bounced off the rim at the buzzer.

Seven different players scored for BG, led by junior guard Ahmir Ruffin, who came off the bench to score 13 points and grab four rebounds.

Senior guard Brock Hastings scored 10 points and had five rebounds, junior guard Brayden Freyman had eight points, and Conway had seven points, six rebounds, and two steals.

Senior forward Evan Brandt was a beast on the boards, grabbing seven caroms in the first half and finishing with nine rebounds and four points.

BG junior guard Grant Sonner scored the first two field goals of the game, both three-pointers to give BG a quick 6-0 lead, and he finished with six points, and junior guard Jake Amspoker had four points and six rebounds.

BG finished the first half on a 15-3 run and took a 27-18 halftime lead over the Spartans, but Lima Senior opened the second half on a 10-0 run to take its fist lead, 29-28, with less than three minutes remaining.

BG finally got on the board when Ruffin was fouled driving to the basket, making both shots to put BG back up 30-29, but the Spartans’ momentum continued as Lima Senior led 37-35 entering the fourth stanza.

Brandt fouled out with 2:41 remaining with the score tied 42-42, but Ruffin was fouled on an offensive putback with 1:39 remaining, and his old-fashioned three-point play put the Bobcats up, 45-42.

After the Spartans’ 6-7 sophomore Jagger Hutchins hit a three-point shot to tie, Hastings was fouled in the backcourt and hit both ends of a one-and-one, giving BG a 47-45 lead with 45 seconds showing.

However, the Spartans responded quickly as senior Anthony Mosley scored easily in the paint off a feed from freshman Amari Addy, tying the score at 45-apiece with 40 seconds remaining.

Both teams had final chances to score the game-winner, but Lima Senior turned the ball over with 1.2 seconds remaining, and a Conway 18-footer rolled off the rim at the buzzer.

Ruffin scored first in overtime on an eight-foot floater to put BG up, 49-47, but the Spartans went on a 7-0 run to send the Bobcats packing.

“They made plays and we made plays, and we had two good looks at the end with our two best players and it just didn’t go in,” Roth said. “That’s basketball.”

Roth said Freyman had one of his best performances of the season, including crucial scores on drives to the basket, let alone his three steals on defense.

“Guys step up in moments,” Roth said. “Brayden had a rough year, but he never wavered. He always stuck with us, and we count on him.

“We expect him to have big games. That was good for him and hopefully that will carry over to next season.”

Addy, despite being 5-11 and in his first year of high school, scored a game-high 17 points with nine rebounds and three steals.

Mosley had a double-double 12 points and 13 rebounds, senior Brandon Moore and sophomore Izaiah Wilson scored eight apiece, senior Amarion Glenn scored six, and Hutchins had four points and five rebounds.

The Spartans shot 42% (21-for-50) from the floor, 10-for-17 from the free throw line, and had 15 turnovers to the Bobcats’ 13. Lima Senior held a narrow 36-35 advantage off the backboards.

BG shot 33% (18-for-54) from the field, but had seven triples, including two each by Sonners, Hastings and Conway, The Bobcats were 9-for-13 from the stripe.

BG bows out at 11-13. Lima Senior (17-7) advances to take on Perrysburg (19-5) at 7 p.m. Friday at Flyer Fieldhouse for the district championship and right to move on to the Division I regional semifinal at the University of Toledo’s Savage Arena.

“They’re good, they’re big, and they are strong,” Simpson said of Perrysburg. “They know me well, I know them well. Great coach — (Perrysburg coach) Dave (Boyce) is a wonderful coach.

“They are going to be ready to go, so hopefully we can match that intensity, but I would like to see their guys match our intensity. It’s going to be a cat-and-mouse game. We’ve got a window to prepare and get it done.”