11 seniors honored, but BG falls, 60-43


Bowling Green honored 11 seniors on Senior Night, but the party ended there as the Bobcats dropped a Northern Lakes League Cardinal Division contest to visiting Clay, 60-43, Tuesday.

Of 10 seniors on the playing roster, BG coach Mason Roth had to limit to five as game starters, so he chose guards Grant Sonner, Jacob Amspoker, Ahmir Ruffin, and Andrew Claypool, and forward Mitch Keller.

However, Roth says all 11, including the manager, provide depth to the team which is not only useful in games, but in providing solid competition during practices leading up to games.

“One through ten, the senior group, even our manager Chad (Mierzejewski) — those guys all bring something to our program, whether it’s on the court, whether it’s in practice, on the bench or whatever it may be,” Roth said.

“They are all valued the same. We’re going to miss that group, obviously, once the season is over.”

Plus, the other four, guards Vincent Moosbrugger, Kyle Sickler, Garrett Bateson, and Brayden Freyman and forward Reece Rath have all had their moments on the court, getting significant playing time throughout the season.

“It’s a great group of guys,” Roth said. “We spent a lot of time with this group. We really enjoy having them around, and obviously this is not how you want to have them go out on Senior Night, but there is more to the story than just the loss tonight.”

Two will continue their athletic careers at the next level — Ruffin plans to play college basketball at a destination yet undetermined, and Rath, who missed much of the basketball season because of a football injury, will play lacrosse at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

However, against Clay, a usually good-shooting BG team struggled in the first half, falling behind 24-18 at intermission, in part because of 10 turnovers. The Bobcats only got off 18 shots from the floor, making seven.

By the end of the third quarter, Clay’s lead had reached double figures, and the Eagles continued adding on in the final stanza.

“Our energy was bad all night. That is the most disappointing thing about that,” Roth said. “We try to pride ourselves on playing hard and competing the right way and I don’t think we did that tonight, and it comes down to that at the end of the game.”

Amspoker had 11 points, five rebounds and five steals, Ruffin matched his scoring with 11 points and four boards, junior guard Ja’ceous Shannon had eight points and two steals and Freyman scored six points.

Sickler scored three points and junior forwards Tomas Meek and Karter Shank added two points apiece for the Bobcats.

BG shot 43% (17-for-40) from the field, had just two chances at the free throw line, making both, and finished with 15 turnovers.

BG fell to 9-12 overall and 4-5 in the Cardinal Division, while Clay improved to 13-8 and 7-2 and remains in the hunt for a league title. The Eagles were one game behind Sylvania Southview (15-5, 7-1) entering play Tuesday.

It’s been a long time since Clay has been in any hunt for a boys basketball title, but coach Lionel Armstead says he can only focus on what his team does, not what Southview does.

“Just in case, you know a win is always good,” Armstead said. “I’m more thinking about just having momentum going into the tournament is good.

“We can’t control if Southview wins or loses, but we can definitely control how we take care of our team, getting wins and making sure we’re getting better every game.”

To beat the Bobcats, Clay was not going to allow BG to score 44 first half points and take an 18-point lead at intermission, like the Bobcats did the first time the two teams played at Harold Potter Field House in Oregon. Clay did come back to win that game, 62-60.

“We just kind of stressed the fact that they did get an 18-point lead against us in the first game and we couldn’t have a slow start,” Armstead said.

Senior guard Jay Williams led Clay with 17 points and seven rebounds, senior guard Lucas Jeremy had nine points and two steals, and freshman guard Aiden Berryman scored eight points.

Junior forward Mason Heintschel had seven points and 12 rebounds and was a big reason why the Eagles held a 34-24 advantage off the glass.

Senior forward Logan Lajiness and junior guard Dom Pegish contributed five points apiece, sophomore guard Grant Oberdick had three points and four steals, and junior guard Ben Roberts and senior forward Marvell Walker scored three points apiece for the Eagles.

Clay got off 10 more shots from the floor, making 22-of-50 (44%) and they made 67% (8-of-12) of their attempts from the charity stripe.

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