Saturday, February 16th, 2019
Indians rally to knock off Cardinals
By Gary R. Rasberry
Fort Recovery's Grant Knapke (0) hits a 3-pointer against New Bremen in the seco. . .
FORT RECOVERY - Midway through the third quarter, Fort Recovery was trailing New Bremen by as many as 13 points. With 7 1/2 minutes remaining in the game, the Indians' deficit was 10 points.
The Cardinals, though, could not put away the Indians. And the Indians took advantage.
Fort Recovery chipped away until Grant Knapke tied the game at 55 with just over a minute remaining in regulation. After New Bremen turned over the ball, Knapke hit the game-winner with a second left to lift the Indians to a 58-55 victory at Fort Site Fieldhouse.
"They missed some free throws, but we really executed our plays down the stretch," said Fort Recovery coach Michael Bashore. "Things we haven't been doing in the past like executing our offense, we did a good job of that.
"We did well. I'm awfully proud of them. Hopefully we can use this as a springboard."
Both teams shot better than 50 percent in the first half as New Bremen led 34-28 at the half. But the Cardinals started the third quarter with a 7-0 run with buckets from Bryce Blickle, Brandon Heitkamp and Nolan Bornhorst. Fort Recovery (10-10, 3-6 MAC) kept the Cardinals from adding to the lead and was down 47-38 after three quarters.
"We were up 11 and had a 3 go in-and-out and they go down and hit one. It could have been 14," said Cardinals coach Brad Francis. "We couldn't get stops when we needed to."
Patrick Wells' free throw 22 seconds into the final quarter gave the Cardinals a 10-point lead, but the Indians slowly clawed their way back into the game. New Bremen didn't help its cause when it could extend the lead at the foul line, making just three of eight over the final six minutes. Derek Jutte and Noah Lennartz came up with big baskets to pull Fort Recovery closer. A Lennartz layup with 95 seconds remaining made Fort Recovery's deficit 54-53. Drew Bowers made a free throw with 1:21 remaining to make it a two-point game, but Knapke drove the lane and scored with 65 seconds left to tie the game for the first time since the first quarter.
New Bremen (8-12, 2-6 MAC) worked the ball around for a possible last shot, but threw the ball out of bounds with 17.1 seconds left, giving the Indians the ball at mid-court. After the teams both used a timeout, Knapke got the ball at the top of the key and fired, making the 3-pointer as Fort Recovery fans started to celebrate as the clock went to zeroes. However, the Cardinals were able to call a timeout and officials placed a second on the clock. The throw to mid-court was off the mark as Fort Recovery took possession with a tenth-of-a-second left, allowing for a simple throw-in to end the game.
"Kids who didn't play well in spurts played well at the end. Noah made a big basket and got a big rebound at the end," said Bashore. "What can you say about Grant? That was a big shot at the end. That's something he's always been capable of. Payton (Jutte) was on fire for a little bit and Derek Jutte played a heckuva ballgame."
"We battled our tails off for 30 1/2 minutes and couldn't get stops when we needed to," said Francis. "We were 4 of 10 (from the foul line) in the fourth quarter. That's not good enough to win close basketball games."
Payton Jutte finished with 21 points for Fort Recovery. Derek Jutte added 13 points and Knapke scored seven of his 12 points in the fourth quarter.
Bryce Blickle had a team-high 19 for New Bremen, but was held to just two points in the second half. Bornhorst scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half.
Fort Recovery is off until Feb.23 when the Indians travel to Croy Gymnasium at the University of Findlay to face Van Buren, which is coached by former Indian standout Tyler Niekamp. New Bremen travels to Arcanum tonight.