Another eventful stretch of games took place this week, both in and out of the ECC for Tigers basketball. In conference play, Loveland squared up with high-flying Lebanon and hosted the undefeated Winton Woods Warriors. Out of the ECC, the Tigers were invited to play at the Holiday Hardwood Classic, where they competed against the Mt. Healthy Owls.
In the Tigers’ first contest against the Lebanon Warriors, it was extremely competitive early, as both teams were hot offensively to start. Led by Jack Sauer (12), Chase Martin (10), and Andrew Breese (12), the Tigers dueled with the Warriors early, leading 18-16 after the first. While Quarter 2 was just as competitive, Lebanon closed on a 9-0 run to end the half, led by two threes from Will Spitler. That 9-point swing gave the Warriors a 6-point advantage heading into the half and the momentum at the intermission. However, the Tigers came out scorching in the third quarter, embarking on a 15-0 run led by multiple threes from Breese and Will Bertke (11). This offensive momentum continued throughout the third, as the Tigers put up 25 points, aided by the six made threes in the quarter, and took a 12-point lead entering the final quarter. While Lebanon tried to come from behind, the Tigers’ red-hot offense was too much, and they pulled away late, winning this one 76-59.
The Tigers hosted Winton Woods in their second game of the week. This one started one-sided as Tyler McKinley took over early for the Warriors, scoring the first six points of the game, and ending with 10 in the first quarter. The Tigers tried to chip away in the second, led by Jewel Vorbroker (10), Carson Brown (12), and Sauer, but the Warriors kept putting points on the board and led by nine at the break. The Tigers continued to chip away entering the second half, as they cut the lead down to just five with 6:10 left in the third. However, Winton Woods was not going to be denied by the Tigers and they went on a run of their own, led by McKinley, Sean Harmon, and Nate Dawson. That run proved fatal for the Tigers and the Warriors held on to win, 75-62.
The final game of the week took place on Sunday, January 14th, when the Tigers traveled to Cintas Center to take on the Owls of Mt. Healthy. The game started slowly on both sides and while the Tigers were dominating in terms of field goal percentage, the Owls’ control on the glass kept them in it early. Mt. Healthy stayed competitive into the intermission, where they trailed 24-16. However, the Tigers started to pull away in the third, as Sauer, Martin, and Will Bertoli (11) got buckets inside to extend the Tiger lead. The Tigers’ run in the third ended up being enough and Loveland took this one 60-41 in the first game of the Holiday Hardwood Classic.
The Tigers play two huge conference games next week. First, they travel south to Milford, where they will have an opportunity to even the score after the Eagles took one from the Tigers earlier in the year. Then, the Tigers have an opportunity to enact revenge against Little Miami. Be at Turpin on Tuesday and Lebanon on Friday!