In a flash, half of the Loveland Basketball season is in the past, with the Tigers sitting at 6-5 overall and 4-3 in the Eastern Cincinnati Conference. After the Tigers’ rough start to the year, they have continued to put themselves in a position to compete for the ECC title, this week included. The Tigers defeated West Clermont 65-49 on Tuesday, January 2nd, and bested Walnut Hills in an impressive comeback victory, 49-45 on Friday, January 5th.
In their first game of the week, the Tigers started slowly, trailing by two after the 1st quarter. The Wolves dominated inside in the early going, scoring all fourteen of their first quarter points in or around the paint, while the Tigers struggled to score the ball, shooting just 31 percent from the field through one. However, the Tigers flipped the script in the second, scoring twenty points while holding the Wolves to just six. This run was aided by a hot shooting stretch in which four different players hit threes, including Jack Sauer (12), Chase Martin (10), and Will Bertoli (11). Andrew Breese (12) also supported the scoring effort with two threes from the top of the key, propelling the Tigers to a 12-point lead at the break. Entering the third, LHS continued to hit shots from downtown, and, combined with West Clermont’s inability to score outside the paint, the Tigers were able to pull away and win this one 65-49. Breese led the team in scoring with 17 points, hitting 5 threes and shooting 63 percent from the field. Sauer added 16, along with 4 assists and 3 steals, and Martin had 12 of his own to go along with 7 boards.
As for the second game of the week, Walnut Hills scored the first 8 points of the game and held onto that momentum up into the later aspects of the third quarter. Loveland was held to just 15 points in the first half on 29 percent shooting, by far the Tiger's worst offensive half of the season thus far. The Eagles were dominating on the offensive glass, grabbing 11 offensive rebounds in the first half and scoring on countless second-chance opportunities, which led to their 9-point lead at the intermission. In the early parts of the second half, the Eagles continued to dominate defensively, and with just 6 minutes remaining in the 4th, the Eagles held a 12-point lead. However, this is when the Tigers found an offensive spark. Loveland went on a 14-2 run to tie the game at 43 with around two minutes remaining. Led by big buckets from Martin, Bertoli, Sauer, and Jewel Vorbroker (10), Loveland had all the momentum in the final minutes. After an Eagles bucket to regain the advantage, Breese hit a three from the right corner to give the Tigers their first lead of the game. Clutch free throws from Carson Brown (12) and Will Bertke (11) would ice the game and the Tigers would survive a scary one at the Nuthouse, 49-45.
Week 7 is huge in terms of the ECC race as the Tigers host high-flying Lebanon on Tuesday, January 9th, and the league-leading Winton Woods Warriors on Friday, January 12th. Be there to support on Tuesday and Friday!