Local Sports from The Courier
Wednesday, January 30, 2013Boys Basketball: L-B needs rally to nip Leipsic
LEIPSIC -- Liberty-Benton coach Steve Williman didn't mince words Tuesday.
"We were just lucky," Williman said after the Eagles defeated Leipsic 46-44 in a Blanchard Valley Conference boys basketball game.
"We were fortunate to get a win on the road against a very good basketball team."
Ryan Geise hit both ends of a one-and-one with 2.6 seconds remaining to cap a remarkable comeback for the Eagles (14-1, 6-0 BVC).
A long 3-pointer by Leipsic's Devin Mangas nicked the backboard and bounced away as time expired in the rescheduled tilt.
Mangas scored on a layup with 7:32 remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Vikings (13-3, 4-2 BVC) a 44-34 lead.
Leipsic never scored again as the Eagles, ranked fifth in the latest Associated Press Division III poll, outscored the Vikings 12-0 the rest of the way.
"We were fortunate tonight, but we got our win regardless," Williman said. "No matter what the score, you get your win and you get out of town.
The victory, the Eagles' 10th straight, keeps Liberty-Benton atop the BVC league race, one game ahead of Arlington (13-2, 5-1 BVC). Leipsic, which saw home winning streaks of 19 games overall and 14 games in the league snapped, drops into a third-place tie with McComb and Vanlue in the BVC.
Liberty-Benton struggled to score against Leipsic's pressure defense, at least until the late going. The Eagles were 16 of 50 shooting from the floor, including 6 of 21 from 3-point range.
A couple of these 3-pointers came in crunch time, though. Zach Garver worked his way open in the corner to start the Eagles' rally as he drained a 3-pointer with 4:27 left that cut Leipsic's lead to seven.
Mitch Linhart tied things up with a trey with 2:45 remaining with a 3-pointer from beyond the elbow. L-B's Adam Cytlak, meanwhile, was a force all night with a team-high 18 points, including a basket and a pair of free throws during the fourth-quarter rally.
"Offensively, they took us out of a flow the whole night," Williman said. "We never got in a comfort zone. A number of our offensive sets that have we been successful with, they took away from us.
"We didn't shoot the ball well all night, and a lot of that had to do with their pressure forcing us to shoot quicker than we would have liked."
Leipsic had several chances to break Liberty-Benton's late momentum, but its shots would not fall. Zach Kuhlman had a 3-pointer rim out in the late going, and several good looks didn't find the bottom of the net.
"We had two or three nice looks, I don't know what to say," Leipsic coach Scott Maag said. "We had a wide-open 3-pointer that was halfway in. We had a layup, no, we had two layups that were in and out.
"A call goes our way or a ball bounces the right way at the end, we're talking about us winning instead of us losing."
Leipsic broke open a tight game with an impressive shooting performance in the third quarter. The Vikings hit their first eight shots of the quarter, turning a 24-22 halftime lead into a 42-34 advantage by the end of the third.
Austin Brown hit three shots in the paint during that stretch, and Mangas, who finished a team-best 18 points, scored seven points in the quarter.
"They did a great job of breaking us down, creating plays and finding shooters all night," Williman said. "When we made a defensive mistake, we usually paid the price.
"We knew we were going to see their best shot. I think for probably three quarters, we were at their mercy. They executed well at both ends of the floor, and we were unable to execute things offensively."
Garver's 3-pointer midway through the fourth seemed to spark the Eagles and deflate Leipsic.
"That was a big shot for us, especially when we've struggled to make a basket the entire night," Williman said. "That changed the momentum for us."
Leipsic missed its last six shots after that and was 0 of 2 from the free-throw line.
"We weren't cutting with the same effectiveness as we were the first three quarters," Maag said. "We kind of stood around a little bit, and our offense got a little predictable."
Kuhlman had 12 points for Leipsic, while Brown and Derek Steffan each had six rebounds.
Geise finished with 10 points and Linhart eight for the Eagles. Cytlak and Linhart each grabbed seven rebounds.
Liberty-Benton (14-1, 6-0)
Cytlak 6-5--18, Darnall 1-0--2, Geise 3-2--10, Garver 2-0--5, Linhart 3-1--8, Rhodes 1-0--3, May 0-0--0. TOTALS: 16-50 8-11 -- 46.
Leipsic (13-3, 4-2)
Mangas 7-1--18, Steffan 1-4--6, Brown 3-0--6, Berrera 0-0--0, Schroeder 1-0--2, M. Kuhlman 0-0--0, Z. Kuhlman 4-0--12, Gerten 0-0--0. TOTALS: 16-37 5-7 -- 44.
Liberty-Benton 13 9 12 12 -- 46
Leipsic 13 11 18 2 -- 44
3-Point GOALS: Liberty-Benton 6-21 (Geise 2, Cytlak, Garver, Linhart, Rhodes); Leipsic 7-12 (Z. Kuhlman 4, Mangas 3).
rebounds: Liberty-Benton 27 (Cytlak & Linhart 7); Leipsic 23 (Brown & Steffan 6).
turnovers: Liberty-Benton 8, Leipsic 13.
junior varsity: Liberty-Benton, 43-36.
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