Chillicothe Coach Eric Huffer’s homecoming was everything he thought it would be… a tough, physical contest. And what the McClain graduate had hoped for, 53-48 Cavalier victory.
It’s the Cavs’ tenth win in their last eleven games.
The Cavs and Tigers exchanged leads through most of the first quarter, but Chillicothe took control on back-to-back three-pointers by Tommy Bolte, who scored 10 of the Cavs’ first 15 points. Eddie Wells tacked on a long range bomb to give Chillicothe an 18-12 lead at the end of the period.
McClain scraped its way back into the contest on six consecutive free throws to knot the game at 18 through the first four minutes of the second period, then the Cavs put together a string of field goals by Matt Benson, Isaiah Johnson and Bolte to go back up 24-18.
The Tigers have struggled from the perimeter throughout the season, but Mikel Pritchard and Evan Mustard drained a pair of three’s for the game’s second tie at 26-all. Nate Rosenbauer gave the Cavs a 29-26 edge on a shot from top just before halftime.
Out of the break, McClain worked to tie on a three-point play by postman Ryan Faulconer. The teams battled through five ties in the third quarter and once more at 41 to open the fourth.
The Tigers raced ahead of Chillicothe 48-41 as the Cavs missed their first five shots of the period. Faulconer hit a tip-in with just over five minutes remaining for the seven point spread. However, it would be the final field goal of the night. The end margin could have been a wider spread, but Chillicothe sank just 7-of-13 free throws to close out the game.
"They (McClain) did a good job of switching out aggressively on us and getting us to catch the ball far out" said Huffer. "and that's a typicl Greenfield team."
“It’s been a problem all year long” said McClain Coach Joe Wisecup. “We have trouble closing out good ball clubs late like this… and Chillicothe’s a good ball club.” Greenfield shot 51% for the game and made 4-of-six shots in the fourth, but didn’t do themselves any favors at the charity stripe, missing three attempts in the final two and a half minutes while Chillicothe got the separation at the end.
The Cavs forced 12 McClain turnovers and dropped in 19-of-40 field goals and 5-of-11 three balls.
Bolte lead all scorers with 25. Johnson scored 11 while Matt Benson (9), Nate Rosenbauer (5) and Wells (3) combined for another 17.
Faulconer paced the Tigers with 16 points. Pritchard had 13, Mustard 11 and Thomas Schrader 8.
Chillicothe (13-6/9-2) hosts Portsmouth in its final home game of the season. McClain (7-11/4-7) will host Westfall Tuesday night in a non-conference battle.