Rebounding is part of the game… and Saturday Reynoldsburg was more effective than the Cavaliers.
The game’s last rebound was a put back by Josh McCoy to end Chillicothe’s season and propel the Raiders into the next round of the tournament.
The Cavs trailed 61-58 with 28 seconds remaining. Tommy Bolte dropped in a three at 15 seconds to tie the game at 61. Reynoldsburg pushed the ball up the floor and McCoy followed up a miss with the Raiders’ 19th offensive rebound before the buzzer. With Raiders fans storming the floor, officials cleared them away and placed one second on the clock. Isaiah Johnson’s long inbounds pass was stolen at the other end by Ahston Dulin to deny Chillicothe its final shot at continuing the season.
“That hurt us” said Cavs Coach Eric Huffer. “They had a lot of opportunities… we did hit tough shots and they really picked up the pressure in the second half and that bothered us.”
The Cavs had won twelve of their previous thirteen matches. The season closed on a loss by the same margin as their previous three, by two-points. [CLICK HERE to see the Cavs 2013-14 season results]
Chillicothe (15-7), the lesser seeded team, traveled to 15th seeded Reynoldsburg Saturday. The Cavs were the aggressors early. Bolte, who led all scorers with 28, gave the Cavs a seven point lead, scoring the first 10-points. Isaiah Johnson (16 points) dropped in a baseline jumper over the first four minutes of the game. Bolte drained a three for a 15-7 Cavalier lead.
Reynoldsburg erased the margin, tying the game at 17 through the first period. Jarius Ward gave the Raiders their first lead hitting from beyond the arc at 20-17. Johnson dropped in another three knot the game at 24, then Nolan Taylor and Bolte teamed on a pair of field goals and the Cavs were back on top 29-24. The Raiders regained the lead with 1:35 left in the half but Johnson had the last say with another bomb to give the Cavs a 34-33 edge at the break.
There were 15 lead changes in the game, but the two clubs exchanged the lead on nine consecutive possessions during a 5-and-a-half-minute period in the middle of the game.
Trailing 44-40 with 3:51 left in the third quarter, Matt Benson and Johnson hit back-to-back baskets for a 44-44 tie. Bolte hit two more baskets and Nate Rosenbauer hit on a driving layup to give the Cavs a 51-44 lead through three quarters.
Then Reynoldsburg owned the last period, outscoring the Cavs 19-10.
The Raiders owned the edge in the rebound department 30-12 and at the line 9-of-12 to the Cavs’ 7-of-8. Chillicothe held the advantage in all the other categories: 23-of-41 field goals to 23-of-53, hit 8-of-13 3’s to 4-of-19 for ‘burg and 10 turnovers to the Raiders’ 11.
Other Cavs in the scoring column, Taylor with 8 points, Rosenbauer 7 and Benson 2. The Raiders had three players in double-figures, led by Travis Gleason’s 16, 14 by Ward and 12 for Lloyd Chatman.
“We stayed with them and we got after ‘em… I don’t know how many teams can say they can guard that team five-on-five like that, man-to-man, aggressively, too.”
The Raiders will host Briggs Friday night in the next round of the boys D-I Central District Tournament.
Chillicothe fans had much to be proud of their team this season. Huffer’s first high school head coaching experience notched a 15-7 overall mark, 10-2 in the SCOL.