The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

February 26, 2013

Jeff spurts past Conneaut

Falcons find a way past Conneaut; Lake looms next

SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP — A lot can happen in 50 seconds of tournament basketball.

Just ask the Conneaut Spartans.

After clawing their way to back within two points of the 11th-seeded Jefferson Falcons in a Division II sectional semifinal Tuesday night at Lakeside High school, the Falcons went on a 10-0 run spanning the final five seconds of the third and first 45 of the fourth to spark a 64-58 win.

After an Amen Gerics bucket cut the Jefferson lead to 41-39 with 20 seconds remaining in the third, Jacob Hamilton hit a bank shot as time expired to give the Falcons a 43-39 lead.

Troy Bloom opened the fourth with a triple then Brett Powers made a layup and converted a three-point play to give Jefferson a 51-39 lead.

“The kids made some plays,” Falcons coach Jeremy Huber said. “Brett Powers had a couple nice drives, Troy Bloom always seems to hit a timely 3 and he hit one. The guys executed some nice plays.”

Conneaut, the 10th seed, wasn’t able to stop the bleeding until a Bud Ritari bucket with 5:57 remaining.

“We talked about that, there were two three-minute stretches that really killed us,” Spartans coach Tim Tallbacka said. “With about 30 seconds left in the third quarter we were down two and by the seven minute mark we were down (12). We put them at the line way too much. They shot the heck out of the ball from the line.”

Conneaut (8-14) stayed within striking distance after the run, though.

A Mike Mirando 3 cut the deficit to 57-51, but as happened throughout the game, it was Powers who answered right back for the Falcons (8-15) to push it back up to 8.

Powers scored a game-high 18 points to lead Jefferson.

“Brett is another guy who can score, it’s nice to see the guys want to keep playing,” Huber. “They could’ve came out and folded. Brett made some nice drives to the basket, he works on it every day and we’re starting to see it.”

Powers credited his teammate for helping give him open looks.

“I was feeling pretty good, but my teammates were finding me and giving me the ball,” he said. “It’s nice (to win). This team is probably the closest I’ve been on a basketball team, we’re real connected with each other and it’s real nice to have that team chemistry.”

Conneaut got some looks in the closing moments off Jefferson turnovers, but Tallbacka’s group wasn’t able to find the bottom of the net.

That was a recurring theme for the Spartans on the night as they were just 3 of 20 from 3 and shot just 32.3 percent (20-62) from the field.

“We were 3 of 20 from the arc and we’re a team that usually take 15-20 3s a game and if we make seven, eight, nine of them, we look pretty good,” he said. “We make two or three plus the missed free throws...

“We thought there were some defensive breakdowns, too, but that being said if we make free throws and hit some of our 3s we’re in good shape.”

Conversely, Huber’s group was efficient across the board. Jefferson shot was 21-51 from the field (41.2 percent) and 19-28 from the line.

Huber felt much of that started with the play of senior point guard Jacob Hamilton, who had an impressive floor game with 11 points and led the Falcons in rebounding with six, assists with a game-high seven and also tied for at team-lead with two steals (Powers also had two).

“I’m happy for Jacob,” Huber said. “He’s sometimes not known for his offense, but he’s practiced it all year and he’s gotten better at it at the end of the year and we’re reaping the benefits of his hard work.”

The Falcons, who have relied on the scoring of Bloom throughout much of the year, got contributions throughout the lineup as Bloom had just five points.

Sophomore Lucas Hitchcock contributed 13 while freshman Jacob Adams added 10.

“Lucas Hitchcock has played two good games in a row for us,” Huber said. “He had 14 (in a win against Edgewood) and 13 (tonight). He kind of goes under the radar, Lucas is a competitor.”

The Spartans were led in scoring by Ritari’s 18 while Dylan Campbell kicked in 14.

A final close loss to end the season was appropriate for Tallbacka, who saw his team come out on the wrong end of several close decisions in compiling an 8-14 record.

“We had a lot of close games this year,” Tallbacka said. “We lost a couple buzzer beaters, a couple overtime games, the Edgewood games we were right there with them the whole way. I just told them, that game at Badger (a 51-47 win on Friday) we made a great comeback, that’s something we can be proud of. As many close games as we lost this year to still finish that shows the character they have.”

For Jefferson, the win sets up a rematch with top-seeded Lake Catholic on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

The Falcons fell at home to the Cougars, 87-48, on Feb. 12.

“Lake Catholic’s a heck of a team,” Huber said. “We’ll go back and watch our film and get into practice (today) and come up with some game plan. The kids have a lot of pride. They could’ve packed in, but they kept getting better every day and I credit their attitudes.

“In this day and age where you need that instant gratification, they’ve kind of waited and they’re getting their gratification now.”

Powers is excited to get a second game in the tournament, something Jefferson hasn’t accomplished in his first three years.

“It’s nice because in my four years it’s the first time we’ve won a playoff game and it feels good to get that one win,” he said. “It’s gonna be a big challenge, we played them a couple weeks ago, we were hanging with them for the first half and the second half they just went off. They beat us up down low, we just gotta box out and rebound.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • SB1 Let’s play another

    It pays to have the right hitters at the plate at the right time.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Outlaws roll again

    They may be Outlaws by name, but the Northeast Ohio-based Ohio Outlaws Gold are certainly running with the in crowd at the USA-ASA 16-and-under Nationals in Salem, Va.

    July 30, 2014

  • Don A Don McCormack column: Bearcat Gavorski on the mend

    Paying another visit to the variety store...

    On the mend
    Arguably the most decorated soccer player to every come out of the Star Beacon coverage area is down — temporarily — but anything but out.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tribe Not quite enough

    Although the Indians are still very much mathematically alive in the race for a postseason berth, they continue not to look like a playoff team. And when they have put a run together, they haven’t been able to maintain the habit of playing winning baseball.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Outlaws win opener

    The Ohio Outlaws Gold did not start well at the USA-ASA 16-and-under Nationals in Salem, Va. on Monday, but they sure did finish their opening encounter with a flourish.

    July 28, 2014

  • Racing remains at the fore

    Raceway 7’s Crate Late Models had an unsanctioned $1000 to win 25-lap feature with Kyle Zimmerman picking up the lion’s share of the glory after leading the entire distance for his first win of 2014.

    July 28, 2014

  • Coming attractions

    While it seems only yesterday school was letting out and summer vacation was starting, the time for respite will have the curtain drop for area high school football players this week.

    July 28, 2014

  • AREA HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SCRIMMAGES:

    TUESDAY, AUG. 12

    • Lake Catholic at Perry (10)

    July 28, 2014

  • Lexi Outlaws gunning for national title in Virginia

    There’s gold in their name and that’s just what the Ohio Outlaws Gold softball squad is gunning for at the USA-ASA 16-and-under Nationals this week in Salem, Va.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Brandon Easton A Don McCormack column:Easton on right pitch in Florida

    Paying a Monday morning visit to the variety store...

    Firing away
    The second summer as a professional baseball player has been an excellent one for Brandon Easton, to this point.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

Little League All-Stars July 1 to 12
AP NASCAR Lastest News
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
AP Auto Racing Photos
West Side Shootout 2014
Ashtabula County at State Track Meet
Jefferson vs Akron St. Vincent St. Mary Regional Softball
District Track 2014
Jefferson District Softball Tournament
Bob Walters 50 Years
Geneva vs Perry Division II District Semifinal
Sports Week in Review May 12 to May 17
Sports Week in Review May 5 to May 10 2014
Sports Week in Review April 28 to May 3
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video