By Bryant Billing
KETTERING — Russia cut a 10-point Fort Loramie lead down to two in the final seconds of a Division IV regional semifinal on Tuesday at Trent Arena in Kettering, but the Redskins held on.
Russia couldn’t complete a last-second 3-pointer, and Fort Loramie held on to win 48-45. The victory puts Fort Loramie in a regional final on Friday against Marion Local, which beat Catholic Central in Tuesday’s first semifinal.
Fort Loramie led by six points at halftime. Tyler Siegel and Dillon Braun opened the third with a basket and 3-pointer to push Fort Loramie’s lead to 25-14, but Russia responded with a 6-0 run (with four points coming at the line) to cut the lead to 25-20 with 5:20 left.
The Redskins (25-2) pushed their lead to double digits quickly, though.
Evan Berning completed a 3-point play to put Fort Loramie ahead 32-23 with 2:41 left, then Siegel scored a basket in the paint with 1:50 left to put the Redskins ahead by 11.
Russia (16-9) pulled within six points on a basket by Evan Monnier with 2:02 left, but he fouled out shortly after by fouling Braun. Braun made two foul shots, then Siegel made a put-back with 1:33 left to boost Fort Loramie’s lead 44-34.
The Raiders battled back to pull within two points with 13 seconds left, thanks in part to a 3-point play and 3-pointer by Jordan York. Berning made a foul shot with five seconds left, and after a timeout, Russia worked the ball up the court and shot a 3 from the right wing, which was an air ball at the buzzer.
Braun led Fort Loramie with 17 points while Nick Brandewie scored 10. York led Russia with 15 while Daniel Kearns scored 13 and Jack Dapore scored 10.
Braun hit a jumper and a 3-pointer from the right wing to cap off a 7-0 run to start the game for the Redskins. Russia scored the next four points and later pulled within 9-6, but Eli Rosengarten gave Fort Loramie a 12-6 lead at the end of the first quarter after hitting a 3 from the right wing with 1:09 left.
Kearns opened the second with consecutive baskets to pull Russia within 12-10 by the 6:33 mark, but Fort Loramie responded with an 8-0 run that Braun capped with a jumper and 3-pointer. Russia scored the last two baskets of the quarter to pull within 20-14 at halftime.
Marion Local 55, Catholic Central 33
The Flyers put away Catholic Central in the second half to advance to Friday’s regional final. Marion Local led 17-5 after the first quarter, but the Irish used an 11-6 scoring advantage in the second quarter to pull within 21-15 at halftime.
Marion Local (22-4) finished the third quarter on a 6-0 run to take a 37-25 lead and outscored Catholic Central 18-8 in the fourth.
Fort Loramie beat the Flyers 47-35 in a home nonconference game on Feb. 3. Marion Local coach Kurt Goettemoeller said he expects Friday’s game to be a battle.
“In my mind, looking at this (regional) last summer, it was always going to be Loramie,” Goettemoeller said. “We didn’t know if we could get to this point, but we knew if we could get to this point, it was going to be Loramie. They’re just a heck of a basketball team and extremely well-coached.”
Nathan Bruns led the Flyers with 20 points while Tyler Mescher scored 12 and Justin Albers added 10.