By Rob Kiser
Piqua Daily Call
DEGRAFF — It didn’t come easy and there was a little breath holding at the end, but the Lehman Catholic boys basketball team is off to a 2-0 start in NWCC play and 2-1 overall after 46-44 victory over Riverside Friday night.
The Cavaliers led most of the game and still held a 46-42 lead with 34.5 seconds to go.
But, Riverside’s Lane Willoby scored to cut the lead to 46-44.
Lehman missed two free throws with 16 seconds to go to give Riverside one last chance.
The Cavalier defense didn’t make it easy and Riverside’s off-balance 3-pointer for the win bounced off the rim to give Lehman the road victory.
The game had been evenly played in the early going and Bryce Kennedy’s three put the game in an 8-8 tie at the end of the opening quarter.
Riverside gained the momentum early in the second quarter.
Two baskets by Willoby and a jumper by Wyat Auflick gave the Pirates a 14-10 lead with 2:50 remaining in the half.
But, Lehman went on a 10-0 run to take a 20-14 lead early in the second half.
It started with threes by Kennedy and Brendan O’Leary and Luke Frantz made a great save on an offensive rebound and dished it to Michael Denning before falling out of bounds and Denning converted to make it 18-14 at the half.
Elliott Gilardi scored on the first possession of the second half to make it 20-14.
And while Riverside closed within a point or two on a number of occasions, Lehman never lost the lead.
Willloby had 16 points in the second half and John Zumberger hit two threes in the fourth quarter and Kameron Schlumbohm added one to keep the Pirates close.
After Riverside closed within 34-32 with 4:08 remaining, Gilardi hit one of two free throws, O’Leary drilled a jumper and Denning sank two free throws to make it 39-34.
Frantz hit two free throws with 1:25 to go to make it 43-37, but Kyle Knight had a putback for Riverside.
Gilardi hit one of two free throws with 58.4 seconds left to make it 44-39, but Zumberger drilled a three at the other end to make it 44-42.
Gilardi hit two free throws with 34.2 seconds left to make it 46-42 and Lehman was able to hold on for the win.
O’Leary led the Cavaliers with 13 points, while Gilardi scored 10 points and Kennedy had 10 points and nine rebounds.
Frantz added eight points and six rebounds.
Willoby had 20 points and five rebounds for Riverside, while Knight added seven points and five rebounds.
Lehman was 15 of 37 from the floor for 41 percent and 11 of 19 from the line for 58 percent.
Riverside was 16 of 41 from the floor for 39 percent and nine of 12 from the line for 75 percent.
Lehman will be back in action tonight, hosting Houston.
Lehman Catholic (46)
Brendan O’Leary 5-1-13, Bryce Kennedy 4-0-10, Elliott Gilardi 3-4-10, Drew Barhorst 0-1-1, Luke Frantz 2-3-8, RJ Bertini 0-0-0, Michael Denning 1-2-4. Totals: 15-11-46.
Kameron Schlumbohm 2-0-5, Kyle Knight 2-3-7, Wyatt Auflick 3-0-6, Lane Willoby 7-6-20, Wade Auflick 0-0-0, Kaden Burk 0-0-0, John Zumberger 2-0-6, Hunter Hubble 0-0-0, Jaxon Heath 0-0-0. Totals: 16-9-44.
3-point field goals — Lehman Catholic: O’Leary (2), Kennedy (2), Frantz. Riverside: Schlumbohm, Zumberger (2).
Score By Quarters
Lehman Catholic 8 18 30 46
Riverside 8 14 26 44
Records: Lehman Catholic 2-1 (2-0).
Reserve score: Lehman Catholic 39, Riverside 36.
Contact Piqua Daily Call Sports Editor Rob Kiser at (937) 451-3334.