After allowing a six-point lead to slip away in the fourth quarter on Tuesday, Washington Court House rebounded in overtime to hold host Logan Elm scoreless in posting a 57-50 non-league win.
The Blue Lions (3-8) won for the second time in as many tries this season against a Pickaway County opponent.
Dillon Steward made 10 of his 11 free throws en route to a team-high 21 points, while also adding six rebounds. Evan Upthegrove followed with 16 points and Blaise Tayese added seven.
“I felt like we had an advantage coming into the game of attacking Logan Elm off the dribble,” Blue Lions coach Shannon Bartruff said. “When we got the ball moving, we did a nice job of attacking back closeouts, we got a few post up opportunities and some second-chance points.
“When we move the basketball like we’re capable of we have four-to-five guys who can take you off the dribble and have an ability to score.”
Washington entered the fourth quarter with a 40-34 advantage.
Jeremy Wietelmann scored the first six points of the fourth quarter for the Braves (5-9) and, following a free throws from Evan Huffman, Isaac Ward went to work by scoring the final nine points of the period for the home team.
A three-pointer from the right wing by Ward completed a run of seven-straight points for the Braves to tie the game for the first time since the second quarter at 50-50 with 1:46 remaining.
“We didn’t shoot the ball very well tonight, but I’m proud of the way our guys competed defensively to keep us in the game,” Braves coach Doug Stiverson said. “That’s something we couldn’t have said about this group earlier in the season and it shows how they’re developing at the varsity level.
“Jason Sailor and Gabe Chalfin really dug in and competed. Jared Harrington and Luke Watson got some key rebounds for us and then Isaac Ward isn’t afraid to stick his nose in there at both ends. That gave us time to make some shots and get to the line to tie the game.”
Following a turnover by the Blue Lions, the Braves had two looks at the basket to try and take their first lead since the opening quarter. While they failed to convert on either shot, they retained possession with two offensive rebounds.
Logan Elm elected to try and run the last 50 seconds off the clock for the final shot of regulation, but an errant pass turned the ball back over to the Blue Lions with 7.7 seconds remaining.
Following three timeouts by the two squads, the Braves switched into a zone to try and cut penetration to the basket for the Blue Lions. Upthegrove got a clean look at a three from the left wing that missed the mark, sending the game to overtime.
The Blue Lions took the lead for good in overtime on a layup from Upthegrove with 2:32 remaining. Following a turnover by the Braves, Trevor Rarick putback a missed shot to increase the advantage to 54-50 with 1:55 left.
From there, the Blue Lions used three free throws from Steward to put icing on the win.
Logan Elm was held to 0 of 7 shooting — all three-pointers — in overtime and also had two turnovers.
“Our guys keep playing and keep competing, which is a positive tract for us to build on, but I felt like we were a little tired there in overtime,” Stiverson said.
The Braves opened the game by scoring the first five points on a triple off the hands of Wietelmann and a layup from Ward, but the Blue Lions eventually battled back to tie the game at 13-13 following a jumper from Steward to end the quarter.
Washington was effective at getting the ball to the basket, especially during the first half, to either score from the field or draw a foul to get to the free throw line.
The Blue Lions hit six free throws in the first quarter and all 12 they attempted in the first half en route to a final tally of 19 free throws on 26 (73.1 percent) attempts.
Washington held Logan Elm scoreless for nearly the first half of the second quarter to put together an 8-0 run that included old-fashioned three-point plays from Steward and Upthegrove to take a 21-13 lead.
“Steward and Upthegrove are two of the better athletes that we’ll face all season, because they’re long and have an ability to create their own shot,” Stiverson said.
The Braves missed their first six shots of the second quarter, two free throws and had two turnovers until Ward ended the dry spell by taking a feed from Harrington and draining a three-pointer.
Washington took its largest lead of the night at 29-18 following a trey from the left corner by Steward, but a triple from Wietelmann in the left corner cut the Blue Lions’ lead down to 29-21 at halftime.
The Blue Lions shot 17 of 40 (42.5 percent) from the field, while the Braves were just 16 of 53 (30.1 percent), including 8 of 37 (21.6 percent) from three-point range. Logan Elm hit 10 of 15 (66.7 percent) free throws.
“I felt we were locked in on defense during the first half,” Bartruff said. “We normally don’t switch a lot, but we switched everything — down screens, flares, dribble penetration — so we could stay with their action. We knew coming into the game that Coach Stiverson has done a very good job of coaching his young guys and that they have the ability to score points in bunches.
“I felt like down the stretch that we started gambling by going for steals and jumping into gaps, which led to 5-on-4 where Logan Elm could kick out for an open three or get to the basket where we fouled them. We came into the game wanting to keep in front of them.”
Washington held a 34-22 advantage on the glass, with Rarick leading the way with eight, and had 16 turnovers compared to 11 for Logan Elm.
“We had too many unforced turnovers tonight, where the ball got stale and one kid was dribbling the air out of it instead of moving the basketball. That led to a lot of soft turnovers,” Bartruff said. “When we move the basketball, we can do some nice things as a team.”
Ward poured in a game-high 22 points, Wietelmann had 15 points and four rebounds and Huffman added seven points and four rebounds for the Braves, who were without the services of senior Cody Anderson due to an injury. Anderson is second on the team in points per game (11.2) and first in rebounding (4.2).
The Braves resume Mid-State League Buckeye Division play on Friday at Fairfield Union and return home on Saturday to take on Athens for a non-league game.
The Blue Lions are back in Frontier Athletic Conference action Friday at Jackson with the j-v game at 6 p.m.
Washington will host the Grandview Heights Bobcats Saturday with the j-v game starting at 5:30 p.m.
Other scores of area interest from Tuesday:
Waverly 80, Hillsboro 56
New Lexington 56, Circleville 43
Jackson 68, South Webster 46
Harvest Prep 86, Chillicothe 77
Zane Trace 51, Western (Latham) 47
Unioto 58, Paint Valley 32
Huntington 46, Adena 29
Westfall 63, Zane Trace 21
Amanda Clearcreek 57, Logan Elm 48
Circleville 34, Bloom Carroll 33
Ross SE 55, Piketon 23
SCORE BY QUARTERS
W 13 16 11 10 — 57
LE 13 8 13 16 — 50
WASHINGTON — Steward 5-10-21, Upthegrove 6-3-16, Matthews 1-0-3, O’Flaherty 1-3-5, Tayese 2-3-7, Rarick 2-0-5. Three-point goals — Steward, Upthegrove, Matthews and Rarick. TOTALS — 17-40 19-26 57.
LOGAN ELM — Luke Watson 1-0-2, Huffman 2-1-7, Wietelmann 4-4-15, Ward 7-5-22, Sailor 2-0-4. Three-point goals — Ward (3), Wietelmann (3) and Huffman (2). TOTALS — 16-53 10-15 50.
Brad Morris is the Sports Editor of the Circleville Herald.