Fort Loramie slowed the pace against a New Miami team that averaged 69 points during the regular season. New Miami, making its second straight district final appearance, pulled to 25-20 on Deanza Duncan’s three-pointer. Loramie responded with a 20-8 run the rest of the third quarter.
It started with a Caeleb Meyer three-pointer on a third-chance opportunity, was followed by Nate Meyers’ basket and foul and continued by Damon Mescher’s basket and three-pointer midway through the quarter. Loramie beat New Miami’s full-court press consistently, including scores by Nick Brandewie and a couple more by Caeleb Meyer.
Garrett Heitkamp made his mark on Jackson Center’s district championship with his defense.
Fort Loramie’s quarter, though, was summed up by Devin Ratermann’s basket to cap the quarter. Ratermann missed a floater down the lane with a couple seconds left. Instead of letting the clock run out, he kept the rebound alive on a tip, pulled it down and laid in a shot to just beat the buzzer. The Redskins led 45-28.
New Miami never scored more than four field goals in any one quarter. In the first half, nine of their 17 points came on free throws.
“We didn’t work much offense much at all this week,” Caeleb Meyer said. “We worked a lot on box out drills against our scout team and they really pushed us hard.
“We wanted to get back (on defense), get a hand up and use our length to our advantage. If they hit a couple in front of us just live with it.”
Jackson Center’s seniors celebrate another district title.
And New Miami died by it, despite what one fan shouted early in the game. The Vikings were having success driving inside and getting fouls – they finished 14-of-21 from the free-throw line – prompting a Vikings’ fan to shout “They can’t play defense!” to encourage more of the same.
But instead New Miami started launching from the outside. A team averaging 24 field goals per game finished with 11 against Loramie.
“(Fort Loramie’s) well-schooled,” New Miami coach Jared Lee said, launching into a scouting report on the Redskins’ defense. “They’re never out of position. They’re very physical. There’s no free cuts to the basket. They really extend out on your shooters when they need to. They pack the lane. You just don’t get an easy look. This game is an awful lot about how many open baskets you get. They got more open looks than we did tonight and they didn’t miss them.”
“They brought the fight. They brought the energy, the intensity,” Fort Loramie coach Corey Britton said of his Redskins. “When you get ahead in tournament games it makes life a little easier.”
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Unofficially, Fort Loramie outrebounded New Miami 31-10. The Vikings, who average 32 rebounds per game, were held to four offensive rebounds. The lack of second-chance points – as well as the Vikings’ settling for deep three-pointers that were off target – contributed to a season low in points. The previous low was 44 in a win against Cincinnati Seven Hills.
2020 Fort Loramie – Division IV – Basketball District Champs
“We couldn’t get a rebound,” Lee said. “You give any team three and four shots on one possession and they’re going to be a pretty good shooting team. They took advantage of it.
“They didn’t let us make a run. Every time we got a bucket they got one or two themselves. Any time we made a mistake defensively they crushed us on it. Hat’s off. That’s an incredibly well-coached team.”
Caeleb Meyer led Fort Loramie with 17 points for division IV district title win over New Miami.
Caeleb Meyer led Fort Loramie with 17 points, Nate Meyer added 14, Mescher nine and Grant Albers seven.
“It feels amazing. People doubted us this year,” Caeleb Meyer said. “They didn’t think we’d make it this far. We proved them wrong.”
They certainly made believers of New Miami. The Vikings’ trio of Duncan (22 points per game), Jordan Robinette (15.5 ppg) and Trey Robinette (13.5 ppg) combined to average 51 of the Vikings’ 69 points during the regular season. They managed to score 29 against the Redskins. Duncan led the way with 12, J. Robinette had 13 and T. Robinette four. All three juniors have surpassed 1,000 career points.
“I’m just so proud of our kids. They’ve come together through the course of the year,” Britton said. “They’ve listened. They’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do. I’m just so happy for them that they get to reap the benefits of another district championship.
“It speaks volumes to the types of kids we have. They’re gritty, they’re tough. They’ll run through a brick wall for each other. I can’t speak enough about our kids. I love them to death. I don’t know if I express that enough to them. Our kids are awesome. … When you have kids like that anything is possible.”