Lincolnview’s Ethan Kemler took an inbounds pass from Alek Bowersock and converted a layup as time expired to cap a 15-0 run that gave the Lancers an improbable 58-57 victory over visiting Van Wert in the season opener for both teams on Saturday.
Lincolnview’s Ethan Kemler (10) puts up a game winning buzzer beater against Van Wert. Kemler finished with 16 points. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent
“We run a couple of back door out of bounds plays and that’s just one of them we ran (tonight),” Lincolnview head coach Brett Hammons said of the winning play. “I learned it in college and we’ve run it at every level I’ve been here and we save it for times like this.
“It gives you enough time to catch and shoot and Alek made a perfect throw,” Hammons added. “I thought Zane Miller set a perfect screen for Ethan, and we couldn’t have asked for much better look with that much time on the clock.”
After back to back steals and baskets by LeTrey Williams and Nate Place, Van Wert (0-1) led 57-43 with 4:35 left in the game, but a bucket by Miller, a three pointer by Logan Williams and another basket by Miller pulled the Lancers to with seven, 57-50 with 3:33 left. A steal and bucket by Salinas, then a shot by Kemler trimmed the deficit to 57-54 with 1:39 left. A shot by Kyle Wallis made it a one point game with 17 seconds remaining, setting up Kemler’s heroics.
“We missed free throws and the last play of the game we knew exactly what they were going to do,” Van Wert head coach Mark Bagley said. “There are no excuses, give all the credit to Lincolnview, because they finished the game and we didn’t.”
“It hurts, it burns, it stings, but this game won’t define us,” Bagley continued. “It’s one game and it’s my job to make sure we get better fundamentally. We weren’t very good fundamentally tonight – we missed layups and gave them layups to get back in the game and that’s what hurts when you lose by one.”
Balanced scoring gave Lincolnview (1-0) an 18-14 lead after one quarter, including a three-quarters court shot by Collin Overholt at the buzzer, but the Cougars used consecutive treys by Owen Treece, Clayton Proffitt and Nate Place to spark a 16-5 scoring run halfway through the second quarter to lead 32-25 at halftime.
A quick basket by Nate Place put the Cougars up 34-25 in the third quarter, but the Lancers cut the deficit to six, 45-39, before Van Wert closed out the scoring with two baskets by Place and a bucket by Jake Hilleary to make it a 51-39 game going into the final period.
“We switched up defenses, we chipped away and our guys made some big plays,” Hammons said of the comeback. “We had seniors out there and they made senior laden plays and that’s what you want your leaders to do.
I’m just proud of the way they battled back and chose not to give up. That shows a lot of the character they have.”
Kemler finished with a team high 16 points for Lincolnview, while Miller finished with 10. Place led Van Wert with 21 points and LeTrey Williams tallied 11.
The Cougars will host Parkway on Friday, while the Lancers will play at Upper Scioto Valley on Friday, then will host Contintenal on Saturday.
Lincolnview 18 7 14 19 – 58
Van Wert 14 18 19 6 – 57
Lincolnview: Jorge Salinas 4-0-8; Logan Williams 4-0-8; Ethan Kemler 8-0-16; Collin Overholt 1-0-3; Kyle Wallis 4-0-2; Alek Bowersock 1-0-2; Jake Bowersock 0-1-1; Creed Jessee 1-0-2; Zane Miller 4-1-10
Van Wert: Owen Treece: 2-1-7; Nate Place 10-0-21; Blake Henry 3-1-7; Drew Bagley 1-0-2; LeTrey Williams 5-1-11; Lawson Blackmore 2-0-4; Clayton Proffitt 1-0-3; Jake Hilleary 1-0-2.
JV: Van Wert 46-36