By John Bombatch
KETTERING — Jared Kieninger followed his coach’s orders, and it earned the Carroll Patriots a 46-44 win over Middletown Fenwick, in the second round of the Division II sectional basketball tournament at Trent Arena.
Just as Carroll coach Tim Cogan had instructed, Kieninger crashed the boards, snagged an offensive rebound and quickly put in a score as the buzzer sounded to give Carroll the dramatic win.
“T.K. (Robinson) drove in for the score, coach told us to go crash the boards, and I was just fortunate to go get the rebound and put it in there,” Kieninger said. “(T.K.) was on the left side and I was on the right, so if it was going to come to me, I knew I had a good chance of putting it in. We practice that play in every practice. To hit a game-winning shot like that, it’s awesome. I hit a shot to beat (Kettering) Alter, but that was with a couple seconds left to go. But this is my first buzzer beater. It just feels great to be able to get my team the win. All that hard work has paid off at practice. It’s a great feeling.”
Carroll had defeated its Greater Catholic League Co-Ed North Division rival twice during the regular season. The Patriots won in a low-scoring 28-18 affair in Middletown in early January, then they defeated the Falcons by eleven (44-33) on February 12. This was a good battle throughout.
“It was drawn up for one of our kids (T.K. Robinson) to drive to the hoop, he did, missed the shot, but then our big guy — Jared Kieninger, it couldn’t happen to a nicer kid — he got that rebound putback. He’s senior, a hard-working kid, and he’s very deserving of that memory for the rest of his life,” Cogan said.
D.J. Sommers led the Patriots (16-7) with a game-high 22 points, Stafford Stevens finished with 10 points and Kieninger scored all six of his points in the crucial final quarter of play.
Paul Blodgett led Fenwick (11-12) with 16 points and teammate Jimmy Gephart tossed in 14.
“We just needed to rebound the basketball, but we didn’t. Their kid came in and got a big rebound and score and it was the difference in the game, I give him a lot of credit. I’m sure that’s what his coach told them to do, because that’s what I told my kids to do when there was 12 seconds left, as soon as that shot goes up, everybody gets to the boards to come up with the rebound. Sometimes you get lucky, and other times they’re able to put the ball back in. Their coach does a great job over there. Tim (Cogan) has made wonderful strides up at Carroll, and I can’t say enough about their effort tonight. They do a great job,” Fenwick coach Pat Kreke said.
In the second game, no. 4 seed Dayton Thurgood Marshall trailed upstart and 15th seed Bellbrook after one quarter of play, but the Cougars adjusted their defense in the second half and were able to pull away from the Golden Eagles for a 54-32 win.
Bellbrook coach Perry Caldwell was very proud of his underdog Eagles performance.
“We thought in the first half we really had some things go our way. We shot the ball well, the balls bounced our way, and you could feel the crowd maybe rooting a little bit for the underdog. The tempo was to our advantage, we were able to keep the score to 20-17 at halftime,” Caldwell said. “We wondered what they were going to do to speed it up. And it was just ball pressure, not let us get into our sets, not let us run what we wanted to run. And every time we’d turn over the ball, they’d just make us pay.”
Bellbrook surprised everyone in the arena with 10-2 lead to start the game and a 15-14 first-quarter lead. But then Marshall coach Darnell Hoskins made some defensive adjustments and turned things around.
“I have a lot of respect for coach Caldwell and his staff over there,” Hoskins said. “But I felt the game would come down to our conditioning. I thought they might be around in the first few quarters, but I felt that we’d be the better team in that final quarter. The fourth quarter belonged to us.”
Darnell Hoskins, the coach’s son, led the Cougars with a game-high 23 points. Cleveland State was on hand to watch the standout senior play.
Bellbrook was led by John Bush who ended his playing career with a team-high 18 points. Brady Tincher, Ryan Everidge and Trent Nartker also played their final game for the Golden Eagles (7-17).
Carroll will face Marshall next in the sectional final, at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27 at Wright State University’s Nutter Center.