A back and forth first half turned into a defensive clinic after the break, as the 5th-ranked Fort Loramie Redskins improved to 18-1 with a convincing win over Marion Local.

Fort Loramie–For sixteen minutes, it was everything you could want from a high school basketball game.

Marion Local rolled into Fort Loramie with a 12-3 record, winners of 7 straight and nine of their last 10. The Flyers were coming off a 70-44 drubbing of Minster on Friday night.

The hometown Redskins, the fifth-ranked team in the state in Division four, carried a gaudy 17-1 mark and were also coming off a rout, 68-32 over Houston on Friday.

It was anybody’s game at the half, but Loramie’s defense took over in the second half and led the way to an impressive 47-35 victory.

Dillon Braun scores a second half basket in Saturday’s 47-35 Loramie win.

“I thought the second half was what we needed,” said Loramie head coach Corey Britton. “We weren’t very clean in the first half and missed some opportunities. Marion played really, really well in the first half, but we were a lot more locked in in the second half.”

“We thought it would be a low scoring game,” said Marion coach Kurt Goettemoeller. “They are a great defensive team, and I think we play good defense as well. I told the kids after the game that we are almost good enough defensively to get to the next level, but we are no where good enough offensively to get there.”

The first half was nothing but fun, featuring two ties and 8 lead changes. The Flyers held a four point lead in the final minute of the half, but Loramie’s Tyler Siegel tied the game with a thunderous two handed slam with 7 seconds left.

The deadlock lasted exactly 7 seconds, as Marion’s Justin Albers beat the buzzer with a three, giving the visitors a 25-22 advantage at the break.

After a performance by the always entertaining Troy Pop Rocks, Marion went stone cold from the field. Very,very,very cold.

Back to back to back hoops from Austin Siegel to open the half gave the Redskins a 30-25 lead. Nick Brandewie added a three to boost the lead to eight.

Meanwhile, the Flyers were missing at their end of the floor. Missing EVERYTHING. Shots from the wing, shots from the paint, shots from the baseline, nothing went in for the Flyers. Marion missed a couple of point-blank layups, and even missed two free throws in getting out-scored 13-0 in the period.

“Those three baskets by Austin (Siegel) really helped turn things in our favor,” Britton said. “We passed the ball and just played much better as a team. Overall, I was really happy with the way we played.”

The Flyers went almost 2 minutes into the fourth quarter before Nathan Bruns finally found the net, a scoreless drought of nearly ten minutes. Tyler Siegel scored 5 points in the final quarter and Nathan Raterman, back after missing several games with an injury, added a three for the Redkins to keep the Flyers from making anything resembling a comeback.

“We have to be more aggressive,”Goettemoeller explained. “We got some good shots in the second half, but were fading away on some of them. We have to go out and seek that contact and get to the line more. For as big as we are, we don’t get to the line nearly enough.

Loramie’s Evan Berning contests the shot attempt by Marion Local’s Collin Everman.

“It’s going to come down to how hard we work in the next month. We have to get a little more skilled yet, and we have to get more confident from the periemeter. Loramie wasn’t guarding some of our guys, and give them credit. They are very good, very well coached, and they really shut us down in the second half.”

The Redskins were 19 of 37 from the floor for 51%, compared to 15-47 for the Flyers, 32%. That includes 5 of 22 in the second half for 23%. Marion was 2 of 11 from the arc, compared to 2-8 for the Redskins. Marion also missed all four of it’s free throws in the second half, while the Redskins were a perfect 5 for 5.

Fort Loramie won the rebounding battle 26-22, and had 10 turnovers compared to 7 for the Flyers.

As mentioned, the loss was just the second in 11 games in the new year for the Flyers, and Goettemoeller said the big difference was a lack of consistency.

“Obviously, when you don’t score in the third quarter, and only score 10 points in the second half, you aren’t going to come in here and beat  a team that is 18-1 like Loramie is. I thought we played well enough defensively to win the game. We still have 6 regular season games left, some big games in the conference, so we will just go back to work.”

Britton said the Redskins are striving to get better every day.

“It doesn’t matter who we play, we have to play our best. We have to do the things every night that helps us win. This year, we have done a really good job of that, except for that one game. We have played extremely well, and have risen to the occasion every night. That is a credit to our kids, They don’t back down and they play as hard as they can every time out. I will go down with this group any day of the week.”