BADGER-LABRAE Braves tighten top spot in standings
Ryan Miller scored the go-ahead basket with under two minutes to play.
By DOUG CHAPIN
LEAVITTSBURG -- Badger High created a tie atop the Trumbull Athletic Conference standings by completing a season sweep of LaBrae with a 55-50 victory Tuesday night.
Both teams are 10-3 in the league with three games to play.
"What they've done with their pressure defense suits their personnel and this floor," Badger coach Bill Bogan said of LaBrae. "For us to come over and hang our hat on our defense to win ... we're real pleased with that."
Pressure not enough: The Vikings have thrived on their pressure defense and enough 3-point shooting to keep defenses honest. Badger committed 17 turnovers, but played well defensively as LaBrae shot 3-of-15 from behind the arc and 20-of-54 overall.
"Recently they've hit a ton of 3's in transition," Bogan said. "We come into any game hoping we can take away something. Tonight the kids did a good job guarding the perimeter."
LaBrae coach Gregg Isler credited Badger's experience for their performance against the Vikings' pressure.
"They have a lot of experience," he said. "They've got a lot of guys with varsity experience and they did a nice job."
LaBrae (13-4) jumped out to a 13-4 lead and led 17-10 after one quarter and 27-23 at halftime. Badger (14-3) finally caught the Vikings at 34-33 with 3:08 remaining in the third quarter. Badger also scored the last eight points of the quarter for a 42-36 advantage.
Badger extended the lead to 46-38 with 5:15 remaining in the game, but Chad Carr made a 3-pointer and sank two free throws to cut the lead to 46-43. Brett Briscoe tied the game with a 3-pointer at the 2:29 mark.
Ryan Miller's basket put Badger ahead to stay, 48-46, with 1:54 to go. Brett Bell then tallied underneath off an inbounds play and was fouled, but missed the chance to increase the lead to five.
Sliced to three: The two teams went scoreless until LaBrae's John Klingensmith made the score 51-48 with 33 seconds remaining.
The Vikings had to foul and Josh Klingensmith made the first of two for a four-point lead with 23 seconds remaining. Logan rebounded the missed second shot and made one of two after he was fouled.
R.J. Grimm, who led all scorers with 16 points, scored for LaBrae with nine seconds remaining to make it 53-50 and a long inbounds pass by Badger hit the rafters, giving the Vikings a chance to tie with a 3-pointer.
However, Bell stole the inbounds pass, which led to two game-clinching free throws by Ryan Miller.
Josh Klingensmith had 12 points and seven rebounds for the Braves, who held a 32-24 rebounding edge. Bell grabbed eight rebounds for the Braves and had 11 points. Miller scored 13 points and Josh Upshire dished out seven assists.