TAC BOYS Champion can't contain LaBrae
The Vikings stayed tied with Badger atop the conference standings.
By BOB ROTH
LEAVITTSBURG -- The LaBrae High boys basketball team entered Tuesday's game against visiting Champion with the pressure on the Vikings' shoulders.
And they came through.
With 7 minutes, 11 seconds remaining in the game and LaBrae trailing 51-39, the Vikings went on a 12-0 run to tie the game and senior R.J. Grimm scored nine more points the rest of the way to lead LaBrae to a 64-59 victory in Trumbull Athletic Conference action.
Down the stretch: "We had some guys step up and make big plays down the stretch tonight," LaBrae coach Gregg Isler said. "It's been happening all season."
Grimm scored 11 of his 14 points in the final 2:28 and senior Maurice Hightower came off the bench to add six points during a crucial fourth-quarter run for LaBrae (15-4, 12-3). The Vikings stayed tied with Badger -- which also won Tuesday night -- atop the TAC standings.
"We had to do something and things fell my way at the end," Grimm said. "I am sure glad that's how it worked out."
Senior John Klingensmith led LaBrae with 15 points.
"Any game with Champion is big because of our great rivalry with them, but this being our last game as seniors at home and what it meant in the conference race, we told ourselves we were not going to lose, and we didn't let it happen," said Klingensmith.
Junior Brett Briscoe had 11 rebounds and four steals for the Vikings.
"We know what we have to do to be a league champion and now we have a bigger game with Girard Friday," Briscoe said.
Added Isler: "We have worked hard for 19 games to get ourselves in a position to win one more."
Middle quarters: The Flashes (11-8, 8-7) trailed 21-10 after the first quarter, but out-scored LaBrae 22-4 in the second quarter to take a 32-25 halftime lead. They took a 49-39 lead after three quarters.
Kevin Stingel led the Golden Flashes with 15 points and Josh Ozanich added 14. Mark Kish scored 14 points and 12 rebounds and senior Craig Allen had nine rebounds.
"I am extremely disappointed with this loss," Champion coach Jeff Rasile said. "The kids got tentative with the lead and LaBrae picked up their intensity. But give them credit, they responded like a championship team should."