The Braves turned back Newton Falls 64-53 to share the league title with LaBrae.
By BOB ROTH
NEWTON FALLS -- A gentleman leaving the Newton Falls High gymnasium Friday after Badger had clinched a tie for the Trumbull Athletic Conference title with a 64-53 overtime victory was overheard commenting to a friend.
"That was the best five bucks we will ever spend."
With the overtime 36 seconds old, senior Ryan Miller scored for a 51-49 Badger lead, but 14 seconds later scrappy junior guard Jeff Stanley had a field goal and a free throw to put Newton Falls on top 52-51.
It was the 21st lead change of the contest and the last lead for the Tigers as a Brett Bell free throw for Badger (17-3, 13-3) made the game's 13th tie at 52-52. Miller, who had 23 points, then scored on a putback basket at the 2:56 mark for the go-ahead points.
Leading the way: Down the stretch of overtime, junior Jeff Logan, off the Badger bench, scored four of his 13 points and senior Josh Klingensmith, who had 11 points, had a clinching field goal inside the final minute of the overtime.
"This was a great game, with Newton Falls giving us the battle we expected," Badger coach Bill Bogan said.
"Our defensive intensity finally wore them down in overtime when they made several mistakes they hadn't made in the entire game."
Miller was 5 of 9 with his 3-point shots, hitting a trio of them in the third quarter when he was answering a long-range barrage by the Tigers.
"Miller has been consistent all season and he came up big tonight when we needed it," Bogan said.
Of Logan, Bogan said, "[He] would be a starter for a lot of other teams. He never complains and always gives us great team play."
Rebound edge: The rebounding battle went to Badger, 29-22, but the Braves also suffered 22 turnovers, due in part to a Newton Falls defense that was all over the court and never stopped hustling.
Stanley, with 12 points, was the only double figure scorer for Newton Falls.
He added five steals.
The game's top rebounder was Tigers senior Eric Lance, with 11 boards, as Newton Falls finished its regular season at 15-5, 11-5.
"Badger, with their great play, deserves to be a league champion," Newton Falls coach Roy Sembach said.
"Tonight their experience was definitely a difference and so was their shot selection."