LEXINGTON - It makes it awfully hard to come back when the opponent won't miss.
Seneca East set itself up perfectly Friday night against Ontario in the Division III Sectional Final at Lexington High School.
Down just two, 32-30, with possession of the ball to start the fourth quarter, the Tigers came out and Jamie Schafer fired and missed.
Missing wasn't really part of Ontario's vocabulary in the fourth quarter.
Blake Balogh buried a 3-pointer to start a 9-0 run and Ontario didn't let up until it had ousted Seneca East, 57-39.
"Our team battled hard," Seneca East coach Joe Bedingfield said. "To go into the fourth quarter, down two, against Ontario with these kids shows a lot of our improvement this year, from where we started to where we are now. ... I think we did everything we could [tonight]. I have 12 kids in that locker room that stuck with it and I think they won their first game in five years in the tournament and had a chance to play for some history here for Seneca East."
Ontario 57, Seneca East 39
Seneca East (11-11): Ben Hahler 4-5-13; Billy Diehm 3-3-12; Jake Michaels 3-0-6; Nathan Phillips 2-0-5; Jamie Schafer 1-1-3; Adam Bauman 0-0-0. Totals: 13-9-39.
Ontario (14-7): Cameron Mack 9-3-21; Blake Balogh 3-0-8; Kenton Barry 1-6-8; Drew Boatwright 3-0-6; Tyler Boatwright 2-2-6; Wyatt Clemens 1-2-4; Ben Flaugher 1-0-2; Mitchell Phelps 1-0-2; Brandon Wagner 0-0-0. Totals: 21-13-57.
Seneca East710139 - 39
Ontario1311825 - 57
Field goals: Seneca East 13-46; Ontario 21-45.
3-point goals: Seneca East 4-16 (Diehm 3, Phillips); Ontario 2-9 (Balogh 2).
Foul shots: Seneca East 9-13; Ontario 13-18.
Rebounds: Seneca East 28 (Schafer 9, Hahler 7); Ontario 32 (Mack 13).
Turnovers: Seneca East 12; Ontario 9.
In the quarter, Ontario (14-7) missed just once from the field (9 of 10). Cameron Mack missed but tipped in his miscue just as quickly as it came off the rim. He was responsible for Ontario's three other misses: all at the free throw line, where the Warriors were 6 of 9. He can be forgiven since he had a double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds, adding four steals and three blocks.
Meanwhile, Seneca East (11-11) managed a 3 of 11 effort from the field in the fourth quarter.
"Ontario's a good club and they closed out the game well," Bedingfield said. "Our kids were a little gassed I think with the tempo (Ontario) plays. They wore us down in the fourth quarter and that was the big difference."
Ontario point guard Tyler Boatwright said his team needed to step up defensively.
"We just weren't bringing the defensive intensity and that's what we had to pick up in the second half and that's why we got way up," he said. "We just had penetrate more (offensively) and kick and get it down to our bigs."
Ontario paid an awful lot of attention to Billy Diehm, who was Seneca East's top scorer this year. Nearly every time he had the ball, the defense collapsed on him, hindering his lethal 3-point shooting. He did get loose enough to get three triples on his way to 12 points.
"He's a great shooter and that's who we had on our scouting report to watch so I think we did pretty good for him tonight," Boatwright said.
For the second straight game, Seneca East's Ben Hahler was a game changer. He had 13 points, seven rebounds and four blocks. But not all his points came on the block. In fact, Ontario held a 32-8 advantage with points in the paint, which largely came off Ontario's quickness and scoring in transition.
"He was big just like he was in our victory over Bucyrus (on Tuesday)," Bedingfield said.
Ontario got up as many as 10 in the second quarter before the Tigers began their comeback.
The Warriors were 21 of 45 from the field on the night. They held a 32-28 rebounding advantage with Jamie Schafer pacing the Tigers with nine. Seneca East finished the night 13 of 46 from the floor.
"We had a one-possession game going into the fourth quarter and you can't ask for much more than that," Bedingfield said. "It was a great effort from these kids and I'm going to miss the seniors. They gave me everything they could this week and I appreciated it."
Ontario coach Joe Balogh was unavailable for comment after the game as he left immediately after the contest to scout his team's next opponent in Sandusky. The Warriors will face Millbury Lake at Norwalk on Tuesday after the Flyers beat Huron, 51-46.