Heidelberg’s season ends with tourney loss to Polar Bears

ADA – There were good numbers, if not a good result, for Heidelberg in the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament opener in Ada against Ohio Northern.

Five HU players scored in double figures. Two of the team’s three seniors – Nate Davis and Dane Givner – ended their collegiate careers with excellent finales.

And yet, the one thing Heidelberg struggled with all season came back to thwart it again Monday night:

Free-throw shooting.

Well, that and Ohio Northern’s Jared Horstman.

Horstman had 30 points, eight rebounds and four steals as Ohio Northern advanced with a 79-71 win. Horstman also was five of five from the foul line, one of four ONU players to be perfect at the stripe.

The Polar Bears’ Isaiah Roux went 11 of 11 at the line, and finished with 15 points. Overall, Ohio Northern was 25 of 29 shooting free throws.

HU struggled at the line, going 13 of 24. Davis was four of 11.

Still, Davis had a brilliant game otherwise, with 16 points, 18 rebounds and six blocks. Givner had 19 points and three steals.

It was the final game for both. Also graduating is Quinten Aden, who was out with an injury.

“They left a legacy of athleticism and battling,” Heidelberg coach Anthony Gholson said of his seniors. “They battled all the time.”

As for the loss, Gholson said it came down to a few things.

“That was two things you gotta do,” Gholson said. “You’ve got to make free throws, you can’t have turnovers.”

Heidelberg had 17 turnovers on the evening.

“Seventeen turnovers against a team that doesn’t press,” Gholson said. “[But] our guys are fighters and battlers, and that’s what we take forward moving into next year.”

ONU (13-13) held the lead for most of the game, though Heidelberg kept it close until the final minute. The Student Princes trailed by as many as nine in the first half, but rallied to take a lead just before the break. The Polar Bears regained the advantage, but a 3-pointer by Givner at the first-half buzzer tied the game at 35.

In the second half, a Roux layup gave the Polar Bears a 52-43 advantage with 12:14 left, but Heidelberg came back to tie it at 60 on a Davis layup with 6:08 remaining.

ONU was still clinging to a 64-62 edge with 3:24 left, but then went on a 7-0 run to put Heidelberg away.

Heidelberg ends its season at 11-15. ONU travels to Wilmington today for the next round of the OAC Tournament.

Jackson Blue had 11 points and seven rebounds for Heidelberg in the loss, while Mike Petrie had 12 points, three assists. Ishaam Smith had 10 points.