Ross rocks Columbian

FREMONT – Most teams have a pep band. Fremont Ross has a house band.

On the stage behind one of the baskets, a rock band called The Coincidence jammed out some tunes during timeouts and between quarters of the Little Giants’ game with Columbian Tuesday night.

The band played a pretty tight set, but it had nothing on the pressure Ross brought to Columbian at the end of the first half, which led to a 51-43 Little Giants win.

The Tornadoes had battled back from a cold first quarter – they trailed 9-4 at the first stop – to take a 16-15 lead after Alec Demith split a pair of free throws with 1:33 left in the half.

What followed was a 13-0 Ross run that stretched into the first minute of the third quarter. During the stretch, the Tornadoes were victimized by turnovers and didn’t attempt a shot from the floor.

It started with Tyler Wolf, who buried a 3 from the right corner to put the Little Giants back on top. After a TC miscue, Jack Gedeon converted a 3-point play. Another Tornado turnover was followed by Ross’ Alex Metcalf, who connected on a trey from the left corner five seconds before the first half buzzer.

Ross carried that momentum into the second half, getting back-to-back layups from Metcalf and Dylan Jagodzinski to increase its lead to 28-16.

“We just got a little out of whack,” Columbian coach Bill Beaston said after his team slipped to 7-14. “We didn’t get our press break set up the way we wanted to, we didn’t execute our screen and roll back the way we wanted to, an when you play a team like Fremont, that’s really aggressive with their pressure, you have to be exact, and that’s where we weren’t. I thought for the rest of the game we handled the pressure fine.”

Ross coach Mark Gedeon said his team did something different on defense at the end of the half.

“In that run, we did make a slight adjustment with our press,” Gedeon said. “We started to go through and double [Bryce] Lonsway. He’s there general. He’s the man that makes them go. I love watching him play over the last couple years. You like to see kids go out and compete, execute a gameplan and take a lot of pride in what they do. We knew we had to take him out of the game, and for that two minutes, I thought we did a very good job of forcing the ball into other people’s hands.”

Lonsway, who has been on fire as of late, was limited to just three points in the first half, and finished with 10.

Columbian was able to recover, and go into the fourth quarter down 37-27. Just like Friday night in Sandusky, the Tornadoes had a fourth quarter comeback in them. Unlike Friday, they weren’t able to complete it.

A 3 from the right wing by Lonsway cut the Little Giants’ edge to 44-37 with 3:14 left. After a stop, Demith cut the lead to 44-39 with a layup. At about the two-minute mark, Columbian had the ball back down five. But Lonsway missed a jumper, Ross got the rebound, and then it closed out the game.

“Our guys are fighters; they play to the final buzzer,” Beaston said. “That’s nothing we have to even talk about; they do it automatically.

“Unfortunately, Bryce didn’t make a shot there. I wouldn’t say it was a crucial moment, but a pivotal one. Cut it to three, maybe force them to call a timeout, maybe we can do something different, but bottom line, we didn’t shoot well tonight.”

Josh Flint had another big fourth quarter and finished the game with a team-leading 15 points. Derek Dryfuse had seven rebounds to go with five points.

Metcalf led Ross with 14 points, while Jack Gedeon had 10 and six rebounds.

It’s always an interesting game for the respective coaches. Lonsway was an assistant under Mark Gedeon at Ross for three years before taking over TC.

“I spent three years here, and it’s always good to catch up with coach,” Beaston said. “It’s a little hard to go home on the short end, but it’s still a positive experience coming over here.”

Next up for Columbian is Norwalk, the No. 2 team in Division II. The game is Friday in Tiffin.

“It’s gonna be a lot of fun for our kids,” Beaston said. “It may not ever happen again in their lifetime that they’re able to play the No. 2 team in the state. But the most important thing is, it’s senior night; we have three seniors we want to take care of and send them out in a positive fashion.”

Like a final encore at a rock show. Ross has the band for it.