Upper Sandusky season ended by Lexington

BUCYRUS – One thing about Upper Sandusky coach Shane Adams.

He doesn’t have a problem shouldering the blame after a loss.

Adams was repeatedly critical of his own performance in an interview after the Rams fell in the sectional finals to Lexington, 55-39.

It was the second-consecutive season Upper Sandusky’s season ended at the hands of the Minutemen, and the second year in a row it ended in Bucyrus.

“Everything we tried to do didn’t happen,” Adams said. “But that’s my fault. I need to do a better job preparing our team. I’m the reason we fell short. Credit to Lexington.”

Lexington (16-7) opened the game on a 13-2 run, forcing the Rams into seven first-quarter turnovers.

“That’s how they play,” Adams said of the Minutemen. “They want to get up early; they’re going to do different things. They’re gonna get in the passing lanes. The thing they have that we don’t is a lot of depth. So they can get in, reach, try to poke the ball away.

“Our No. 1 goal tonight was to take care of the ball. We knew that would be the key to winning, and when we didn’t it led to easy turnovers. We knew that was going to happen.”

Still, the Rams almost dug themselves out of the early hole with a burst that began late in the first quarter. Joe Reile hit a 3 from the left side with 11 seconds left to make it 13-5. Moments later, the Rams stole a Lexington pass and Stuart Young was fouled going to the basket with eight-tenths of a second left. Young converted the ensuing free throws to make it 13-8 at the stop.

Reile continued Upper Sandusky’s momentum with a right-corner 3 with 7:10 left in the half, but Lexington responded with 7-0 run of its own.

“We knew, coming against an opponent like Upper (13-11), that they’re gonna play hard. They’re gonna play hard for 32 minutes,” said Lexington assistant Mike Grist. “One of the things we’ve been preaching all year is that basketball’s a game of runs, and it’s not nessecarily when you make it, but how you respond to it.”

After Reile’s 3 at the beginning of the quarter, Lexington outscored the Rams 18-4 until the half. Logan Baslin, who was active all night, scored six of his 15 points during the stretch. Mason Willeke also had a big night. He led Lexington with 19 points.

Meanwhile, the bulk of Upper Sandusky’s damage was done by Reile, who hit a buzzer-beating 3 Tuesday night to get the Rams to the sectional finals. At one point in Friday’s game, Upper Sandusky had 24 points.

Reile had 20 of them.

“It’s more than one player, and that’s what we’ve tried to learn,” Adams said. “They were able to take us out, so we had to rely on (Reile) too much. Nobody else brought it tonight. Stu [Young, 8 points] and Trent [Howard, 7], gave everything they had, the young guys tried to step up, but maybe the moment was just too big.”