Redmen outlast rival Fliers
WILLARD — Usually a team looks to its seniors during tournament time to lead the team.
For Bellevue, it was sophomore guard Trey Ruhlman who was the man in the second half against rival Clyde as the Redmen fended off a scrappy Fliers team for a 50-46 win in a Division II sectional semifinal Tuesday night.
Ruhlman, who scored 15 of his game-high 24 points in the second half, had the ball in his hands almost every time down the floor for the Redmen and would either create for himself or his teammates.
“(Ruhlman played) unbelievable considering that they threw everything they had at us defensively with a junk defense,” Bellevue coach Ed Rich said. “For them to throw that at him and for him to still get 24, that’s just a compliment to him. He plays extremely hard and he does some great things and has great reads and had the mentality that we weren’t losing. I love guys like that.
“He’s a great leader by example. I know he’s only a sophomore, but he leads by example. He plays hard. He does things that he’s supposed to and he’s a gamer. When the game is on the line, the ball will be in his hands because he is our best ball handler and he’s 90 percent from the free throw line. We know if he gets fouled he will make them.”
Bellevue will face Sandusky for a third time this season in a sectional final at 8 p.m. Friday.
Bellevue (10-13) led for most of the game, but its biggest lead was six at the beginning of the game and with 3:09 left.
After Clyde (6-17) took a 35-33 lead into the fourth quarter, the Redmen took the lead right back with four points from Ruhlman to start the fourth period, which gave the Redmen a 37-35 advantage.
Bellevue started to run strictly pick and roll at the top of the key with Ruhlman late, which led to a lot of success. It gained a 44-38 lead, but then Clyde’s Seth Hohman buried a 3-pointer. Ruhlman hit a pair of free throws and then Hohman drilled another triple and then Conner Long drove to the rim and banked in a floater to tie the game at 46 with 44.2 seconds left.
On Bellevue’s possession, Ruhlman drove to the rim and was fouled. He knocked in the pair. Clyde had 26 seconds to even the score, but Trevor Burtch’s 3-pointer was wide of the rim. Kayden Vogle was fouled and put the game away at the line with a pair of free throws for the Redmen, who finished the game 13 of 14 at the line, including 11 of 12 in the fourth.
“I can tell that’s one thing we do really well, which is shoot free throws over 75 percent on the year, which is pretty good for a team,” Rich said. “I felt pretty confident with (Ruhlman) getting to the line, but we put free throws in and we advanced, so I can accept that.”
Both teams were up and down the floor in the first half as they both had 11 turnovers in the half, and 18 overall in the game.
“We didn’t fail to prepare, that’s for sure,” Clyde coach Ryan Fretz said. “We put a lot into this and got to see them a couple times before we played them and the boys were 100 percent focused the whole time. We knew that if Bellevue is on, they’re on. They came out and hit a couple of 3s, but I’m proud of our boys for stepping it up with our man-to-man defense and being able to get back in the game.
“We had a lead, but credit to Bellevue because the pressure got to us a little bit. When it’s a one-possession game like that, we have to be able to take care of the ball. That’s one of the things we will work on during the offseason.”
Bellevue led 14-12 after one quarter and took a 23-18 lead into the half because of a 9-2 run to end the second quarter with five Ruhlman points and a pair of baskets from Vogel.
Clyde came out ready to play in the second half and grabbed a 29-28 advantage on a Tanner Davenport trey. It extended its lead to 35-30 late in the third after a Burtch layup, but Ruhlman swished a deep 3 to end the third period.
“The fact is we have to see Trey in our league for another two years and he’s a baller,” Fretz said. “Good luck to Trey. He’s a tough kid to stop because he can hit the outside shot and take it to the hole and score. I’m impressed with the way he plays.”
Sandusky has beaten the Redmen 69-42 and 74-47 this season. Personally for Rich, he will see Sandusky standout Jayrese Williams for a second time in the sectional finals.
“This will be my second time facing him because at my last year at Galion we face Jayrese and the Blue Streaks in the sectional championship,” he said. “If we match up and play them like we did back then I’ll take it, but you never know what’s going to happen. Obviously it’s not ideal, but we are moving on and will take anyone we get.”
Vogel had 10 points for the Redmen, while Hartley added nine. Clyde was led by Hohman’s 14 points, while Derick Harrah chipped in 10 and Davenport finished with nine.
For Fretz, it was a return to home this season as the Tiffin native enjoyed his first season as the Fliers coach after a stint in Las Vegas.
“It’s been a whirlwind since we got back here. Moving into a new house, teaching at a new school and meeting some of the guys and not getting some of them till mid-November, but to have 10 guys coming back in the spring, summer and fall to work with them, we have hungry young talent,” Fretz said. “I can tell you right now I feel bad for the seniors for what they don’t get to experience for the rest of this year, but those 10 boys are looking to get back out there and get after it again.”