Old Fort beats Raiders, gets back in league hunt

PHOTO BY PAT GAIETTO Old Fort’s Jacob Webb attempts a jumper against the defense of Lakota’s Josh Kagy Friday in Kansas.

KANSAS — Old Fort coach Eric Hoover was hopeful. It turns out that hope was not wasted anxiety.

The wild, wild River Division race in the Sandusky Bay Conference took a turn to the crazy Friday night. And now, once again, four teams are back in the hunt for a championship.

“The only thing we can do is take care of our own business at this point,” Hoover, unaware of other results, said after his club raced past Lakota 82-49. “We’re going to need a little help, obviously, from somebody. All we can do is continue to try to get better and whatever happens, happens.”

What happened Friday night was, well, helpful. New Riegel, the sole leader in the division coming into the weekend, dropped a 52-50 overtime decision at Calvert. That means four teams are packed at the top with three league losses. A co-championship is possible, perhaps even likely.

New Riegel and Fremont St. Joseph are one-half game up at 6-3. They will play for at least a share of the championship in New Riegel Feb. 22. Old Fort improved to 10-7 overall and its 5-3 league mark is good for a tie for third with Sandusky St. Mary.

The Stockaders are at Calvert while the Panthers host Lakota Friday. Old Fort and St. Mary meet on the Stockader floor Feb. 23.

While the standings are a jumbled mess, the one thing that was clear Friday night was that Old Fort had its game going from start to finish at Lakota.

Jacob Webb got it started with a jumper from the right elbow and the Stockaders then turned four Raider turnovers into points on a 12-0 burst in the game’s first three minutes. Webb already had eight at that point and pushed the total to 14 with a minute left in the first period as Old Fort already had a 23-4 lead.

“We came out and really got off to a great start,” Hoover said. “I was a little worried about not having school today (canceled due to weather). They had the day to basically do nothing. I was hoping that varsity guys know enough not to just sit around and do nothing at this point.

“We came out ready to go and really didn’t let them have a chance,” he said.

Old Fort’s trapping press worked the Raiders for 10 first-period turnovers.

“They were just a step faster in every facet of the game,” Raider coach Ty Ray said after his club fell to 2-16 and 0-9. “You know you’re going to get pressed when you play Old Fort. We just weren’t ready for it for whatever reason. We were just slow mentally and slow physically and never could catch up.”

The Stockaders went with the long ball in the second period in pushing the margin to 51-18. They hit seven of eight from 3-point range, including four by freshman Zach DeWese.

“Webb started off the game just making every single thing and a lot of those were in transition,” Ray said. “So we tried to switch it up to try to take him away. He didn’t score the rest of the half, but they made five 3-pointers from other kids so it became sort of a pick your poison.”

Webb didn’t stay quiet for long. He finished with 32 points to lead the Stockaders. DeWese was next with 15 points and Luke Wagner checked in with nine.

“We got a lot of steals out of the press and (Webb) came out making shots right from the beginning,” Hoover said. “He kept getting a lot of good ones in transition and in our offense and was putting them in with regularity tonight.”

Josh Kagy topped Lakota with 12 points. Jordan White was next with seven.