Hopewell-Loudon’s offense struggles in loss
BASCOM — Jason Vermillion was looking for somebody, anybody, to hit some free throws down the stretch. That somebody, it turned out, was part of the family tree.
Junior Jaret Vermillion, Jason’s son, converted all six of his fourth-quarter free throw attempts, four of them in the final 1:12, to give Arlington the push it needed to claim a 41-34 win over Hopewell-Loudon here Friday night.
It was Arlington’s 10th win of the year against four losses. More importantly, the Red Devils improved to 6-1 to remain on top in Blanchard Valley Conference play. Four other teams entered Friday night play with just one loss.
“That’s all some of us could do,” Jason Vermillion said with a smile when asked if good shooting was a generational thing after Jaret tossed in 20 points to lead a group of just four scorers for the Red Devils. “This one’s a little bit better and can do other things in a game besides just shoot.”
Perhaps, but shoot is what Jaret Vermillion did best on this night. His four 3-point goals were a big part of Arlington’s 6-for-11 effort from beyond the arc.
The Red Devils never trailed and went on top for good when Jacob Russell hit a 3-pointer for a 5-2 edge with 3:37 to go in the first period. Long balls by Vermillion with 16 seconds left and a buzzer-beater by Ryan Metzger pushed the margin to 13-6 at the first break.
But while the Red Devils never trailed, the Chieftains (9-6, 4-3) were never out of range.
Kyle Rumschlag scored on a baseline drive and Travis Milligan hit a 3-pointer to start the second period and trim margin to 13-11.
But in general, Hopewell-Loudon struggled at the offensive end. The Chieftains hit just 13 of 43 from the field for the game and were 6 for 24 at halftime, which ended with Arlington owning a 20-14 advantage despite having turned the ball over 12 times to that point.
“That was a war out there,” H-L Coach Roger Jury said. “They are probably the best team in the league with three or four seniors who are big, physical kids. I’m proud of how hard the kids played. To hold a team like that to 41 points, defensively, you’re probably doing a pretty good job.”
Vermillion hit a couple more 3-pointers in the third period as Arlington maintained a six-point edge at 32-26.
The Chieftains challenged early in the fourth as Jordyn Jury opened with a drive for two and Marshall Reinhard came up with a loose ball inside and scored while drawing a foul to make it 32-30 with 5:43 left.
His free throw was off the mark and Vermillion drove the lane for a score at the other end. A minute later, he converted the first two of his six free throws and the margin was back to six.
“We had a lot of different spots where if we could have just made an extra shot or two, we’re right there,” Roger Jury said.
Besides Vermillion, Arlington managed just 1 for 9 from the foul line. That made his makes all the more important.
“I know I have to get the ball to get to the line,” he said. “I just got myself open and the guys helped me out. Free throws are what I’m good at.”
Russell added 11 points for the Red Devils while Metzger and Ivan Berry (10 rebounds) were contributing five each to close the scoring.
Meanwhile, Rumschlag had 10 points, Jury nine and Milligan eight for the Chieftains. Carter Coffman had eight rebounds.
“We were able to dodge some bullets down the stretch,” Jason Vermillion said. “There is such a huge logjam at the top (of the conference), you’ve got to be ready every single Friday night. This is a really good road win for us.”