Blue Jackets shock Stockaders

PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE New Riegel's Brandon Gillig (left) and Old Fort's Zach Dewese fight for the ball during the game in Old Fort Friday.

OLD FORT — Old Fort’s Carson Steyer drained a 3-pointer 40 seconds into the game with New Riegel Friday.

That was the only lead Old Fort had all night.

New Riegel had three players score in double figures and another nearly do so, including a stellar 24-point showing from senior Bryce Hohman in an impressive 70-62 win at rival Old Fort, resulting in the Stockaders’ first loss in the Sandusky Bay Conference River Division. And on a night Old Fort was honoring recent players Hootie Cleveland and Jacob Webb with jerseys on the wall of the gym for scoring 1,000 career points.

“We knew the first time we played them … we didn’t do the little things right (58-42 loss), but we had confidence coming into tonight we were going to get it done,” Hohman said. “My teammates are always looking for me to get open shots and take them and make them. It was one of those nights where I was making them.”

After the opening Steyer triple, New Riegel responded with a 10-0 run fueled by five points from Hohman, a Christopher Acree trey and a Nick Reinhart layup. Weston Miller hit a 3 and Jordan Smith had a three-point play to pull Old Fort within 10-9 after the first quarter.

“We played well tonight and it was important to get out to a good start,” New Riegel coach Dave Losey said. “When you’re on the road in a tough environment like this is, we’ve just been playing a lot better lately. We haven’t lost a quarter in four games, so that’s a stat we’ve been looking at lately. We’ve been focusing on one play at a time and I can’t say enough about hoe focused they were tonight. They just did their jobs very well.”

From the second quarter on, the teams took shots at each other and played about even, as New Riegel outscored the Stockaders 37-35 in the second and third periods.

Old Fort (10-4, 8-1 SBC) got within 53-51 after a Gregory Steyer trey with 5:34 left in the game, but New Riegel responded with a 7-0 run capped by a Reinhart splash from 3 to put the contest away.

“All of our seniors are the ultimate competitors. They always have felt like they’ve been the underdogs because they’ve been a bit smaller, but they just win. They find ways to win,” Losey said. “It’s not always pretty, but they are competitive and they set the tone for us and been great leaders.

“They were playing to win the game tonight. They weren’t playing to not lose. They were out there being aggressive, so when Nick stepped into that shot I don’t have a problem with it. That’s a great shot for him.”

Old Fort was behind from the beginning of the game. It always made runs, but an emerging New Riegel squad always had an answer.

“I tried to tell them … that everybody will be better the second time around. Every game is going to be harder,” Old Fort coach Eric Hoover said. “I don’t think they believed me. Practice yesterday wasn’t good. We were flat … and that’s how we played.

“They did whatever they wanted, New Riegel, and they executed everything they wanted to do. They got wide open shots and they made them. I know they’re a good 3-point shooting team. They have three guys that can make them and they weren’t supposed to get them. The guy shooting 47 percent from 3 makes the first one in the game for them. He wasn’t supposed to get one, so that basically told you where our heads were at tonight.”

Along with his 24 points, Hohman tallied four assists and three steals for the Blue Jackets, who improved to 6-6 overall and 5-4 in the SBC River. Reinhart followed with 15 points, 10 rebounds and three steals. Acree also had 15 points, Darek Feindel posted nine points and Cole Noftz dished five assists.

The Blue Jackets have won five of their last six games.

“We knew we were going to have tough times in the beginning (of the season). Cole was hurt and out three our four games. When you get a senior leader and point guard out that sets you back, but they show up every day and they practice hard,” Losey said. “They are very coachable. If you have a group that’s coachable and believes in each other, which they do, you will continue to get better.

“We had to be together for the long haul because we knew we would take some lumps early. Got our feet under us, but I hope we continue to grow. I hope they keep improving and continually in the right direction. I’m very proud of them tonight.”

Zach Dewese led the Stockaders with 14 points, while Gregory Steyer chipped in 11 and Carson Steyer, AJ Steyer, Garrett Havens and Jordan Smith all had seven. AJ Steyer recorded six assists and three steals.

With the loss, Old Fort and Calvert are the one-loss teams in the conference. However, with both the Senecas and Sandusky St. Mary still on the schedule the Stockaders still have a lot to say about who wins the league again this season.

“I was hoping Hopewell-Loudon was a wake-up call (43-39 loss) and that didn’t work. I don’t know how many wake-up calls you need,” Hoover said. “Be a competitor. Even if you don’t feel good, get out there and play hard. You can’t go from being real good to being real terrible in one night.

“A lot of it is mental. We’ve had a lot of games in a short amount of time, but that’s no excuse. Games are fun. Games are the more fun part. If you can’t get ready for a game, especially an important league game at home with a big crowd then I don’t what the problem is. Mentally we have to find a way to get back in it.”