Stockaders beat H-L, stay unbeaten in SBC River

PHOTO BY PAT GAIETTO Old Fort's Colin Nutter and Hopewell-Loudon's Kyle Rumschlag battle for a rebound Friday in Bascom.

BASCOM — Old Fort clinched an outright Sandusky Bay Conference River Division championship Tuesday night.

Friday night, the Stockaders were in true championship form.

Six Old Fort players scored eight or more points, five of them in double figures. That, plus a stifling defensive performance in the second half, led to a 72-45 romp in front of a sizable Senior Night crowd at Hopewell-Loudon.

“We want to finish undefeated in the league. That’s what we’re chasing right now,” Old Fort coach Eric Hoover said after his club improved to 19-1 overall and 15-0 in conference play. “The kids are all about that and they wanted this game bad.

“We’ve got one more to go (Friday at home vs. Lakota) in the league and we want to get that done on our Senior Night,” he said. “That would be quite an accomplishment with the talent that’s in this league.”

Hopewell-Loudon (15-5, 11-4) stands alone in second place and while the Chieftains challenged before falling 65-60 at Old Fort earlier in the year, the gap was much wider in this one.

Colin Nutter had a couple inside baskets and Zach Dewese added two foul shots in a 6-0 start as the Stockaders never trailed. They pushed the margin to 15-6 and 18-9, but were unable to put it away just yet.

That’s because Jordyn Jury was doing it up big time at the other end. Jury scored 14 first-quarter points in almost single-handedly keeping H-L in the hunt as Old Fort settled for a 20-17 first period lead. The Chieftain senior had three 3-pointers in the burst and one of those he turned into a four-point play.

He had 19 points by halftime and picked up some help in the form of a 3-pointer each by Travis Milligan and Carter Coffman in the second period. But the Stockaders, in hitting 14 of 26 shots with five 3-pointers, pushed the margin to 37-28 at the break.

“He made some outside shots and we didn’t do a very good job of adjusting quickly enough,” Hoover said. “We kind of lost him, him and Milligan one time in that first half. But he was making shots. I’m not sure, if we were tighter, that it would have made much difference. He seemed like he could have kicked it in there that first half.”

It was a different story in the second half, however. The defense picked up and the offense stayed steady.

Carson Steyer had a three-point play and a post bucket before picking up his third foul and Casey Clouse added a scoring drive as Old Fort had a 7-0 run by the 6:35 mark of the third period.

Dewese also was tabbed with a third foul, but that didn’t slow the Stockaders, who pushed the margin to 52-30 and added yet another burst for a 61-36 advantage heading into the fourth quarter.

“Their depth is unbelievable,” Hopewell-Loudon coach Roger Jury said. “They’re all athletic and long, and tonight, even though they’re a great team, this was probably their best night shooting and running the floor.

“That whole mix — they have a really deep bench, they shot it really well, defended really well and they really ran the floor,” he said. “You get that good mix with a really good team and that’s hard to beat.”

Nutter, just a sophomore, led Old Fort with 16 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks. Dewese added 12 points while Jordan Smith (seven rebounds), Carson Steyer (two blocks) and Greg Steyer were each netting 10. Garrett Havens checked in with eight. The Stockaders hit 28 of 47 shots for the night.

Jordyn Jury finished with 23 points, five rebounds and three assists to pace H-L. Milligan had nine points on three 3-pointers.

“We’ve been saying all year how important our depth is,” Hoover said. “Carson and Dewese, our two leading scorers, were in foul trouble but our guys just came in and got it done.

“You never know who it’s going to be on a given night. Different people step up and a lot of people did tonight,” he said. “It makes it difficult to guard us and (the Chieftains) are a good defensive team, one of the best in the league. To have that kind of performance against them was impressive.”

In short, Old Fort was in championship form.