DEFIANCE — Patrick Henry opened its season at Ayersville, eking out a seven-point win over the Pilots on Dec. 2.
The Patriots knew the rematch would be another physical bout as Ayersville focused on getting the ball to its stout, 6-foot-6 center inside.
Tyson Schlachter, the Pilots’ center scored the first two buckets of the game, but PH stymied the senior the rest of the way and had an array of key plays en route to a 36-27 win in a Division IV district semifinal at Defiance High School.
“The way this game went was exactly how I thought it would be. I figured it’d be a slugfest, I figured it’d be low-scoring, physical,” PH coach Bryan Hieber said. “And you never know how games are going to be called, and early on, (you could tell) they were going to let us play. So that’s fine, but we have to bring our big-boy pants and we talked about that.
“I’m just proud of our guys because there have been some games this year that have been played that tough and we haven’t responded.”
Top-seeded PH, which improved to 19-5 overall, advances to the district championship game against second-seeded Antwerp — a 45-44 winner over Toledo Christian in the night’s first semifinal — at 6 p.m. Friday at Defiance HS. Ayersville finishes its season at 15-10.
Schlachter scored from the post 48 seconds into the game, and after a few missed shots by PH, scored from the post again at the midpoint of the opening period for a 4-0 lead.
But Drew Rosengarten, who started the game on Schlachter, and Kaden Rosebrook combined to bother Schlachter for the next 28 minutes. Schlachter, who had 17 points in the teams’ early-season meeting, scored just three more buckets the rest of the game and went 0 of 5 from the foul line in that time to score 10 points.
Rosebrook, who had not scored in any of the past five games, was easing his way back into the lineup after missing time due to a back injury. His presence was immeasurable as he forced Schlachter into all three of his fouls for the game — all in the second half. Rosebrook, who averages fewer than four points per game, also finished with eight points.
“We were going to rely on our seniors for this game. Because we knew (Ayersville) had size, they had the strength, the physicality — we were worried about that going in,” Hieber said. “I thought Kaden, Drew at times too, it was kind of a committee for a while. But those two guys had to bang with him early. ... I thought they just fought their butts off all game. And I’m proud of their effort, because without that, I think he would’ve been able to get the ball wherever he wanted. And at that point, he’s tough to stop.”
Rosebrook scored the first point of the game for PH and added two contested shots around the rim in the second quarter to push three-point leads to five.
Nash Meyer, the team’s second leading scorer for the season, was averaging less than five points per game over the past four games — two of which were losses for PH. But the junior settled the Patriots into Tuesday’s game.
After Mack Hieber knocked down a baseline jumper late in the first quarter, Meyer followed with a corner 3 to give PH its first lead of the game, 6-4. Ayersville’s Brady Clark opened the second period with a pair of game-tying free throws, but Meyer answered with another triple to take a 9-6 advantage — a lead PH never relinquished.
“He needed a game like that, needed some confidence,” Hieber said of Meyer. “And we knew Lincoln (Creager) was sick yesterday, so we knew whatever he was going to give us today, he was going to go off fumes — so we needed that extra guy. Nash hadn’t been shooting the ball well, but tonight I thought he did a good job of making the right play.”
Creager, who leads PH with 12.3 ppg, rarely attempted a shot and scored two points in the win.
Meyer, who led with 12 points, also went 4 of 4 at the foul line in the final 73 seconds, which followed a transition dunk by Aiden Behrman.
Weston McGuire led the Pilots with 11 points.
NOTES: Hieber was down on the court early in the fourth quarter, holding his left ankle after a scrum for the ball near the basket.
The freshman limped off the court, but returned the bench before the end of the game.
Bryan Hieber said of Mack that, “he got stepped on with it rolled,” but did not have a specific update on his status moving forward.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.