By Brad Morris
It would be hard to blame the Logan Elm Braves if they were a little stunned on Friday after watching a 17-point lead melt away to just two points with seven minutes remaining in a key Mid-State League Buckeye Division game.
But that’s when Tanner Holbert and his teammates proved that they could absorb a punch and then deliver a knockout blow.
Led by a trio of three-pointers by Holbert, the Braves answered with a decisive run of 11 straight points to remain unbeaten on the season with a 52-42 win over visiting Bloom-Carroll.
“That’s something you don’t expect to happen, but we kept our cool and stayed with things,” Holbert said. “We believe in each other and once we were able to break their pressure, my teammates got me the basketball and I was able to knock down some threes in rhythm.”
Holbert’s clutch threes capped a night where the Braves shot 19 of 34 (55.9 percent) from the field, including 12 of 22 (54.5 percent) from behind-the-arc.
Isaac Ward knocked down half of those threes on 6 of 9 (66.7 percent) shooting to finish with a game-high 18 points. Holbert hit 4 of his 6 (66.7 percent) shots en route to 14 points while adding four rebounds, and Gabe Chalfin followed with 13 points and four rebounds.
The Braves (8-0, 6-0) appeared on the verge of running away with the game when Ward knocked down a triple from the left wing early in the third quarter to make it 33-16.
Bloom-Carroll (7-5, 5-3) had other ideas as it turned the table with an 18-3 run.
The Bulldogs were able to hold the Braves to just a three by Chalfin for the rest of the third quarter and also extended their defense to pressure in the full-court and generate five turnovers.
“We were too hesitant against Bloom-Carroll’s pressure and that led to some turnovers,” Logan Elm coach Doug Stiverson said. “We haven’t seen much of that this season. We had Jeremy Wietelmann back tonight and once we were able to get him into the middle of our press breaker then we were able to handle it a lot better.”
After being held scoreless in the first half, Evan Dozer helped to lead the charge for the Bulldogs by scoring eight points on 4 of 7 (57.1 percent) shooting, and Ryan Williams added six points.
Dozer cashed in another turnover by the Braves to open the fourth quarter with a mid-range jumper to trim Logan Elm’s lead down to 36-34.
“We did a better job of guarding in the third quarter and then we were also to get out in transition some off of those turnovers and get our offense going,” Bloom-Carroll coach Joe Goodyear said. “Our kids did a nice job on getting some drives to the basket that they executed well.”
Ward ended a scoring drought of six minutes and 20 seconds by connecting on a three from the right-wing, but the Bulldogs countered with another jumper off the shooting hand of Dozer to make it 39-36.
The Dozer jumper turned out to be the last points Bloom-Carroll scored for the next five minutes, as the Bulldogs missed their next six shots and also committed a turnover.
Logan Elm then regained control for good by scoring on four of its next five possessions to stretch its lead to 50-36.
The Braves successfully broke the pressure of the Bulldogs each time with Holbert connecting on threes from the left corner, right wing and right corner.
“Tanner stepped up and had a big fourth quarter for us,” Stiverson said. “He was calm and knocked down some huge shots to allow us to regain momentum.”
Logan Elm then milked a minute off the clock until Chalfin dished to a wide open Wietelmann for a layup with less than two minutes remaining.
Dozer ended the Logan Elm run with a three-pointer, but Holbert capped scoring for the Braves with his 10th and 11th points of the quarter, this time coming from the charity stripe, with 23.7 seconds remaining.
“The problem with having to rely on pressure against a team like Logan Elm is they are going to eventually solve it, break it and then they have shooters that can go whack, whack, whack and make you pay for it,” Goodyear said.
Stiverson believes the increased minutes Holbert has played starting in place of Wietelmann over the last two weeks due to COVID-19 quarantine has paid off for the sophomore guard.
“Tanner’s stepped in and he’s given us some quality minutes over that stretch and helped to carry us at different times,” he said. “It’s helped him to get more minutes with an experienced lineup and for those guys to help him some, as well.
“That’s a plus with Tanner getting more minutes and bringing back Jeremy, who played a nice game, saw the floor well and did a lot of different things that don’t show up in the scorebook.”
The Braves started the evening hot from distance, draining 4 of 7 (57.1 percent) shots from three in the first quarter to take a 14-4 lead. Ward connected on two of those threes.
“We moved the ball extremely well, offensively, and when we do that then we feel like we are hard to guard,” Stiverson said. “Bloom-Carroll is long, and they force you to shoot perimeter shots. Fortunately, we came out and made some shots early on and that was key.”Bloom-Carroll was limited to just one field goal in the first quarter, a turnaround shot by Rose, and went seven minutes and 15 seconds without scoring following the basket.
“Our guys came out with a lot of energy and got after it on both ends of the floor,” Stiverson said. “We weren’t happy with how we played at times (on Wednesday) against Hamilton Township, so we wanted to step it up.”
Chalfin had eight points and Ward scored six more in the second quarter, as the Braves pushed their lead to 30-14 at halftime.
Dozer paced the Bulldogs with 15 points and also contributed eight rebounds. Williams scored seven points, and Joe Luckhaupt and Jared Rose added six apiece.
The Braves finished with nine turnovers compared to six for the Bulldogs, who held a 27-18 advantage on the glass.
Bloom-Carroll continues league play on Tuesday when it hosts Liberty Union, while Logan Elm doesn’t resume league action until Thursday when it entertains Amanda-Clearcreek.
Logan Elm 52,
BLOOM-CARROLL — Joe Luckhaupt 2-0-6, Ryan Williams 2-3-7, Chase Alwood 1-0-2, Evan Dozer 7-0-15, Jared Rose 2-2-6, De’Shan Clark 2-0-4, Ayden Anderson 1-0-2. Three-point goals — Joe Luckhaupt (2) and Evan Dozer. Total — 17-50 5-8 42.
LOGAN ELM — Jeremy Wietelmann 1-0-2, Isaac Ward 6-0-18, Jason Sailor 2-0-5, Gabe Chalfin 6-0-13, Tanner Holbert 4-2-14. Three-point goals — Isaac Ward (6), Tanner Holbert (4), Jason Sailor and Gabe Chalfin. Total — 19-34 2-4 52.
Quarter scores 1 2 3 4 F
Bloom-Carroll 4 10 18 10 42
Logan Elm 14 16 6 16 52
Copyright 2021 SportingPumpkin.com. Any unauthorized republication of content on this website is prohibited by law.