by Todd Robinson
January 2 at Withrow
In a battle of Tigers on this Tuesday night, host Withrow knocked off the Loveland men’s basketball team 44-24. Loveland entered the game shorthanded, as three regular starters were out with injuries. Ultimately, a combination of a very active Withrow defense and a lack of Loveland scoring punch proved too much for visiting Tigers to overcome. Loveland took its only lead early in the game, 3-2, behind a Brady McCluskey trey. Battling hard, Loveland trailed 11-8 after the first quarter, but Loveland was able to score only 5 points in the second and third quarters combined, and that enabled Withrow to take a commanding 29-13 lead into the final quarter. Four quick points by Loveland to open the final quarter caused Tiger Nation to think about a comeback, but Withrow answered the challenge and finished with a 44-24 victory. Loveland’s overall record became 4-4 on the season and 2-2 in the Eastern Cincinnati Conference.
January 5 hosting Anderson
On a frigid Friday night, the Loveland men’s basketball team fell to the visiting Anderson Redskins, 40-37, in an ECC league matchup. Ultimately, a poor first half doomed the Tigers. Scoring only 8 points in the first two quarters, Loveland dug itself a 25-8 halftime hole against the 2-7 Redskins. But Coach Reis got his players to turn it around in the second half.
After picking up their defensive intensity, the Tigers won the third quarter, 11-5, narrowing the gap to 30-19.
A 13-6 run by the Tigers over the first 5 minutes of the fourth quarter, highlighted by 7 consecutive Jalen Greiser points, brought Loveland to within 4 coming down the stretch. An Ian Cox bucket followed by an Alec Soth trey ignited an excited Tiger Nation and brought Loveland all the way back, tying the game 37-37 with 1:15 left in the game. Over the next 40 seconds, the Redskins took a 40-37 lead, knocking down three free throws from the charity stripe. The Tigers called a timeout with 28 seconds to play, looking to design a play to tie the game. But Anderson came out of the timeout in a zone defense for the first time all night – frustrating the Tiger attack. After a final Loveland timeout with 5 seconds left, Greiser’s desperation trey from 30 feet bounced off the rim and the Redskins took home the 40-37 victory.
After being out 3 weeks with a foot injury, Greiser returned to action and led the Tigers with 13 points and 7 rebounds. Matt Toigo kicked in 9 points and Brenton Foust had 5 steals in an outstanding defensive effort. The loss dropped Loveland’s record to 4-5 (2-3 in the ECC).
January 6 at Sycamore
Playing its second game in two nights, the Loveland men’s basketball team made the short trip to Sycamore, falling 52-42 to the Greater Miami Conference’s Aviators. With perimeter shooting continuing to be as cold as the arctic temperatures outside, the Tigers couldn’t overcome Sycamore’s balanced attack.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair with both teams holding the lead several times. The most exciting play of the half was a Loveland basket that didn’t count – as Tiger Brenton Foust launched a three quarter court shot that swished through the net a split second after time expired in the first quarter. Ultimately, the two teams were tied 16-16 entering the halftime locker room.
The Tigers opened the second half with a strong run, taking a 25-21 lead midway through the third quarter. But an 11-0 run by the Aves over the next 3 minutes gave Sycamore a lead they would never relinquish.
Entering the final quarter down 32-27, the Tigers cut the Aviator lead to 3 points several time early in the fourth quarter, but could never get that big basket to reclaim the lead. Sycamore slowly pulled away down the stretch, topping the Tigers with a 52-42 final score.
Matt Toigo led the Tiger attack with 12 points. The Sycamore victory evened their record at 5-5. The loss was Loveland’s fourth consecutive defeat, with an overall record of 4-6 (2-3 in ECC). .
January 9 at Walnut Hills
Loveland returned to action in the Eastern Cincinnati Conference Tuesday, traveling to Walnut Hills to take on the league leading Eagles. Despite a strong effort, the Tigers fell 69-50 to the Eagles.
In front of a small midweek Walnut Hills crowd, Loveland took an early 3-2 lead behind a Matt Toigo field goal and a Parker Carrigan free throw. But a 17-4 run by the Eagles gave them a lead they would never relinquish.
At the half, Walnut Hills was up 29-18. With their strongest offensive half over the past three games, Loveland cut the Eagles lead to 10 points several times in the third quarter. Unfortunately, the Tigers could never close the gap to single digits, as at one point in the third quarter, Walnut Hills countered was four consecutive treys.
The Tigers won the effort stats for the game, out-rebounding the taller Eagles and generating more steals, but Walnut Hills’ 51% shooting efficiency was the difference in their 69-50 victory.
Jalen Greiser led the Tigers with 14 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. Matt Toigo knocked in 11 points. Jack Stewart earned the first varsity points of his career, hitting a trey late in the fourth quarter. Loveland’s record now stands at 4-7 (2-4 in ECC).
The Tigers host 7-3 West Clermont on Friday night, January 12 at 7:30 PM.