Lancer head coach Brett Hammons (lower center) talks with his team during a timeout in this file photo. Hammons’ Lancers got behind early and fell victim to poor shooting in their loss at Fort recovery on Saturday evening. (Times Bulletin file photo)
By John Parent
Times Bulletin Sports Editor
FORT RECOVERY — The Lincolnview Lancers came into the intimate surroundings at Fort Site Fieldhouse with a 5-2 record on the early season and some impressive wins already on their resume. The host Fort Recovery Indians didn’t allow Lincolnview any time to get comfortable, however, jumping out to an 11-0 lead en route to a 62-31 thrashing on Saturday evening.
Senior Elijah Kahlig came into the contest averaging 23.9 points per game for the Indians, and he showed early on that that number was no fluke. Kahlig drove to the basket and converted an old-fashioned three-point play to get the Indians rolling. On the very next possession, Kahlig showed his range, knocking down a three-pointer from the right wing. After a Kahlig blocked shot on the other end, one of four he recorded in the game, the senior drilled another triple, this one coming from the wing well behind the arc, to establish the early 11-0 edge before Lincolnview even knew what hit them.
“Coming into this environment, (our kids) have never played here before, we talked about the start we needed to have, and we didn’t have a very good start,” noted Lincolnview head coach Brett Hammons after the game. “We didn’t execute very well offensively to start the game, and we talked about how good they are in transition, and (Fort Recovery) was able to get back and get some easy baskets and it kind of snowballed from there.”
Though the Lancers finally broke through with an 18-foot jumper from sophomore Hayden Ludwig, Fort Jennings got seven straight points from Alex Kaiser and a put-back from Brandon Schoen to make it 20-2 when Hammons used his second timeout of the period.
“We tried to get a timeout to slow things down a little bit, but we were forcing things instead of letting the game come to us. That’s one of the things we have to get better at,” added Hammons.
Though control of the game was well-established by Kahlig and the Indians, Lincolnview settled into the contest from that point. Junior guard Justis Dowdy drove the lane and converted a three-point play coming out of the timeout and Eli Farmer added a tip-in to make it 22-7 after one quarter of play.
The Lancers, who were just 3-for-17 shooting in the first quarter, including 0-for-7 from three-point range, finally began to find their shooting stroke in the second. Senior Kyle Williams, Lincolnview’s leading scorer on the season, endured a rough performance in the first, but drilled his first two three-point attempts in the second. Meanwhile, however, Fort Recovery got baskets from Kyle Schroer and Kaiser before Kahlig connected on a pair of treys of his own.
Lincolnview jumpers by Connor McCleery and then by Dowdy pulled the Lancers to with 34-17 at the break.
“We were down 18 (at 20-2) and we wound up at the half only down 17, so I thought we battled back and played hard the rest of that half, but, unfortunately, our shots just weren’t going in.”
Shots were going in all evening long for Kahlig, who connected on two more deep three-pointers in the third quarter as the Indians began to widen their lead. Add in his 3-for-4 night at the free-throw line and Kahlig had reached his average by the end of the third.
The Indians were shooting so well from the outside that after Kahlig’s corner three with 1:22 to play in the period, Hammons abandoned his use of the 2-3 zone and went man-to-man on defense. That left Kahlig one-on-one with McCleery as the quarter wound down and the match-up ended with a crossover dribble and top-for-the-arc three that found nothing but net for a 50-25 advantage for the hosts.
“We talked about Elijah and how good of a player he is and we knew we had to know where he was at at all times. We knew we weren’t going to hold him down, but we couldn’t let him go off for 27,” added Hammons. “We let him get free a couple times to get some easy threes, he did make some tough ones as well, but in games like this, we can’t let him get going. I thought we did a good job on the rest of their guys, but unfortunately, they were able to get some easy baskets in transition and that helped open up the floor for Elijah when he wanted his shots.”
Kahlig’s 27 wasn’t the only issue facing the Lancers on Saturday night. They were out-rebounded 29-23, including 10-8 on the offensive glass, and committed 16 turnovers on the night. Lincolnview’s biggest problem, however, was their inability to get going from the perimeter. The Lancers were just 11-for-43 (26 percent) for the night and only 3-for-19 (16 percent) from long range.
“We’re 5-3 now and our three losses, we’ve shot under 30 percent each time,” finished coach Hammons. “We tell our guys that, when we’re struggling from the outside, we need to get to the free throw line and we really didn’t shoot many free throws tonight. We need to a better job of attacking the rim.”
Score by quarter
Lincolnview 7 10 8 6- 31
Fort Recovery 22 12 16 12- 62
Lincolnview (31) individual scoring
Leeth 0, Williams 6, Dowdy 9, Adams 1, McCleery 4, Ludwig 4, Farmer 2, Miller 0, Friesner 3, Fraker 2, Youtsey 0
Fort Recovery (62) individual scoring
Backs 2, Schroer 9, Dilworth 2, Kaiser 11, Kahlig 27, Schoen 4, Sheffer 7, Wenning 0, Bruns 0, LeFevre 0, Koch 0, Overton 0