By Jim Metcalfe
DHI Correspondent
sports@timesbulletin.com
WAPAKONETA — A basketball coach can run motion, flex, fast break, slow-down or anything offensively.
No matter what, though, it still comes down to making shots.
The youthful Spencerville boys team didn’t in Tuesday’s Division IV District semifinal at Wapakoneta, shooting a chilly 10-of-42 from the floor (23.8%), including an even colder 5-of-25 beyond the arc, in falling 61-37 to a more senior-laden Arlington crew.
The Bearcats (16-6) played two seniors, two sophomores and four freshmen during the bulk of the contest.


“For the first time all year, I think we showed our youth. We settled too much for the first available shot instead of working the ball,” Spencerville coach Kevin Sensabaugh noted. “We didn’t respond to the atmosphere and the situation well at all. Youth is no excuse, though; it’s about playing good basketball at this time of year and we did not. It’s about shooting the basketball and even when we got good shots, they didn’t fall. That happens sometimes in this game.”
On the other end, the Red Devils (19-4) canned a warm 18-of-34 shots (7-of-14 3-point field goals) for 52.9 percent.
“For us, though, it came down to defense. We felt the best way to try and slow them down was keep them off-balance with our changing defenses,” Arlington mentor Jason Vermillion explained. “They are very skilled players but they are young. They got a few buckets early and we gave up some penetration but we never strayed from our game plan. They started to miss some shots then.”
The Bearcats had two main scorers all night in senior Ben Bowers with 17 and sophomore Zach Goecke 15. Arlington was led by seniors Jordan Freed and Blake Courtney with 16 each.
Though Spencerville held a skinny 12-11 lead after one, it was the second period that proved decisive on Tuesday night.
After a 4-for-13 performance in the opening stanza, the Bearcats turned polar, shooting 1-of-7, and included five turnovers in the mix, including three on their first three possessions. Senior Andrew Hunter buried a triple early in the period, and Arlington never trailed again. They delivered 5-of-11 shooting in the period and led 25-16 at the break.
The Bearcats fought to the end but to no avail, with the benches emptying as the fourth period wound down and seeing the end of the Bearcat basketball careers of three seniors: Bowers, Jon Long and Aaron Crider.
“I’m not sure we did anything that resembled a good basketball team tonight. We have four guys averaging double figures and we basically had two guys score tonight,” Sensabaugh added. “We didn’t rebound very well and we didn’t play good defense. We’ve had three games like this this year and it’s unfortunate tonight was one of them. It’s a great learning experience for our underclassmen, but, unfortunately for our three seniors, it doesn’t help them. They won’t be back next year.”
“I have a lot of confidence in my senior guards that have been through quite a lot of big games,” Vermillion added. “Again, we had our ideas offensively and when they tried to apply more defensive pressure, we stayed poised and made good decisions with the ball.”
Arlinton will advance to the district finals on Friday night when they take on Marion Local. The Flyers erased a double-figure deficit in the late game on Tuesday, beating Upper Scioto Valley, 47-46.
Score by quarters
Arlington    11 14 18 18 - 61
Spencerville 12 4 11 10 - 37
Arlington (61)
Zach Durliat 0, Ryan McDowell 6, Andrew Hunter 8, Jordan Freed 16, Ridge Babb 0, Jesse Coleman 0, Jared Green 0, Aaron Starr 5, Matt Glick 4, Logan Speyer 0, Michael Blunk 6, Blake Courtney 16
Spencerville (37)
Mason Nourse 2, David Wisher 0, Damien Corso 0, Grant Goecke 0, Jacob Meyer 0, Zach Goecke 15, Ben Bowers 17, Dakota Prichard 3, Bailey Croft 0, Griffen Croft 0, Jon Long 0, Aaron Crider 0