By ANDREW WILLIAMS
It isn’t quite March yet, but there was plenty of madness Tuesday night at Findlay High School.
Ryan Lommerse hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to finish with 33 points and lift Hopewell-Loudon over Riverdale 76-73 in overtime in the second Division III sectional semifinal of the evening.
In the first semifinal contest between Lakota and Elmwood, Colin Timmons drilled a basket from the left elbow with 0.5 seconds remaining in regulation to push the Raiders past the Royals 63-62 and into Friday night’s sectional finals.
Lakota (8-14) advanced to meet top-seeded Liberty-Benton (17-4) in the first title matchup at 6:15 p.m.
Hopewell-Loudon (14-9) will take on Midland Athletic League rival Carey (17-4) in the second contest at 8 p.m.
Riverdale put together a furious fourth-quarter comeback and had a chance to win the game in regulation, but Lee Holderman’s 3-point attempt was unsuccessful and the teams entered overtime tied at 64-all.
The Chieftains started the extra session on a 6-0 run to make it 70-64, but the Falcons answered again and a Holderman basket with 33.7 seconds left cut the deficit to 73-70.
Jimmy Fox, who finished with 24 points, nailed a 3-pointer for Riverdale to tie the game at 73-73 with less than 10 seconds to play.
The ball was inbounded to Garret Sendelbach and he appeared to be trapped near the half-court line before finding Lommerse, who spun around and drilled the 3-ball as time expired.
“First of all, we just wanted to get down the court because we were having trouble on the press,” Lommerse said. “Then I just saw Garret getting trapped so I tried finding an open spot and he got it to me and I hit the shot.”
“That was just awesome,” Hopewell-Loudon coach Adam Smith said. “Typically, when they tie it up you want to call a timeout but I was terrified of having to inbound the ball again. I didn’t want to have to get the ball inbounds and go against a trap. I figured Garret’s playing well, Ryan’s playing well, let’s just go live and hope one of them makes a play.”
After holding a 34-33 lead at halftime, Riverdale (8-15) dug themselves a hole by getting outscored 17-9 in the third quarter to head into the final period down 50-43.
A 3-pointer by Chad Pever tied the game at 58-58 with 3:12 to play in the fourth quarter and he hit another 3-pointer less than a minute later to tie it at 61-all after an old-fashioned 3-point play by Lommerse. Each team was 3 of 4 from the foul line in the final two minutes to send it to overtime.
“Unfortunately, tournament basketball you’ve got heroes and you’ve got guys going home,” Riverdale coach Craig Taylor said. “We’re going home. Give their kid credit for hitting the shot. Jimmy hit a great shot to tie it up.
“I told the guys tonight, we’ve been preaching it all year, you’ve got to play for 32 minutes. I don’t think we started playing until six minutes were left in the game. It’s not a light switch and hopefully our younger guys learn that.”
Holderman finished with 20 points and Pever had 13 for the Falcons, while Sendelbach netted 19 for the Chieftains.
In the first game of the night, Tayte Lentz made two free throws with 26.7 seconds remaining to put Elmwood ahead 62-59, followed by Kyle Below scoring to make it 62-61 with 8.5 seconds left.
Aaron Arnold was intentionally fouled with 7.4 seconds on the clock and went to the free-throw line with a chance to extend the Royals’ lead. He missed the front end of a 1-and-1 and the ball was hauled in by Timmons.
The 6-foot-1 senior dribbled the length of the court before pulling up just outside the top of the key and sinking the game winner over Arnold’s outstretched hand.
“When there was five seconds left, I was like I’ve got to shoot my shot,” Timmons said after finishing with 17 points. “That’s the shot me and my dad practice all the time, shooting right over people. I knew it right away. It felt so good.”
“I think our kids played with a lot of determination and focus, tightened up their defense,” Lakota coach Tim Walsh said about his team in the second half. “We went to a full-court press midway through the third quarter. That kind of got them going a little more. We just got the momentum and that stuff happens.”
Elmwood (6-17) built a 38-24 halftime lead after outscoring Lakota 20-11 in the second quarter, but the Raiders roared back with a 21-11 third-period advantage to cut the Royals’ lead to 49-45 entering the final eight minutes.
Josh Kirkpatrick and Hunter Chalfin each tallied 12 points for the Raiders. Trevor Solether scored a game-high 23 points, Arnold dropped in 17 and Deven Peter added 10 for the Royals.
“Give Lakota all the credit in the world,” Elmwood coach Ty Traxler said. “They played better than us down the stretch. It seemed like they hit every shot when they needed to. I hate to simplify it, but you miss free throws down the stretch and you don’t defend that’s a bad combination to win a close game. They made plays, we didn’t.”
Timmons 6-4—17, Kirkpatrick 5-2—12, Bowling 3-0—7, Monroe 1-0—2, Chalfin 4-2—12, King 0-0—0, below 2-0—4, Crowe 3-3—9. TOTALS: 24-34 11-15—63.
Peter 2-6—10, Lentz 1-2—5, Childress 1-1—3, Baxter 1-0—2, Buckingham 1-0—2, Arnold 6-4—17, Jones 0-0—0, Solether 9-2—23. TOTALS: 21-42 15-19—62.
Lakota 13 11 21 18 — 63
Elmwood 18 20 11 13 — 62
3-Point GOALS: Lakota 4-8 (Chalfin 2, Timmons & Bowling); Elmwood 5-9 (Solether 3, Arnold & Lentz).
rebounds: Elmwood 17 (Arnold 8); Lakota 13 (Timmons 4).
turnovers: Lakota 11, Elmwood 6.
Rickle 0-0—0, Pever 5-0—13, Holderman 7-2—20, Snider 0-0—0, Fox 7-6—24, Frey 3-1—8, Loveridge 4-0—8. TOTALS: 26-56 9-15—73.
Hill 5-0—10, Sendelbach 6-3—19, Sadler 4-0—9, Bodart 1-0—2, Depinet 0-0—0, Lommerse 12-8—33, Steinmetz 1-0–2. TOTALS: 29-54 11-16—76.
Riverdale 16 18 9 21 9 — 73
Hopewell-Loudon 17 16 17 14 12 — 76
3-Point GOALS: Riverdale 12-25 (Fox & Holderman 4, Pever 3, Frey); Hopewell-Loudon 6-15 (Sendelbach 4, Sadler & Lommerse).
rebounds: Riverdale 30 (Loveridge 7); Hopewell-Loudon 25 (Hill 9).
turnovers: Riverdale 14, Hopewell-Loudon 14.