By Robbin Kiser
March 9, 2014
By Rob Kiser
Call Sports Editor
There is no need for James Bond in this one.
When the Russia and Marion Local boys basketball teams tip-off in a Kettering D-IV regional final at Trent Arena at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, there will be no secrets.
“Not at this time of year when a MAC school is playing an SCL school,” Russia coach Paul Bremigan said. “They have seen us plenty of times — we have seen them plenty of times. It is not like we are playing someone we don’t know anything about.”
Not to mention the two teams played in what was Russia’s regular season finale, with the Flyers winning by two points.
“I think they had a couple games after that, but it was our last regular season game,” Bremigan said. “They didn’t have (6-10 junior) Luke Knapke in that one. He had a broken finger, but he is back.”
Knapke was a second-team all Northwest District selection, averaging 14.1 points and 7.8 rebounds.
The Flyers also have 6-7 senior Ryan Bruns and 6-6 junior Adam Bertke to form the wall of their 2-3 zone inside.
Bertke also averaged more than seven rebounds and is a 50-percent 3-point shooter, while guard Dustin Rethman maded 26 3-pointers in the regular season to lead the Flyers.
“They have a lot of length, that’s for sure,” Bremigan said.
Some of the Flyers tournament scores seem unusually low — but that is predicated by the difficult to get shots against the zone.
They defeated Fort Recovery 27-23 and the district final was 18-13 at halftime, before the Flyers went on to win 44-34.
“They are not (slow-tempo) by any means,” Bremgian said. “They will get out and go.”
Their win over Russia is the only Raiders loss since early in the season — Russia had a 16-game win streak going into that game and has won 20 of its last 21.
The Raiders are led by 6-4 junior Gavin Hoying and 6-1 junior Nolan Francis, who both average close to 14 a game.
6-1 juniors Jordan Gariety and Bryce Cordonnier, along with 6-4 junior Jacob Pleiman round out the starting lineup. Gariety and Pleiman combine for about 15 points a game.
“Gavin (Hoying) and Nolan (Francis) have played well all year,” Bremigan said. “We have had some kids like Bryce Cordonnier and Adam Hoying (6-3 junior) who have really stepped up.”
Francis had a 15-point first half and 22 points in the district final win over Aiken.
“The thing is we have had a lot of different guys step up,” Bremigan said. “Nolan (Francis) didn’t score the first three quarters against Jackson Center (in the sectional final) and we still won.”
Russia will need the kind of effort on the boards as it got against Aiken.
With Pleiman and the Hoyings combining for 24 rebounds, Russia had a 41-25 edge on the boards and gave up just four offensive rebounds to Aiken.
“That (rebounding) is always at the top of our list, so this game is no different,” Bremigan.
If it wasn’t, it would be the only suprise — in a game with no secrets.