By Rob Kiser
It was exactly what you would expect when two teams like Russia and Fort Loramie are meeting for the third time.
A classic Shelby County Athletic League matchup, which went right to the final buzzer.
In the end, Fort Loramie had a just enough to stun top seeded Russia 52-51 in a Piqua D-IV sectional final and move on to the district tournament.
The Redskins won for the seventh time in the last eight games and improved to 13-12, while Russia closes at 21-4.
Fort Loramie’s Evan Berning broke a 50-50 deadlock on a drive to the basket with just over a minute remaining for what would prove to be the winning points.
Russia’s Dylan Cordonnier was fouled with 25.3 seconds to go and made one of two free throws to make it a 52-51 game.
Fort Loramie got the rebound, but Russia pressured the Redskins into a bad pass and Fort Loramie fouled going for the ball, turning it back over to the Raiders.
Russia missed a shot and Fort Loramie’s Tyler Siegel grabbed the rebound.
In the action, he ended up on the floor and was called for traveling with 2.2 seconds to go.
After three timeouts, Russia had a short jumper, but Loramie pressured the shot and it was off the mark giving the Redskins the win.
From the start, it was a game where one team would go on a run, only to be answered by the other team.
Drew Wehrman, who scored 13 in the opening half, hit a three to put the Redskins up 15-10 late in the first quarter, before Russia answered with the final four points of the quarter.
In the second quarter, Wehrman had a 3-point play, Siegel scored and Wehrman added two free throws to give Loramie a 22-14 edge.
But, Jonah Counts and Cordonnier hit threes for Russia.
Russia held for the final shot of the half.
Trailing 30-26, Jake Gariety was fouled on a 3-point attempt with 2.6 seconds to go and hit all three free throws to get the Raiders within 30-29 at the break.
Russia started the third quarter with threes by Counts and Gariety to make it 35-30, but it was Loramie’s turn to rally.
They had pulled even at 39 on a steal and basket by Berning with 13 seconds to go in the quarter, before Russia’s Jack Dapore banked in a three at the buzzer to give Russia a 42-39 edge.
Both teams led by three at one point in the fourth quarter, before the other answered to set up the dramatic finish.
Wehrman finished with 16 points for Loramie, while Berning added 13.
Siegel had 11 points and seven rebounds and Tanner Raosengarten also had seven rebounds.
Gariety led Russia with 11 points and Cordonnier added 10.
Loramie was 19 of 45 from the floor and 10 of 13 from the line, while Russia was 16 of 39 from the floor and 13 of 15 from the line.
The Redskins won the battle of the boards 22-17 and both teams had 10 turnovers.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.