Leopards Stunned By Blue Devils in Sectional Final – Boys Basketball
#7 Tallmadge 60, #2 Louisville 50
The #2 Seed Louisville Leopards Boys Basketball Team was upset by the visiting #7 Seed Tallmadge Blue Devils 60-50 in the DII Canton Sectional Finals Friday Night at Louisville High School. With the loss, Louisville finishes the season with a record of 13-10.
Spencer Hall scored a team-high 16 points to lead the Leopards. Cam King and Jared Mathie also added 9 a piece for Louisville.
Hall scored the first 6 points of the contest as the Leopards held Tallmadge off the scoreboard for the first three minutes of the game. But the Blue Devils got hot in putting together a 10-2 run to take the lead late in the first quarter.
King hit a three-pointer for Louisville in the waning seconds to give LHS a 12-10 advantage at the end of the first. This triple kickstarted an 11-2 run for the Leopards heading into the second quarter. The speedy Scott Gronow went coast to coast to cap off the run making it 19-12 Leopards with 4:26 to play before halftime.
Tallmadge cut into the lead some in the remaining minutes of the first half, but Louisville countered harder. Off a feed from Bryce Zuppe, Jones hit a contested three from the right wing to give the Leopards their largest lead of the game at 27-19 with 1:16 to play before the break.
Louisville would not hit another shot from the field for the next 5:14 of game time as the Blue Devils strung together another 10-2 run. Brandon Heigelmann capped the burst with a 25-footer well beyond the right side of the arch to knot the game at 29-29. Heigelmann would hit 3 three-pointers and finish with 17 points for Tallmadge.
Gronow answered on the other end with a two to end the Leopards drought from the field. Hall split a pair from the line a few possessions later to give LHS a 32-29 advantage with 2:58 left in the third.
The Blue Devils surged in the final two and half minutes of the third. Sam Seeker hit a three to tie the game at 32-all. Then Danny Kurko grabbed an offensive board and was fouled on the putback score. He converted from the line to put Tallmadge up 35-32 with 2:17 left in the third. Kurko and Seeker would both finish with 7 for THS.
King hit a three off a pass from Mathie about a minute later to tie the game at 35-35, but the relentless Devils kept coming. Nick Hussing produced a steal and score with 20 seconds left to put Tallmadge up 40-35, a lead that they would take into the final period.
Louisville dug deep and stormed out of the gate on a 7-0 run to start the fourth. Hall hit a short field goal 13 seconds into the stanza. Jones made a three via an assist from Zuppe to knot the game at 40-40 before the first minute ticked away. Then King forced a steal at mid-court and pushed a pass to Mathie who laid it in for the score giving the Leopards a 42-40 advantage with 6:45 remaining.
It would be their final lead of the season as the Blue Devils produced their third 10-2 run of the game to take the lead for good. Kurko scored a basket to start the run and Jake Gardella scored off a fast break pass from Heigelamann to make it 46-42 Tallmadge. Gronow answered on a layup in the lane to cut the deficit to 46-44 with 4:35 to play.
Hussing produced a steal and score and then scored after a long dish by Seeker to cap off the run. That gave Tallmadge a 50-44 lead with 3:24 left. Hussing would finish with a game-high 24 points to lead the Blue Devils.
The Leopards rallied to get back to within 51-48 a little over a minute later. Mathie stopped a fast break on defense and then stormed back to the offensive end. Dazzling the crowd, Mathie dribbled behind his back at the top of the key to fake out one defender, faked a pass to the left corner, and laid in a basket while being fouled. The Senior arguably saved his best highlight for last then converted the old fashion three-point play to get Louisville within a single possession with 2:20 left.
But Tallmadge kept coming. Just 11 seconds later Hussing threw a cross court pass to Heigelmann who buried his third three-pointer of the game, a backbreaker that gave the Devils a 54-48 lead. A little later, the Leopards got an unkind roll off the rim on a layup and Tallmadge came back hard the other way. Hussing passed to Heigelmann who scored a reverse layup to put the Blue Devils in firm command at 56-48. Heigelmann would score all of his 7 fourth quarter points in the final 2:09 and finished with 17 for the evening.
The Leopards were unable to hit from the floor in the remaining minutes and Tallmadge increased their lead from the line before punching their ticket to Districts. They will play the 3rd Seed Northwest Indians in the DII Canton District Semifinals on Thursday, March 7 at 7:45 PM in the second game of a double header at Canton Memorial Fieldhouse. The Indians defeated #11 Seed Canton South 55-41 to advance Friday.
With the loss, the Leopards are now 1-3 against the Blue Devils all-time which includes an 0-2 record in games played at Louisville. The Leopards defeated Tallmadge 67-59 earlier this season at the Alliance Christmas Classic held at Mount Union.
With the loss, Louisville is now 23-26 in Division II tournament play counting their DII tenure in 1988-2011 and the past two seasons. LHS is now 51-83 in the postseason overall dating as far back as 1932.
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BLUE DEVILS 60, LEOPARDS 50
BLUE DEVILS: Hussing 9 4-6 24, Heigelmann 4 6-8 17, Kurko 2 3-3 7, Seeker 2 2-4 7, Gardella 2 0-0 5. TOTAL 19 15-21 60.
3-Pointers (7): Higelmann 3, Hussing 2, Gardella, Seeker
Team FT: 15-21 71%
LEOPARDS: Hall 4 8-12 16, King 3 1-2 9, Mathie 3 2-3 9, Gronow 3 0-2 6, Jones 2 0-0 6, Zuppe 1 2-2 4. TOTAL 16 13-21 50.
3-Pointers (5): Jones 2, King 2, Mathie
Team FT: 13-21 62%
Fouls: 17-16 Louisville
Turnovers: 11-10 Louisville
Records: Louisville 13-10