Liberty-Benton rallies to defeat Leipsic
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 6:40 PM
LEIPSIC - Leipsic had everything going their way against Blanchard Valley Conference unbeaten Liberty-Benton Tuesday night.But in a span of seconds the Eagles were able to turn the momentum.
After Leipsic missed a shot, Liberty-Benton came down and hit a three-pointer that sparked the Eagles to a 46-44 come-from-behind win against the Vikings.
The win moved the fifth ranked Eagles, Division III, to 6-0 in the conference and 14-1 overall, while the Vikings dropped to 4-2 in the BVC and 13-3 overall.
Leipsic had a 42-34 lead after three quarters and went up 44-34 seconds into the final quarter when Devin Mangas drove to the basket and scored. Although the Vikings had spent most of the second half doing what they wanted to offensively, they were unable to keep it going as Mangas' basket was their only points of the final quarter.
Although the Viking offense went quiet, the Eagles were unable to cut into Leipsic's lead until their was 4:28 left to play. After Leipsic missed a shot, the Eagles were able to get out in transition and found junior Zach Garver alone in the left corner. Garver stepped up and drained a three-pointer that sparked the Eagles.
After going scoreless for nearly six minutes of the second half, the Eagles scored seven points in a span of 43 seconds that had them within 44-41 with 3:45 left after two free throws by Adam Cyltak.
A minute later the Eagles tied the game when Mitch Linhart drained a three-pointer from the top of the key. Neither team scored until there was 2.6 seconds left after Liberty-Benton's Ryan Geise was fouled when a Leipsic player tried to come up with a steal.
Geise sank both free throws and a long Leipsic three-pointer was off the mark as time expired.
"I'm so proud of our kids. They did everything we wanted. They followed the game plan to perfection," Leipsic coach Scott Maag said. "We couldn't put them away. They are ranked in Division III for a reason. We were up 10 (points) with five minutes to play and we didn't score. We had two or three nice looks, but they didn't fall."
Cyltak had 18 points and seven rebounds to lead the Eagles, while Geise finished with 10 points. Linhart added eight points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Mangas led the Vikings with 18 points and Zach Kuhlman finished with 12 points. Derek Steffan and Austin Brown both had 10 points for the Vikings.
Leipsic had a 24-22 halftime lead but were able to expand the lead in the third quarter due to the play of Brown and Mangas.
Brown scored the Vikings first six points of the quarter on strong moves to the basket that helped give Leipsic a 33-24 lead with a 6-2 run. Mangas scored the Vikings next seven points, that included a three-pointer, as the Vikings took a 37-29 lead. Liberty-Benton pulled within six points three times in the quarter but were unable to get any closer. After Zach Kuhlman and Alec Rhodes traded three-pointers, Aric Schroeder ended the third quarter with a basket pushing the Leipsic lead to eight points.
"They did a great job of breaking us down and making plays and finding shooters all night," Eagle coach Steve Williman said. "And when we made a defensive mistake we paid the price. They finished a lot of plays and we were fortunate they got to the basket a couple of other times and failed to finish. We were fortunate to get a win on the road against a good basketball team and we knew we were going to see their best shot. For three quarters we were at their mercy. That three-pointer in the fourth quarter was a big shot for as we were struggling to score. It changed the momentum for us."