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Tigers bag Rams to take sole possession of first place in OHC

When the pressure mounted, West Liberty-Salem’s boys basketball team found out just what it was made of Saturday night.


West Liberty-Salem’s Travis Mayse goes up for a basket against Greeneview’s Evan Bradds during the third quarter of their game Saturday at WL-Salem High School. (EXAMINER PHOTO | AARON LaBATT)

The Tigers grabbed an early lead, fell behind and then rallied late for a 57-54 win over visiting Greeneview in a key Ohio Heritage Conference matchup.

“That was a pretty big win for us,” said WL-Salem head coach Aaron Hollar. “It’s not the end-all, but it will certainly give us an advantage going into the second half of league play. We want to keep this thing going.”

The Tigers are now 9-2 overall and the win puts them atop the OHC standings with a perfect 7-0 record. The victory also snapped a 10-game winning streak by the Rams, who slip to 10-2, 6-1.

Greeneview led 15-12 after the opening quarter, but WL-Salem pulled away in the second quarter with a 19-6 run. That gave the Tigers a 31-21 advantage entering halftime.

The Rams were far from done, though, as the opening minutes of the third quarter flustered the Tigers.

Greeneview hit three three-pointers early in the period and eventually evened the game at 33-33 with 4:50 left in the third quarter.

“We lost some of their shooters in the first three or four minutes of the second half,” said Hollar. “They picked the pace up, which usually favors us, but we couldn’t scramble. Their guys found some room behind the three-point line and hit some shots.”

The Rams finished the third quarter ahead 41-39.

The Rams leaned heavily on junior Evan Bradds throughout the second half. Bradds, who is a grandson of former Ohio State All-American Gary Bradds, has signed with the University of Belmont, a Division I program.

“Greeneview likes to play off of Bradds and what he does,” said Hollar. “I thought we did pretty well against him. It was kind of by committee, but we did a good job.”

Both teams exchanged blows and lead changes in the fourth quarter as the clock whittled down. WL-Salem’s Max Bailey hit a three-pointer to put the Tigers up 54-52 with 46.6 seconds left in regulation.

The Tigers’ Grant Burden made a pair of free throws to make the score 56-52 with 24.8 seconds left.

Greeneview scored to keep it within two points, but WL-Salem’s Landon Hormann was fouled and made his second free throw attempt. That gave the Tigers a 57-54 edge with 7.2 seconds to go.

Bradds fired a desperation three-point shot that missed and WL-Salem rebounded the ball and held on for the win.

“It came down to one big stop and we found it,” said Hollar. “We found a way there at the end to get the win. I’m proud of our guys.”

Hormann led the Tigers with 23 points, while Grant Burden had 14 points and Ben Burden finished with nine points.

For the Rams, Bradds had 23 points and Tyler Burns added 17 points including five three pointers.

Greeneview won the junior varsity game 41-36. Kris Burns led the Tigers with 15 points.

WL-Salem hosts Benjamin Logan on Tuesday in a local non-league matchup.


GREENEVIEW (10-2, 6-1)

Nix 0 2-2 2; Erwin 1 0-0 3; Saunders 3 0-0 9; Bruns 5 2-2 17; Bradds 8 5-6 23. Totals: 17 9-19 54.

WL-SALEM (9-2, 7-0)

Bailey 1 0-0 3; Mayse 3 0-0 6; B. Burden 3 1-2 9; Woods 1 0-0 2; G. Burden 3 6-11 14; Hormann 9 5-8 23. Totals: 20 12-21 57.

Rams    15    6    20    13      —     54

Tigers    12    19    8    18    —    57

Three pointers: Greeneview 11 (Bruns 5, Saunders 3, Bradds 2, Erwin); WL-Salem 5 (G. Burden 2, B. Buden 2, Bailey). Team fouls: Greeneview 17; WL-Salem 13.

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