Playing for the first time since the Batesville Bulldogs knocked off host Greensburg at the sectional final in March, the Pirates gained some semblance of revenge with Friday night’s 52-48 win on their rival’s home court.
“There were some possessions tonight where I didn’t think we fought through fatigue very well,” said head coach Aaron Garrett after the loss.
“We have some work to do on our mental toughness,” he added. “You have to find that next reserve, that next motor. In basketball, and life, when things aren’t going your way, you have to make them go your way.”
The Bulldogs were playing without leading scorer Colt Meyer, though the Pirates were without the services of Lane Sparks (14.9 points per game last year).
“I’m super proud of our collective effort, especially with a piece like Colt being out,” said the coach. “From my perspective, that leaves more reps and more opportunities for other guys. There were some frustrating things with (lack of) execution, but I get it, because we run a lot of things around Colt.”
The visitors also clamped down on junior Sam Voegele, who was held scoreless after he and Meyer accounted for 69% of the offense in the season opener. Others indeed filled the void; the trio of senior Charlie Dice, junior Lleyton Ratcliffe and sophomore Thomas Raver totaled 39 points, versus just 10 last Saturday.
A spirited game as always, the visitors turned a one-point halftime lead into double digits (44-34) with Miles Wilkison’s steal and bucket late in the third quarter. Batesville fired right back to halve the lead on a Ratcliffe jump-hook in the lane and Dice’s fourth 3-pointer of the game.
“Charlie played well all the way through,” Garrett said of his 6-foot-3 forward, who led BHS with 17 points after recording zero in the opener. “You saw him dialed in tonight, that’s the Charlie I love coaching.”
Colin Comer and Ratcliffe traded hoops to begin the fourth, followed by Wright State recruit Andrew Welage’s score to make it 48-41. A back-cut by Brenden Stanley kept the lead at seven with three minutes to go.
Out of a BHS timeout, Raver connected from three. Still down four, the Bulldogs needed to foul but only had four team violations. By the time Wilkison was fouled with 32.5 seconds left, Batesville was down 52-46. Greensburg missed the front end of three one-and-ones in the last half-minute; however, the hosts only managed a Dice scoring drive.
“We didn’t have enough of those grind-out possessions, where we’re able to execute and get a basket to make up the difference,” Garrett said.
To start an up-tempo first quarter, the Pirates got baskets from Wilkison and Comer for the early lead. A Wilkison make made it 6-2 before a drive by Raver and three from junior RJ Powell flipped the lead. That was the first of seven lead changes and two ties before the half.
After Welage’s two put the guests up 8-7, Powell’s hoop would put the Bulldogs up until midway through the second frame. Down 23-19, the Pirates got a Wilkison deuce and breakaway flush by Welage.
Welage answered Ratcliffe’s triple with one of his own for a 26-all tie. A succession of field goals – Wilkison, Ratcliffe (3), Welage, Raver and Wilkison again – led to Greensburg’s 32-31 halftime lead.
Stanley opened second-half scoring to trigger a 12-3 run by the Pirates. It included a 3-pointer by Comer, followed by five straight points from Wilkison (2, 3). Batesville called timeout at 4:24 with Greensburg ahead by nine.
The bulk of scoring was done by four players for each side. Welage netted 20 and Wilkison 19 for the winning Pirates. Comer chipped in 7 and Stanley 6.
Ratcliffe (12) and Raver (10) reached double figures and Powell added 7.
“Without question, I’m disappointed with the loss, but we had some players step up tonight and not shy away,” said Garrett. “That will serve us well as we go through the year.”
Batesville (1-1) starts conference play Friday at Lawrenceburg. The next day brings a spot in the first Tri-State Shootout hosted by South Dearborn High School. Batesville will face Campbell County (Kentucky) at approximately 4:30 p.m. Admission is $8 for a daily pass (5 games).
The Bulldogs won the junior varsity contest to start the night, taking it 52-37. The hosts led 16-6 after one stanza, still holding the 10-point lead at halftime. An 18-7 third period by the home team effectively sealed the win.
Calvin Sherwood went for 23 points and Cole Werner added 12 for Batesville. Ben Schebler put in 6, Alex Siefert 4, Eli Pierson 3, Cody Mohr 2 and Brady Westerfeld 2.