Boys basketball: Badin tops Ross to continue recent surge

ROSS TWP. — Though he was sporting a smile, Grant Wissman looked exhausted on the outside.

But the Badin High School junior center felt good on the inside.

Wissman scored 17 points — matching sophomore Nathan Lindesmith and freshman James Brink — and Badin sprinted out of the second-half gate to hand rival Ross a 65-46 defeat on Saturday night in the final meeting between the two programs.

“We needed this. We needed this,” said a winded Wissman. “It’s been a rough year. We’ve known that. We know we’re better than our record. We just needed this for the whole team.”

It’s been a struggle this season for Badin (4-15), which is now starting to figure out a formula. After losing 14 out of their first 15 games, the Rams have won three out of their last four.

“It’s called putting the ball in the basket,” Badin coach Pat Kreke said. “You look at the difference between our shooting percentage from those first 15 games up until now — it’s a big difference. We’re putting the ball in the basket.”

Ross senior Kellen Reid put the ball through the hoop early and often Saturday night.

Reid scored 11 of his game-high 22 points in the first quarter, and Ross (10-11) built a 16-6 lead when he drained a 3-pointer with 1:30 showing on the clock.

“He was just on fire,” Kreke said of Reid. “We knew he was a good shooter. They’ve got three of them who can shoot pretty good. He’s the one that I didn’t think would take as many shots as he did. But he took us out of the ballgame early.”

Badin answered with a 16-2 run, which was capped off by a Lindesmith trey that gave the Rams in green a 22-18 lead with 4:30 left in the second quarter.

Badin never trailed the rest of the way and outscored Ross 20-4 in the third quarter to blow things wide open.

Both teams shot decently well from the floor. Badin fired 23 of 40 (57.5%), while Ross was 18 of 40 (45%).

Badin took advantage of more opportunities at the rim in the second half.

“The third quarter, I think we had four or five shots around the rim, and we just didn’t execute,” Ross coach David Lane said. “We let their physicality bump us around. We didn’t go up strong and finish with some contact.

“You’ve got to give them credit,” Lane added. “They beat us in every facet of the game — outside the first three or four minutes when we came out in a flurry. Outside of that, they beat us because they were more physical and stronger.”

Lindesmith said getting the victory in the rivalry’s final meeting between the two schools is a big-time momentum booster for Badin.

“It feels absolutely amazing,” Lindesmith said. “It’s the last time we’re playing them in who knows how long. To put that statement down, it’s amazing. Everything was perfect.

“Our record doesn’t define us,” Lindesmith added. “We’re a better team than our record says. We started off slow this season, and we’re showing everyone that we can win.”

Kreke said the rivalry between Badin and Ross coming to an end is disappointing, making note that Ross High School’s gymnasium was packed for Saturday’s finale.

“Our kids are going to enjoy tonight. They know what this means,” Kreke said. “This rivalry ending is a shame. I hate to see it for these kids and high school sports in general. These kinds of rivalries are what high school sports are all about.

“I told our kids before the game that they were going to remember this atmosphere for a long time,” Kreke added. “You don’t get this atmosphere that often. But for this rivalry coming to an end is just a shame because of games like this. This stuff has been sold out back and forth for a long time.”

Lane said while his Rams enjoyed the opportunity to play in front of a sold-out home crowd against Badin, the focus will immediately be aimed at winning a Southwest Ohio Conference championship next week.

“Friday’s a big one. It’s all for the league title,” said Lane, whose squad is tied atop the SWOC standings with Northwest and Talawanda at 6-3. “We’ve got a lot of soul-searching to do over the next week to find out what we really want to get out of what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Ross hosts Talawanda next Friday, while Northwest travels to Mount Healthy to wrap up conference play.

Badin heads to Edgewood on Tuesday.

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