HAMILTON — Badin High School boys basketball coach Gerry Weisgerber felt his team let one slip away Friday night.
The Rams rallied late to tie the game, only to see Evan Brunot score with four seconds left to lift visiting McNicholas to a stunning 47-45 win in front of a packed house at Mulcahey Gym.
Badin had a 35-27 lead in the third quarter, but struggled through a dry spell of seven-plus minutes in falling in a battle of Greater Catholic League Coed Central Division front-runners.
FRIDAY NIGHT BASKETBALL COVERAGE
The Rams didn’t help their cause by shooting 8-of-22 from the foul line as they dropped to 7-2 overall and 2-2 in the Central.
“We did enough things during the game, even with the foul shooting, to have a different outcome,” Weisgerber said. “Everyone will look at the free throws and say that is where we lost the game, but we were up eight in the third quarter and we went 10 possessions in a row without scoring. We have to learn how to play smart when you get the lead and do the things you were doing to get the lead.”
Justin Pappas led all scorers with 13 points and Zach Switzer added 12 to pace Badin. The inside duo each snared seven rebounds, but combined for only five points after intermission.
“It’s something I have to take a look at,” Weisgerber said. “We have done this in too many games where we have come out in the third quarter and played sluggish. We started going one-on-one to much. We have to learn from it. We have some kids who do well off the dribble, but we there are times we don’t need that. We can move the ball and after two or three passes we might get it inside for the easy layup.”
After Badin hit 12-of-21 shots to take a 31-25 halftime lead, the Rams made only 4-of-16 in the second half while scoring just 14 points.
Rockets coach Tim Monahan said his young team grew up in the pivotal third period.
“The third quarter was huge for us,” Monahan said. “We lost 90 percent of our seniors and scoring from last year, and for this team to believe and keep fighting down eight in the third quarter was big. This was a huge win for us.”
Brunot, a junior forward, had all 11 of his points in the second half as the Rockets improved to 6-2, 3-1.
Bryce Kellerman and Josh Burkhardt each had eight points for McNick, which shot 50 percent from the floor.
Badin trailed 41-38 with less than four minutes to go, but Pappas had a layup and Nathan Hegemann (eight points, four rebounds, three assists) hit a pair of freebies to put the Rams up 42-41 with 1:58 left.
Burkhardt answered for McNick, and after a pair of missed free throws for Badin, Brunot was fouled and hit two for a 45-42 lead with 29 seconds left.
After a Rams timeout, Hegemann drove, made the shot and got fouled. The senior guard completed the three-point play to tie the game with 11 seconds left.
McNicholas called a timeout and on the ensuing play quickly ran the length of the court, with Brunot scoring on a reverse layup.
Weisgerber quickly called a timeout, but the Rams’ last-ditch effort was blocked.
“Right now, we just have to worry about taking care of our business,” Weisgerber said. “We still have a shot at it. Whoever wins our half of the conference is going to have a couple losses. We just have to take care of business so we are right there at the end.”
McNick plays at Taft tonight. Badin hosts Bellbrook on Tuesday.
MCNICHOLAS (6-2, 3-1 GCLC Central): Bryce Kellerman 4 0 8; Evan Brunot 4 3 11; Patrick Johnson 2 0 4; Larry Kocisko 2 1 7; Caden Conrad 1 0 3; Brendan Schoening 2 0 6; Josh Burkhardt 4 0 8. Totals: 19-4-47
BADIN (7-2, 2-2 GCLC Central): Joseph Walsh 1 2 5; Nathan Hegemann 2 3 8; Donovan Watkins 0 1 1; Zach Switzer 5 1 12; Spencer Giesting 2 0 5; Justin Pappas 6 0 13; John Berg 0 1 1. Totals: 16-8-45
3-pointers: M 5 (Schoening 2, Brunot, Kocisko, Conrad), B 5 (Walsh, Hegemann, Switzer, Giesting, Pappas)