DAYTON — In the end, all Cincinnati Christian School boys basketball coach Carl Woods could do was grin and shake his head.
Buoyed by a huge second half by senior Nathan Raterman, Fort Loramie ended the Cougars’ season 49-41 in a Division IV district final Friday night at the University of Dayton Arena.
Raterman knocked down four 3-pointers as part of an 18-point second-half explosion as the Redskins (19-7) claimed their third straight district title.
“No, no one could prepare for that,” Woods said of Raterman’s second-half outburst. “The kid got hot. When you get a shooter hot, that happens. When we scouted them, he was in a bit of a slump, but like all shooters, he got something right and unfortunately for us he was hot tonight.”
Cameron Rogers led the Cougars (20-6) with 15 points and eight boards, and his three-point play early in the fourth period tied the game at 34.
Raterman answered with a deep 3 to give Fort Loramie the lead for good.
The Redskin sank 10-of-11 free throws in the last 90 seconds to stave off any comeback attempts. Fort Loramie shot 15-of-27 from the field and only turned the ball over six times.
“I thought offensively we executed really really well,” Redskins coach Corey Britton said.
Woods said the Cougars’ defense was good, but the inability to stay with Raterman proved to be too much.
“We did get the big stop,” Woods said. “But Raterman would come down and hit a 3. We would get the stop we needed to get back in the game. We would get momentum back in our favor and then we would blow an assignment, not close out, and he would nail another 3.”
The Cougars grabbed an early 11-9 lead behind a Logan Woods runner, but watched the Redskins rattle off the next eight points.
Eli Rosengarten had 12 points, and his layup at the end of the first half gave the Redskins a 23-21 lead.
The Cougars trailed 28-26 with 3:14 left in the third quarter, but Raterman nailed two long 3s to put Fort Loramie up 34-26. Rogers cut the gap to five with a 3 at the third-quarter buzzer.
“We actually didn’t prepare for that,” Rogers said of Raterman’s explosion. “We didn’t talk on defense. That team is a very fundamental team, and they hurt us on back cuts.”
Britton said the Cougars were tough, but his team showed some grit. The Redskins made the regional final last year, and Britton said this crew continues to amaze.
“Just happy for our seniors,” he said. “There was a lot of doubt around our program after losing five seniors last year. We got a late start, and we had to persevere starting 3-4. They just kept fighting and believing in our program. I am have never been more proud of these guys.”
Woods scored 12 for CCS and his 3-pointer cut the gap to 43-39 with one minute left, but the Cougars missed on several wide-open shots while the Redskins nailed free throws on the other end.
Despite the outcome, Carl Woods could only smile at how his team overcame adversity due to injuries to get back to the district championship game.
“It is a tough pill to swallow when you lose,” Woods said. “Everyone wants to continue and go as far as possible, but with the adversity we have faced, we still had a great season. This season gives me a great feeling of accomplishment.”
CCS graduates four players: Riley Reutener, Miguel Ringer, Cole Martin and Trevor Allen.
Fort Loramie 9-14-11-15—49
Cincinnati Christian 11-10-8-12—41
FORT LORAMIE (19-7): Nick Brandewie 1 2 4: Eli Rosengarten 4 4 12; Nathan Raterman 6 9 25; Mason Kemper 1 0 2; Carter Mescher 2 0 4; Nate Meyer 1 0 2. Totals: 15-15-49
CINCINNATI CHRISTIAN (20-6): Riley Reutener 1 0 2; Miguel Ringer 3 0 6; Logan Woods 5 0 12; Devin McKinnon 2 0 4; Cameron Rogers 6 2 15; Jalon Percy 1 0 2. Totals: 18-2-41
3-pointers: F 4 (Raterman 4), C 3 (Woods 2, Rogers)