Pat Kreke’s record against his alma mater is most certainly improving.
The Fenwick High School boys basketball coach watched his team pull off a 61-56 overtime victory at Badin on Friday night, giving the Falcons their eighth win over the Rams in the last nine years.
Kreke, in his 29th season at the Fenwick helm, is now 11-18 against Badin.
“It’s always a nice thing to come back here,” said Kreke, a 1975 BHS graduate. “I want them to go 21-1, and that’s no lie. I love Badin. I had a great four years here with an education and athletics. I think what they’re doing now and the direction they’re going is first class, and that is a wonderful thing.
“But yes,” he added, “we never want to lose to them.”
David Luers collected 23 points and five rebounds for the Falcons, the Greater Catholic League Coed North Division leaders, while C.J. Napier had 18 points and 13 boards. Nick Braun added 9 points on a trio of 3-pointers.
Performing in front of a large, boisterous crowd at Mulcahey Gym, the Rams missed a driving shot and a contested stickback in the last five seconds of regulation, then got outscored 7-2 in OT.
BOYS BASKETBALL COVERAGE
“It was just one we gutted out,” said Luers, a senior guard who started fast with 10 of Fenwick’s 12 first-quarter points. “It was good to come out and win on a hostile GCL court. We were a little sloppy at some points, we were good at some points. I think we can be great, but we’ve got to focus and buckle down on what we need to do to get better.”
The Falcons advanced to 9-2 overall and 4-1 in the GCLC North with their fourth straight victory. Badin lost for the fourth time in five games, falling to 8-6 overall and 2-4 in the GCLC Central.
Daunte DeCello (13), Joseph Walsh (10) and Sam Mathews (9) led the scoring for the Rams.
“It’s a tough one to swallow,” said DeCello, a senior guard. “We didn’t get outplayed. They just got us tonight, but we’ll see them in the (Division II) tournament.
“Our record doesn’t indicate how good we are. Our motto is ‘Believe,’ so we’re just going to keep believing and keep working hard in practice. If we just keep doing what we’re doing, things will end up turning our way. I’ll put this team against anybody.”
Badin totaled just eight turnovers, yet was hurt by a couple crucial ones. Its only points in overtime came with 4.6 seconds left on two foul shots by Mathews.
That made it a 59-56 contest. Fenwick’s Caleb Davis clinched the win with 3.0 on the clock by sinking two free throws. He scored 4 of his 6 points in OT.
“We came out and competed tonight, which I didn’t see in some other games,” Rams coach Gerry Weisgerber said. “I wanted to see us compete for 32 minutes at both ends of the floor, and we did that. As it turned out, we did it for 36 minutes.
“Win or lose, I thought it was a really good game. Now if we just go out and learn from this, we’ll be fine the rest of the year. If I see us compete like that against Talawanda on Tuesday, then I’ll know we’re on the right track.”
Weisgerber said his squad’s shooting needs to improve. He also felt Badin probably launched a few too many 3-pointers, though the hosts converted six.
Caleb Meyer had 7 points and six rebounds for the Rams, who put nine players in the scoring column.
“That’s just us,” Weisgerber said. “We’re not going to have guys that are going to be 18-point scorers every night, but we’ve got plenty of guys that can come in there and give us 6, 8, 10 points. That’s how we’ve got to play it.”
Badin was 12 of 14 at the foul line — the Falcons were 19 of 25. Joe Durham contributed six boards for the winners.
“At the end of the day, I think we have more talent,” Kreke said. “Badin is a talented team, but I think my team has more kids with more experience. That’s not to take anything away from Badin. Gerry does a wonderful job with those kids. He gets so many of those kids playing together, it’s hard to keep track of who’s in and who’s out. He’s lined up for the next few years. His program is in good shape all the way down.”
Kreke said he’s still waiting for Fenwick to play its best basketball.
“I still don’t think we’re playing a good mental game right now,” he said. “If we ever played a little bit smarter, I think it would make a big difference. We talk about it all the time and work on it in practice. We just hope it comes around sooner than later.”
The Falcons have a short turnaround and will be at home Saturday night against Alter. The Rams will host Talawanda on Tuesday.
FENWICK (9-2, 4-1 GCLC North): Caleb Davis 1 4 6, C.J. Napier 5 7 18, David Luers 7 7 23, John Engelmeier 2 1 5, Nick Braun 3 0 9. Totals: 18-19-61
BADIN (8-6, 2-4 GCLC Central): Jakob Tipton 2 0 5, Nathan Hegemann 1 2 4, Daunte DeCello 5 1 13, Sam Mathews 2 4 9, Caleb Meyer 3 0 7, Joseph Walsh 3 3 10, Seth Hargis 0 2 2, Jordan Flaig 1 0 2, Spencer Giesting 2 0 4. Totals: 19-12-56
3-pointers: F 6 (Braun 3, Luers 2, Napier), B 6 (DeCello 2, Tipton, Walsh, Mathews, Meyer)