Gerry Weisgerber preferred the silver-lining viewpoint Friday night.
The Badin High School boys basketball coach didn’t see much he liked in Wednesday’s loss at Bellbrook, but he had no problem with the effort his players put forth at McNicholas.
That effort fell short of a victory, though, when Ryan Belmont blocked Kyle Young’s 3-point attempt at the buzzer, preserving a 52-50 victory for the unbeaten Rockets.
“I’m not frustrated with the loss like I was with Bellbrook because we came out and competed and played hard,” Weisgerber said. “This was quite a change from Wednesday. We didn’t play our best, but I’m encouraged by what I saw tonight. It’s just a matter of learning how to win this type of game. We’re getting closer.”
The biggest margin of the night was 6 points — McNick led 16-10 early in the second period — and the lead went back and forth in front of a large, raucous crowd.
The Rams had a couple chances to win on their offensive end after a Jakob Tipton steal in the final 30 seconds. Ultimately, it came down to an inbounds play on the baseline with one second remaining. Daunte DeCello threw the ball into Young, who launched a shot that found Belmont’s hand.
“That’s pretty risky because I got fouled in the corner already on a 3 (in the third period),” Young said of Belmont going for the block. “But he got ball. It was a good play.”
Belmont said he was careful about not fouling Young.
“I was trying to block it, but stay out of his way so I didn’t get called for a foul,” Belmont said. “We believe in our defense. It really carries us a lot.”
Asked to describe the final play, he replied, “They cleared out the middle for him, and I thought they were just going to give it to him and try to draw a foul, but he kicked it out. I was trailing pretty far because I was staying inside. Then I saw him go up, and I just jumped and tried to get a finger on it. And then everyone was going crazy and my teammates were running on the court. It was amazing.”
Ryan Reidy (19), Cole Burdick (18) and Michael Lang (15) were the only three players who scored for the Rockets, who improved to 10-0 overall and 4-0 in the Greater Catholic League Coed Central Division.
McNick has won six of the last seven meetings with Badin, though Rockets coach Tim Monahan said they’re always fiercely competitive and usually go down to the wire.
“I love this league because it’s always a dogfight,” Monahan said. “The atmosphere is awesome. It’s electric. I feel like I’m 90, but I’ll take it.
“We were out there dodging bullets. I think Gerry’s a hell of a coach. Those kids are playing really well. I knew they would be ready to play after having that step back against Bellbrook.”
James Ehlers totaled six rebounds and Belmont had four steals for McNick, which shot 35.6 percent from the field and 21.4 percent from beyond the arc. The Rockets were 17 of 21 at the foul line (the Rams were 11 of 12).
“Honestly, I think they outplayed us,” Monahan said. “They got every loose ball in the first half, and they rebounded so well. They were much more aggressive than us. I think we escaped with a win.”
Badin’s Zach Switzer and Young matched their career-high scoring performances with 11 and 8 points, respectively, and they both grabbed five rebounds. Tipton had 9 points and six boards, and DeCello added 8 points.
The Rams (7-4, 2-2) were hurt by 17 turnovers.
“Everybody’s going to look at the last 15 seconds, but really, you can forget about that,” Weisgerber said. “We had opportunities in the first three quarters to have a decent lead where they would have been scrambling to score to beat us at the end. They’re a very good team. They’re very deserving of their undefeated record.”
Badin will return to action at Roger Bacon next Friday. McNick, which hasn’t been 10-0 since starting the 1998-99 campaign with 11 straight wins, will host Shroder on Tuesday.
BADIN (7-4, 2-2 GCLC Central): Jakob Tipton 4 0 9, Daunte DeCello 3 2 8, Jordan Flaig 3 0 6, Kyle Young 2 3 8, Sam Mathews 1 0 3, Seth Hargis 1 0 2, Caleb Meyer 1 1 3, Zach Switzer 3 5 11. Totals: 18-11-50
MCNICHOLAS (10-0, 4-0 GCLC Central): Cole Burdick 5 8 18, Ryan Reidy 5 6 19, Michael Lang 6 3 15. Totals: 16-17-52
3-pointers: B 3 (Tipton, Young, Mathews), M 3 (Reidy 3)