Opening-night jitters seemed to doom the Cincinnati Christian School boys basketball team Friday night as a loud home crowd at Badin got into the Cougars’ heads early and never let up.
The Rams won it 50-36 after running away from the Cougars late in the fourth period at Mulcahey Gym.
“We got rattled early in the game,” CCS coach Carl Woods said. “The crowd got to them. I kind of knew that was going to happen with the inexperience.”
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After winning the Miami Valley Conference Gray Division and reaching the Division IV regional finals last year, the Cougars only returned three varsity players this season. Among the team’s starters on opening night were two juniors and a sophomore.
Badin is starting the season without leading returning scorer Justin Pappas, who’s out with a knee injury until at least February. Despite a rough night for both teams in terms of shooting, the Rams’ defense kept the Cougars off balance most of the game.
“Shooting was way off, but that adrenaline was flowing tonight,” Badin coach Gerry Weisgerber said.
The BHS student section was loud from the first period, screaming “air ball” whenever a Cincinnati Christian player tossed up an errant shot. But the crowd’s shining moment came at the end of the first period, when a countdown chant led a Cougar to launch a half-court “buzzer beater” with about four seconds still on the clock.
That player was sophomore Cameron Rogers, who just shook his head and gave a sheepish grin toward Woods after the buzzer finally sounded.
“The crowd was great tonight,” Weisgerber said. “The student body is really, really good.”
A pair of seniors led all scorers: Badin’s Caleb Meyer and Cincinnati Christian’s Johnny Nimmo each had 12 points.
The Rams were able to shut Nimmo down in the second half, with 10 of his points coming in the first two periods. Badin’s scoring attack was more balanced as five players had at least 6 points, compared to only two for the Cougars.
Weisgerber singled out a pair of sophomores for their efforts off the bench. Zachary Switzer and Spencer Giesting finished with 2 and 3 points, respectively.
“We got some young kids some experience tonight who didn’t have any experience at the varsity level,” Weisgerber said. “I thought (Switzer and Giesting) did a nice job for us.”
The packed gym erupted again when Woods was called for a technical foul late in the third period. The Cougars coach, in his fifth season as the head man, ripped off his suit jacket and slung it around after what he thought was a bad no-call.
“Numerous missed calls that I felt were just blatant,” Woodd said. “If you’re gonna call the call, call the call (on both sides) … I’m OK with that. But if you’re gonna call it against us and then not give us the same call in return, that’s a problem.”
The game was tight for the first three periods. Cincinnati Christian’s best momentum swing came when the Cougars started the second half on a 7-0 run, tying the game at 24.
But Badin ran away with it in the final quarter, taking an 8-0 run that was capped with a dunk by senior Jakob Tipton that made the gym explode with cheers.
“We want to get out and run some more this year than we have in the past,” Weisgerber said of Tipton’s jam. “We’ve got some kids who can run and (Tipton) is one of them.”
“Gotta get back in the lab,” Woods said. “We need to finish. That killed our momentum.”
The Rams will meet Ponitz on Saturday night at Deer Park. CCS travels to Lockland on Tuesday.
Cincinnati Christian 8-9-12-9—36
CINCINNATI CHRISTIAN (0-1): Miguel Ringer 0 3 3, Riley Reutener 1 1 3, Johnny Nimmo 5 1 12, Winston Spencer 1 0 3, Cole Martin 2 1 5, Wayne Lavender 2 0 4, Cameron Rogers 2 2 6. Totals: 13-8-36
BADIN (1-0): Jakob Tipton 2 1 5, Joseph Walsh 1 4 6, Nathan Hegemann 2 1 6, Daunte DeCello 3 1 8, Kyle Young 3 0 8, Caleb Meyer 6 0 12, Zachary Switzer 1 0 2, Spencer Giesting 1 1 3. Totals: 19-8-50
3-pointers: C 2 (Nimmo, Spencer), B 4 (Young 2, Hegemann, DeCello)