Stingy defense powers Badin past Fenwick

Fenwick's Kyler Evers Smith dribbles the ball defended by Badin's Andrew Larkin during their basketball game Friday, Dec. 11, 2020 at Badin High School in Hamilton. Badin won 55-45. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Caption
Fenwick's Kyler Evers Smith dribbles the ball defended by Badin's Andrew Larkin during their basketball game Friday, Dec. 11, 2020 at Badin High School in Hamilton. Badin won 55-45. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The Fenwick Falcons already were 2-0 in the Greater Catholic League Co-Ed Division when they walked into Badin’s Mulcahey gym for a Friday matchup against the Rams.

That’s a little early to call it momentum, but at the same time, Badin didn’t want to fall too far back in the standings.

The Rams sent an early signal that they weren’t going to let Fenwick slip away. Playing tough, hard-nosed man-to-man defense, Badin limited the Falcons to 33 percent (15-of-45) shooting from the field, including 4-of-20 (20 percent) on 3-pointers, on the way to a 55-45 win.

“We knew they were a good team, but at the end of the day, we’re not scared of anybody,” said senior guard Ryan Kirkendall, who scored 13 points. “Any time you can get a conference win, it’s a big win. I’ll never complain about a win.”

Badin (2-1, 1-1 GCLC) wasn’t much better from the field – 16-of-41 (39 percent) – but senior guard Andrew Larkin sank three of the Rams’ seven 3-pointers on his way to a game-high 15 points. Larkin also made 6-of-10 free throws in the fourth quarter to hold off the Falcons while they were shaving a 13-point deficit with 2:12 remaining to five with 1:04 left to play.

“That’s a really big win for us,” said Badin coach Gerry Weisgerber, whose team has won two straight after a season-opening non-conference loss to Taft. “We knew they were good. We tell our kids that we want to see day-to-day improvement. I tip our hat to our defense, and we had a good rebounding game. We were telling our kids, ‘Rebound, rebound, rebound.”

Fenwick's Wes English, left,  battles Badin's AJ Enginger for the ball during their basketball game Friday, Dec. 11, 2020 at Badin High School in Hamilton. Badin won 55-45. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
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Fenwick's Wes English, left, battles Badin's AJ Enginger for the ball during their basketball game Friday, Dec. 11, 2020 at Badin High School in Hamilton. Badin won 55-45. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

A.J. Braun, Fenwick’s 6-foot-10 senior center, scored 13 points and junior guard-forward Kyle Evers Smith added 11 for the Falcons, but they couldn’t overcome their poor shooting.

“Oh, man,” coach Kelven Moss said when asked about it. “For us to be successful, we have to make shots. We got the shots we wanted, but I think A.J. struggled around the basket. I think we counted 10 touches with him posting up 1-on-1 from five feet or three feet. He was missing chippers. Those was game-changers. When you miss chippers, it’s deflating, because you worked so hard to get them.”

Both teams are scheduled to be off until next Friday, when Fenwick meets defending conference champion Alter at Alter while the Rams travel to Roger Bacon for a conference matchup with the Spartans.

Fenwick and Badin are scheduled for a rematch at Fenwick on Jan. 29. Fenwick had won three of the four most recent meetings going into Friday’s game.

The Rams never trailed after Larkin sank two 3-pointers early in the game and senior forward Michael Schweinefuss gave them a 13-12 lead on a putback with 30.5 seconds left in the first quarter. Fenwick briefly tied the game, but junior forward Logan Neu gave Badin the lead for good at 15-13 with a layup 45 seconds into the second quarter. The Falcons missed their first nine field goal tries in the second quarter, opening the door for the Rams to open up a 21-15 lead before Evers Smith went coach-to-coast for a layup with 1:39 left before halftime. Evers Smith and Braun both finished the half with seven points.

Kirkendall scored Badin’s first seven points of the third quarter, and Badin stretched the lead to 13 points twice in the fourth quarter, the second time on Kirkendall’s two free throws.

Fenwick responded with a 9-1 run that cut Badin’s lead to 47-42, but Larkin, junior guard Jan Sabourin and senior guard Paul Marot combined to go 8-for-12 on free throws the rest of the way.

Badin players on the bench are masked up during their game against Fenwick Friday, Dec. 11, 2020 at Badin High School in Hamilton. Badin won 55-45. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Caption
Badin players on the bench are masked up during their game against Fenwick Friday, Dec. 11, 2020 at Badin High School in Hamilton. Badin won 55-45. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham