Jets lose road game to Leo

Eric Mann
Staff Writer

LEO — In the 60-year history of boys' basketball between Adams Central and Leo—including decades when they were in the Allen County Athletic Conference and sometimes played twice (regular season and conference tourney) in one year—the Lions have dominated the Jets to the tune of 56 victories versus 14.
That dominance continued on Saturday, but it took the worst Leo team in many years until the second overtime to fend off the charging Jets, 62-55.
The outcome put Leo at 4-9, while dipping AC to 8-9. The schools first played each other in the 1960-61 season.
The varsity battle featured seven ties and 15 lead swaps and wasn't decided until rangy 6-4 freshman D.J. Allen sank two foul shots at 23.4 seconds to create the final score, as AC's final three three-point tries missed.
Allen led the Lions with 18 points and three rebounds, while sophomore Blake Davison added 13 and four rebounds, junior Andrew Tkacz 12 points, and 6-4 freshman Luke Lagrange nine points and seven rebounds. Leo's roster has three seniors, two juniors, four sophomores, and three freshmen, with varsity inexperience contributing to the disappointing record so far.
The Jets got 14 points from Kevin Brown, who caught fire late while being closely guarded by being the third-best scorer in northeastern Indiana (21 ppg). He hit two treys in the first OT and one in the second extra session, but missed three others in those added eight minutes.
Dylan Miller and Colton Yergler each had 12 points, but left the game early for different reasons: the 6-8 Miller suffered a left foot injury late in regulation, while sparkplug Yergler fouled out at 3:45 of the second overtime.
Miller had 14 rebounds and three blocks and achieved a double-double at halftime: 10 points, 11 rebounds. "Yergie" added six assists, two rebounds, and two steals in one of the best games of his career.
Lucas Van De Weg put up nine points and pulled down two rebounds, while 6-5 Ben Voirol tallied the team's final eight and nabbed seven caroms.
Adams Central coach Aaron McClure minced no words afterwards, calling it "a hard loss," but noting that Leo is "a good young team" with a losing record that's "a little bit deceptive," since the Lions play a tough schedule, are in a strong conference (Northeast Eight), and, for example, lost to 13-2 East Noble by just five points.
McClure also said the loss of Yergler, a strong defensive presence and growing scoring threat, was, very simply, "a killer" at an inopportune time.
He lauded the determined scoring efforts of the other four starters—plus backup help by Jesse Franck—to make up for Brown's slow start: no points in the first half and just five in the second half before gaining nine in the overtimes on triples.
The first period was tight, with AC up 8-6 at the end.
The second quarter included to two ties and six lead changes on the eight scoring plays in those eight minutes.
The third stanza saw six more lead exchanges, with Van De Weg getting a layup after a full-court drive, Yergler laying it up in considerable traffic, and Brown finally getting his first goal on an eight-footer in the lane as he was fouled. His free toss made it 32-30 in favor of the Jets.
In the fourth frame, Miller grabbed a loose ball in the air and nailed a four-foot shot for a 34-30 lead, but Davison connected for a two and a three 50 seconds apart to make it 35-34, Leo.
Several turnovers later, a Van De Weg layup created a 36-all score at 2:54.
Leo maintained the lead until Voirol caught a pass from Yergler for a lay-in at 40 seconds to give Central a 39-38 edge.
Leo lost the ball twice on turnovers at 35 and 26 seconds, then Yergler knifed two FTs at 24.7 for a 41-38 advantage.
However, Tkacz fed Allen perfectly for a layup at 16 seconds that cut the Jet margin to 41-40.
Brown was fouled at 13.4, but made just one of two for a 42-40 lead, then Tkacz worked his will in the lane for a layup at three seconds to knot the score and bring on overtime.
In the first OT, Tkacz rifled a three for a 45-42 score, but Voirol responded with a layup off a Yergler feed 42 seconds later (45-44).
Lagrange hit an 18-footer for a 47-44 score and Davison's layup 55 seconds afterwards grew the Leo lead to 49-44 at 1:19.
It was then that Brown finally got going: his first trey at 1:05 made it 49-47 and, after an Allen layup, his second long shot made the score 51-50 at 43 seconds.
At 28.1, Ruble went one for two at the stripe (52-50), then Yergler, who was eight for nine at the line, easily made two FTs at 20.4 seconds.
The final Lion FG try was an airball three from a corner by Allen, so the game went on.
In the second OT, Yergler's fifth foul led to a 54-52 Leo lead at 3:45, thanks to FTs by freshman Ayden Ruble. Allen made one of two at 2:49 for a 55-52 difference and Tkacz also went 50-50 at the stripe at 2:26 for a 56-52 bulge.
Brown's last triple at 2:07 closed the gap to one, 56-55.
However, that was it for Adams Central, since Leo added the final six points on a Tkacz layup, a Ruble layup, and two foul shots by Allen—interspersed with three missed three-point tries by AC (two by Brown and one by Van De Weg).
The next Jet games will be home encounters this Friday against South Adams and on Saturday versus Eastside.

Reserve Game

Leo ran away with this one, 52-22, to rise to 10-2, while leaving the Jet B-team of coach Tim Hildebrand at 5-9.
Justin Bultemeier had 10 points for AC and Braysen Yergler added five.
The Lions received 18 points from Cameron Groves and 10 from Carson Hart, son of former AC standout Ryan Hart.

Freshman Game

Coach Kathy Fiechter's ninth graders knocked off Leo, 44-36, in part by making six three-pointers.
The Jets (8-7) were powered by Nick Neuenschwander's 16 and Brayden Light's 14. Light hit three threes, Kam Brown two, and Neuenschwander one.
The Lions (5-5) got 12 points apiece from Donavin Massing and Dave Slick.

AC 8 7 17 10 10 3—55
Leo 6 11 13 12 10 10—62

Central 2P 3P FT TP
Yergler 1-7 1-2 8-9 12
VanDeWeg3-5 1-6 0-0 9
Murray 0-0 0-0 0-0 0
Brown 1-8 3-9 3-5 14
Dague 0-0 0-0 0-0 0
Voirol 4-10 0-0 0-1 8
Franck 0-1 0-0 0-0 0
Miller 5-9 0-0 2-2 12
Totals 14-40 5-17 10-16 55

Leo 2P 3P FT TP
Kimball 0 0-0 0-0 0
Tkacz 2 2-6 2-4 12
Bates 0 0-1 0-0 0
Davison 5 1-5 0-0 13
Steger 1 1-4 0-0 5
Ruble 1 0-2 3-4 5
Allen 6 0-1 6-10 18
Lagrange 4 0-1 1-2 9
Troyer 0 0-0 0-0 0
Totals 19 4-20 12-20 62

Turnovers: AC 14, L 5
Steals: AC 4 (Yergler 2), L 4 (Kimball 2)
Assists: AC 8 (Yergler 6), Leo unavailable
Rebounds: AC 29 (Miller 14, Voirol 7), L 20 (Lagrange 7, Davison 4, Allen 3, Steger 3)

AC 5 9 4 4—22
Leo 15 20 11 6—52

AC—Yergler 2-0-5, Bultemeier 4-0-10, Murray 0-0-0, Hirschy 0-0-0, E. Brown 1-0-2, Dague 1-0-2, Bushroe 1-1-3. Totals: 9-1-22.
Leo—Hart 4-2-10, Groves 7-1-18, Epps 2-0-6, Kennedy 0-0-0, Miller 2-0-6, Middleton 1-0-2, Lonergan 1-0-2, Ruble 1-0-2, Troyer 1-1-3, Livingston 1-1-3. Totals: 16-3-52.

AC 14 9 12 9—44
Leo 13 8 9 6—36

AC—Neuenschwander 7-1-16, Gerber 0-0-0, Green 2-1-5, Light 4-3-14, Terrell 1-1-3, K. Brown 2-0-6. Totals: 15-6-44.
Leo—Massing 5-0-12. Slick 5-2-12, Gerard 1-0-2, Hartleroad 0-0-0, Stuckey 3-0-6, Jackson 2-0-4, Smith 0-0-0, McFadden 0-0-0. Totals: 16-2-36.