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Not once, but twice, the unexpected happened during Division II boys basketball sectional finals last night at Perrysburg.
First, Rossford (6-16) shocked No. 1 seed Fostoria (17-5) by pulling off a 72-69 victory.
Then Defiance defied the odds by knocking off No. 2 seed Eastwood 49-44.
Rossford proved records are meaningless when tournament time rolls around.
Darren Paige and Kyle Ingraham combined for 42 points to lead the Bulldogs. Paige scored a game-high 24 points, including four 3-pointers. Ingraham pumped in 20 points.
“I thought we tired them out a little bit and we only played eight players,” Rossford coach Del Clayton said. “We felt if we could stick around with them in the fourth quarter we'd have a chance.
“We were able to get over the top of their trap and attack it. I knew we had the athletes to attack it.”
Fostoria's Jacob Diebler finished with a 21 points, including three 3-pointers in the first quarter when he poured in 14 of the Redmen's 23 points. Drew Russell finished with 20 points and Ryan Pessell added 12 before fouling out late in the fourth quarter.
Diebler, who was held to seven points over the final three quarters, had the ball in his possession during the final seconds of play with a chance to tie the score with a 3-pointer. Instead, he passed the ball to a wide-open Andrew Stroman, whose 3-point attempt rattled out of the rim as time expired.
“We got a good look at the end,” Fostoria coach Keith Diebler said. “Jacob got Stroman the ball and I thought it was in, but it went in and out. That's the way it goes.”
The Bulldogs will face Elida in a district semifinal Wednesday at Bowling Green State University's Anderson Arena.
Paige, who had 15 of the Bulldogs' 30 points at the half, said the confidence to play well against Fostoria was established earlier in the week while preparing for the game.
“Coach has kept the faith in us all year and he said all week in practice that they can be beat,” Paige said. “We really didn't play our best basketball [in the first half] and that's why coach said at halftime that we were in it. We believed in ourselves and got it done.”
Kevin Keller and Keith Boris scored 10 points apiece for Rossford. However, two free throws made by Keller to give the Bulldogs a three-point lead with 5.6 seconds remaining in the game may have been the most meaningful since it forced the Redmen to work for a 3-point shot.
“We probably played as well as a team as we have played all year,” said Ingraham. “I think once we got going our confidence boosted up.”
Fostoria made only 24 of 76 shots (32 percent)
“You can't shoot the ball like we did,” Diebler said. “We were lucky that we were even in the game.”
Defiance (8-14) also proved records don't mean anything during the tournament by upsetting Eastwood (15-7), which was the co-champion of the Suburban Lakes League.
B.J. Esarey scored a team-high 12 points to lead a balanced attack for Defiance. Austin Keel and Justin Keel scored 12 apiece in another game that went down to the wire.
“It's been a tough year and a lot of ups and downs,” Defiance coach Joe Voll said. “We had a lot of close losses and struggled early on.
“But this team has a lot of character and has dealt with a lot of adversity and that makes this much sweeter.”
Austin Keel hit a pair of free throws in the final seconds to secure the win after Eastwood's Brett Rahe missed a 3-point attempt that would have tied the score at 47 with less than 10 seconds remaining.
Steve Beeley and Rahe finished with 14 and 11 points, respectively, for Eastwood.