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It was anything but an artistic success, but Patrick Henry was able to claim a 61-47 victory over Genoa in the first Division III district semifinal at the Waite Fieldhouse last night.
The Patriots used a 14-point flurry midway through the third period to claim the victory and advance to the district final tomorrow at 7 p.m. against Evergreen.
Patrick Henry (18-4) won despite struggling in the first half. The Patriots made just 7-of-23 shots in that period (30.4 percent), including just 2-of-13 3-pointers (15.4 percent) while committing seven turnovers.
Genoa finishes 17-5.
"I told our guys, 'These last two games I'm not so sure we played our best basketball,' " PH coach Kent Seemann said. "And yet we were able to move on, and that's a good thing.
"But really quick we're going to need to play our best basketball. We can't expect to make some of the mistakes we're making. Hopefully we can shore that up."
Patrick Henry scored the game's first nine points, only to see Genoa score the next eight in a five-minute span that began with two minutes to play in the first quarter.
"The game last Friday night against Ayersville was kind of a slow-down game, and I think we forgot how to run up and down the court," Seemann said. "At halftime we told our kids we wanted to run up and down the floor, and we thought we would get some good opportunities if we did that."
The decisive third-quarter flurry came with the Patriots leading 22-17. A foul-line jumper by Kyle Behrman started the run; back-to-back 3-pointers by Zach Botjer and Kyle Tietje fueled the run, which gave PH a 36-18 lead with 3:57 to play.
"Patrick Henry is a really, really explosive basketball team, and we knew at some point they would have a run that we would have to answer," Genoa coach Jeff Overmyer said. "Unfortunately we weren't able to answer the run. When they were making shots at one end of the floor, we weren't able to make shots at the other."
The Comets tried to catch up to the Patriots; the best attempt came in an 11-2 spurt midway through the fourth quarter after Genoa's leading scorer, Chris Bassitt, had fouled out.
While Toby Clark was the only Comet to finish in double figures with 12 points, 10 different players had a basket for Genoa.
"We have a group of nine strong seniors, and we've had contributions from all of our full-time players," Overmyer said.
The Patriots made nine of their last 11 free throws to seal the victory. Botjer, who made all six of his free throws in the final quarter, led PH with 15 points; Tietje had 12 while his brother Kevin added 10 and Kyle Brubaker scored 11.
Patrick Henry also had a decisive 40-27 advantage in rebounding thanks to Kyle Tietje, who had nine, and Brubaker, who added eight. "It's not only their size, it's their length and athleticism," Overmyer said. "They have a great group of athletes. A lot of times we were in position and they were able to go over the top of us."
- John Wagner