The Toledo Christian boys basketball team came to Ottawa Hills last night with a simple game plan: someone besides Eliot Browarsky was going to have to beat them.
And someone else - several someones, actually - did just that as the Green Bears claimed a 48-40 victory.
J.J. Buckey scored 17 points, including a critical 3-pointer in the fourth quarter, while Andrew Jamieson finished with six points and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds.
Those contributions were just two reasons Ottawa Hills remained unbeaten at 7-0 while improving their Toledo Area Athletic Conference record to 4-0.
Toledo Christian fell to 3-3 and 2-1 in a tight contest that saw 12 ties in the first three quarters alone.
"We know, coming into the Toledo Christian game, that it's going to be a one-possession game," Green Bears coach John Lindsay said.
One player who stepped up was Buckey, who rolled an ankle in the third quarter but returned before the period ended. With the score tied at 38 with less than three minutes to play, the ball came to Buckey while he was standing behind the 3-point arc.
Buckey's shot found nothing but net, and the shot sparked the Green Bears to a 10-2 finish.
"That play was set for Jamieson - I wasn't looking for the ball in my hands at all," Buckey admitted. "But the ball came to me and I was open. And once I let it go, I was confident it would go in."
After that the Green Bears pulled away, limiting Toledo Christian to just one basket in the final two minutes while making 5 of 7 free throws to secure the win.
"It seems to me we had some chip shots that we didn't make," Toledo Christian coach Dave McWhinnie said of his team's finish. "In a championship-style game, you have to make your bunnies. I thought we got some opportunities, but we didn't get them to go in."
Ottawa Hills' Browarsky finished with nine points.
"He's a great player, and he's one of the best point guards in the area," McWhinnie said of Browarsky. "We certainly wanted to contain him, but we also wanted to contain their shooters. Unfortunately, their shooters made shots."
While Buckey's 3-point basket may have been the biggest, Jamieson also had one that proved important. Midway through the second quarter Toledo Christian scored six straight points to lead 22-15 with 2:35 left.
But Jamieson connected on a 3-pointer from the left wing that spurred the Green Bears to seven straight points that tied the game at the half.
Both coaches were quick to point out that one victory didn't lock up a league title.
"I really believe the league this year is more than just Toledo Christian and Ottawa Hills," Lindsay said. "This is early January, and there are a lot of league games remaining."
McWhinnie echoed those thoughts when he said, "It's one game in the season, and we're not out of the TAAC race. We want to get ready for March, and we want to get better, and hopefully this game will help us do that."
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