The good news for the Kenton Ridge boys basketball team is that the Cougars know their first-round sectional tournament opponent well.
The not as good news is it’s the same team that beat them 72-58 Friday night.
For the second time this season the Cougars played Tipp tough but fell short of a win in the Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Division. The Red Devils also beat Kenton Ridge 61-57 on Jan. 11.
This one was just as close until the final five minutes. Tipp, which trailed 45-44 to start the fourth quarter, used consecutive 3-pointers by Cam Johnson starting with 4:39 left in the game and then pounded the ball inside for a game-deciding 12-0 run. Kenton Ridge never got within eight points again.
“It’s a matter of playing a complete game, taking care of the ball and making shots,” said KR coach Kris Spriggs. “Playing basketball like it’s meant to be played.”
The Cougars (7-14, 1-9 CBC) did that the first three quarters. There were five lead changes and seven ties, with the Cougars’ final lead coming on a Carl Justice 3-pointer to cap the third-quarter scoring. They struggled in the fourth quarter, and at one point missed six straight shots during Tipp’s run.
Jordan Goodfellow led KR with 21 points and Justice added 11.
Jared Ervin’s 15 points paced Tipp (16-5, 7-3 CBC). Johnson finished with 12 and Michael Landwehr 10. Each one of Sean Ford’s eight points came at key times and Ben Stucke (eight points) stepped up big in the fourth-quarter run.
“There are a bunch of guys who on any night can give you a spark. That’s what we’re looking for,” Tipp coach Marcus Bixler said.
Kenton Ridge and Tipp meet again in the sectional tournament at Springfield High School on Feb. 23. Tipp is the No. 3 seed and KR is No. 8. So what will Spriggs change for a different outcome next time?
“I can’t put that in the paper,” Spriggs said with a laugh. “Just play a complete game. Just play four quarters. That’s been our problem all year. It’s pick your poison. We had the No. 8 seed so we had the choice of playing Trotwood, Shawnee, Tipp or take a bye and wait 11 days to play. We didn’t want to do that. We’re familiar with them, they’re familiar with us.”