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Multiple Teams · Pressure-packed win: Oberlin’s defense puts clamps on Rittman in district semifinal


WOOSTER — Monday was all about pressure for the Oberlin Phoenix.

Not any pressure Oberlin might have felt as defending Division III district champs, but rather the pressure the Phoenix inflicted on its opponent.

Oberlin put on a defensive clinic in rolling to a 55-28 district semifinal win over Rittman at Wooster High School, jumping out to a big lead and never letting the Indians get into any kind of rhythm.

Top-seeded Oberlin (19-5) moves on to Friday’s 7 p.m. district final against the winner of tonight’s Northwestern-Orrville game. Rittman bows out at 17-8.

“That was the most intense pressure defense we’ve seen all year,” Indians coach Chad Bever said. “We did a lot of things that were uncharacteristic of our style of play tonight, missed a lot of layups, rushed a lot of shots. We weren’t moving on offense and I think their pressure got to us.”

Five of Rittman’s 11 turnovers came in the first quarter when Oberlin grabbed a 21-5 lead.

The Indians cut the lead to single digits twice, but it never seemed like the Phoenix didn’t have things well under control.

Donald Johnson, who had 14 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks, said his team executed its defensive game plan perfectly. The Phoenix held third-seeded Rittman to just 22.9 percent shooting and just a single point in the fourth quarter.

“Scouting them, we knew we had to sit down and keep the guy in front of us,” he said. “We talked and called out screens. They have a couple of good shooters we knew we had to sit down on and make sure we kept our hands up.”

Indians point guard William Swartz was held to just five points on 2-of-13 shooting while off guard Connor Stuart hit just two of the seven shots he took,

“We’ve been here before and we know what it takes,” Johnson said. “This year we’ve been working on getting a lead, holding it and scoring when we want to and how we want to. We build a lead and control the game, and with a senior-heavy team and the juniors that have been here before we can do that pretty good.”

Johnson’s biggest block came late in the first half and was a game-changer.

Rittman had trimmed the Phoenix lead to 27-18 and, with the first-half clock ticking down inside 30 seconds, had a chance to cut it to seven points when Kaleb Bauman found himself with the ball alone under the Oberlin basket.

Johnson swooped in out of nowhere and blocked the shot. The ball bounced to Dave Payne, who raced to the other end, drew the defense to him and kicked it out to Justin Smith for a 3-pointer from the left wing.

It hit nothing but the bottom of the net.

“That was crucial,” Oberlin coach Kurt Russell said of the five-point swing that gave the Phoenix a 30-18 halftime lead. “I think the whole team has confidence and we trust one another. We know we’re going to make mistakes, but one thing about this team is that we really don’t put our head down. We continue to battle.”

Johnson said he was just trying to make up for one of the few defensive mistakes he made on the night.

“I got beat and had to recover,” he said. “I just kept playing hard.”

Oberlin, which lost in the regional semifinals last season, is looking to take things one step further this year.

“This team is built for this run,” Russell said. “The first game we played, against Norwayne, we started off fast. I think the kids are realizing that tournament time, if you lose you go home. One of our major problems this year has been starting off really, really slow. We made an effort to really start fast.”

Smith, who had 14 points, five rebounds and four steals, said his team has one goal.

“We lost the biggest game of our life because we didn’t control the ball,” he said of last year’s 87-80 double-overtime loss to St. Thomas Aquinas in the regionals. “Coming in on Friday we know we have to take care of it, we know what we have to take care of to get back to where we have to get. That’s what we’re going to come in and do.”

Contact Mike Perry at 329-7135 or macsportstalk@gmail.com.

Oberlin 55, Rittman 28

RITTMAN (28): William Swartz 2-1-5, Connor Stuart 2-0-6, David Zuchak 4-0-8, Kaleb Bauman 1-1-4, Todd Ramsur 2-0-5, Jacob Stuart 0-0-0, Evan Ringer 0-0-0. Totals 11-2-28.

OBERLIN (55): Dave Payne 1-0-3, Justin Smith 5-2-14, Caleb Hughley 2-1-5, Kurt Russell Jr. 0-0-0, Donald Johnson 7-0-14, Daunte Bowen’s 0-0-0, Zion Hicks 3-1-8, Devan Yarber 0-8-8, Mark Robinson Jr. 1-1-3. Totals 19-13-55.

Rittman    5 13   9   1 — 28

Oberlin   21   8 12 13 — 55

Three-point goals: Rittman 4-19 (C. Stuart 2, Bauman, Ramsur), Oberlin 4-11 (Smith 2, Payne, Hicks. Field goals: Rittman 11-48 (22.9 percent), Oberlin 19-35 (54.2 percent). Free throws: Rittman 2-5 (40 percent), Oberlin 13-19 (68.4 percent). Rebounds: Rittman 18 (Swartz 4), Oberlin 35 (Johnson 10). Turnovers: Rittman 11, Oberlin 15. Total fouls: Rittman 14, Oberlin 6.


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Multiple Teams · Quick start propels Oberlin to district final


Oberlin’s Devin Yarber shoots over Kaleb Bauman of Rittman during the second quarter on March 6.
Oberlin’s Devin Yarber shoots over Kaleb Bauman of Rittman during the second quarter on March 6.Randy Meyers — The Morning Journal

Wooster >> Oberlin is one step closer to avenging last season’s regional semifinal loss after steamrolling No. 3 Rittman, 55-28, in a Division III Wooster District semifinal on March 6.

The first-seeded Phoenix, who have been plagued by slow starts all season, jumped to a 21-5 lead after one quarter, and despite a sloppy second quarter on both sides, amped up the pressure and never let Rittman get closer than nine points in the second half.

>> Oberlin-Rittman photo gallery

“It was crucial. But this team is built for this run,” Oberlin coach Kurt Russell said of his team’s fast start. “The first (tournament) game we played against Norwayne, we started off fast and I think the kids are realizing that (it’s) tournament time, and if you lose, you go home. And so we want to start fast.

“It’s been one of our major problems this year, starting off really, really slow, and we made an effort to really start off fast.”

Oberlin (19-5) will face the winner of No. 8 Orrville vs. No. 2 Northwestern in a district final March 10 at Wooster High School.

The Phoenix roster isn’t short on shooters, but against Rittman, it was the defense that shined. Oberlin held the Indians to just one point in the fourth quarter, wearing down a rattled Rittman team that shot 11 of 48, including 4 of 20 from beyond the arc.

“That was probably the most intense defense we’ve seen all year,” Rittman coach Chad Bever said. “I think (Oberlin’s) pressure got to us. We only had 10 turnovers, but the pressure itself just forced us out of our comfort zone.

“This didn’t look like us tonight and that’s a credit to Oberlin.”

Donald Johnson had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Phoenix. Junior Justin Smith was the X-factor. The 6-foot-2 Smith had 14 points, including a clutch 3-pointer at the end of the first half to extend the Oberlin lead to 12.

“I couldn’t have done it without my guys,” Smith said. “(Donald) draws three people at a time, the man with the ball has one, and then there’s some help, so my guys did that for me.

“We practice those shots. We earn those shots in the game, we earned it, (Donald) earned it, we all earned it, so for me to be in a position to knock it down, it’s big. I like it, I embrace it for my teammates.”

“I can’t say enough about what he does for our team,” Johnson said of his teammate. “I tell him all the time, ‘How you play is how we’re going to play.’ When he brings energy it’s contagious.”

With the sting of last season’s double-overtime loss to St. Thomas Aquinas lingering since last March, it’s now or never for Oberlin — which boasts the same lineup that got the Phoenix to last year’s sweet sixteen.

“We lost the biggest game of our life because we didn’t control the ball, so coming in on Friday it’s like we know what we have to take care of to get back where we need to get, we know what we have to do to get where we need to be, and that’s just what we’re going to come in and do,” Smith said.

Johnson agreed, saying this year’s focus was playing on their terms — controlling the game from start to finish.

“Me, Justin, all the guys on the team, we’ve been here before,” Johnson said. “We know what it takes.

“This year we’ve been kind of working on that, you know, getting the lead, holding it, scoring when we want to, how we want to and building a lead. Having a senior-heavy team and juniors who have been here before, we know we can do that.”


Phoenix Official Sponsor

Multiple Teams · Oberlin Senior High School Boys Varsity Basketball beat Rittman MS/HS 55-28


Monday, March 6, 2017

7:00 PM

Rittman MS/HS
AWAY
28

Oberlin Senior High School
HOME
55

Game Recap

OB starts fast and defeats Rittman 55-28 in the Wooster D3 District semifinal. The Phoenix was lead by Donald Johnson and Justin Smith with 14 each. Next game will be Friday vs. the winner of Northwestern & Orrville.

Box Scores

1
2
3
4
Rittman MS/HS
5

13

9

1

Oberlin Senior
21

9

12

13


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Multiple Teams · FAN BUS-Free to the first 50 people


Breaking News: The fan bus tomorrow is FREE for the first 50 students and community members. 2 tickets per person ONLY starting at 10am.


Phoenix Official Sponsor

Multiple Teams · Oberlin Senior Girls 8th Grade Basketball falls to Clearview High School 37-11


Saturday, March 4, 2017

12:45 PM

Oberlin Senior High School
AWAY
11

Clearview High School
HOME
37

Game Recap

Final

Box Scores

1
2
3
4
Oberlin Senior
3

3

3

2

Clearview
10

10

10

7


Phoenix Official Sponsor

Multiple Teams · 2017 OHSAA Boys Basketball Division III District Tournament-Wooster


Bracket-20170304


Phoenix Official Sponsor

Boys Varsity Track, Girls Varsity Track · Rustad takes 5th in the 3200m


Asta Rustad takes 5th place in the 3200 OHSAA Indoor Track & Field State Championships. She finished with a time of 11:09.57.


Phoenix Official Sponsor

Multiple Teams · FAN BUS for Monday’s game vs. Rittman


There will be  (1) ONE spirit/fan bus for any 8th grade through 12th grade Oberlin student,  community member or family member wishing to go cheer on the top seeded boys basketball team on Monday 3/6 vs Rittman in Wooster.  Tickets are $5 and they will be sold on Monday in the main office starting at 10:00am. There will ONLY be 50 tickets sold.
You will to purchase your game ticket at Wooster:
$6 for adults and $4 for students.

Let’s pack Wooster HS gym with Oberlin fans and cheer on our team as they compete for another Regional Title!

 


Phoenix Official Sponsor

Multiple Teams · Oberlin Senior Girls 7th Grade Basketball falls to Keystone High/Middle School – 37-20


Saturday, March 4, 2017

10:15 AM

Keystone High/Middle School –
AWAY
37

Oberlin Senior High School
HOME
20

Game Recap

Final

Box Scores

1
2
3
4
Keystone High/Middle School –
9

8

12

8

Oberlin Senior
5

7

4

4


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Phoenix News · Oberlin downs Norwayne in dominant tournament opener


Paul Williams at 329-7135 or ctsports@chroniclet.com.

OBERLIN — It’s been in the back of their minds all season long and Friday night it was finally back in their hands.

The “it” refers to tournament basketball. The “their” refers to Oberlin High School’s players.

And if their sectional-opening game against Norwayne is any indication, the Oberlin Phoenix are ready to make it a long run.

Oberlin finished their final home game of the season in style, drubbing Norwayne 73-45 to win the sectional title and advance to the district semifinals against Rittman at Wooster High School on Monday.

“Going against a good Norwayne team I thought the kids played really well tonight,” Oberlin coach Kurt Russell said after his team improved to 18-5. “There’s something about the word tournament, and these boys feel it and are excited to be here.”

The game looked like a fairly even matchup early as the Bobcats (12-12) raced out to a 10-7 lead in the first quarter.

Oberlin’s leading scorer Donald Johnson missed his first four shots as his team fell behind early.

But his cold streak and Norwayne’s lead vanished quickly.

Two quick layups by Johnson put Oberlin ahead 11-10 and he followed that with a runner and then a 15-foot jumper.

By the end of the quarter, Johnson had a game-high eight points and Oberlin had an 18-10 lead.

“I felt like I was getting good looks, I just didn’t knock them down,” said Johnson, who finished with a game-high 29 points. “I know I just have to keep shooting and I finally started to hit some shots.”

Oberlin’s full-court press was the catalyst of a 15-0 run from the end of the first quarter to the start of the second.

Just a few minutes into the second quarter, Oberlin had already forced 11 turnovers — and seemed to capitalize every time.

“We came out very focused from the start and jumped on them,” Russell said. “We knew their offensive plays, and my kids did a great job of executing defensively.”

The beauty of Oberlin’s defensive effort was the way the players converted and shared the ball in transition after a stop or steal.

At one point in the second quarter, six Phoenix players scored in a span of just over two minutes.

“Something just clicks when it comes to tournament time for us,” Johnson said. “We all played hard and together and brought the effort all night.”

After Oberlin led by as much as 23, Norwayne closed the gap with a late second-quarter run to make the score 41-27 at the half.

Johnson went back to work in the third quarter, nailing back-to-back jumpers and a driving layup as Oberlin opened a 52-31 lead.

Even with a big lead the Phoenix didn’t let up. Oberlin held Norway scoreless for almost five minutes to begin the fourth quarter.

Justin Smith had six points during that stretch, four of those points coming off steals. He finished with13 points.

The Phoenix are two wins away from winning the district title in back-to-back years.

“I’m really hoping we can continue what we’re doing and cut down some nets,” Russell said.

 

Oberlin 73, Norwayne 45

NORWAYNE (45): Nathan Weinman 6-3-15, Ben Draper 2-0-4, Bryce Rohrbaugh 1-0-2, Brevin Harris 4-3-11, Alex Widmer 1-0-3, Quinn Hiles 4-0-10, Wyatt Wyckoff 0-0-0, Nick Besancon 0-0-0. Totals 18-6-45.

OBERLIN (73): David Payne 3-0-7, Justin Smith 5-2-13, Caleb Hugley 1-0-2, Zion Hicks 4-0-9, Mark Robinson Jr. 1-3-6, Devon Yarber 3-0-7, Donald Johnson 13-3-29. Totals 30-8-73.

Norwayne 10 17 10 8 — 45

Oberlin 18 23 21 11 — 73

Three point goals: Norwayne 3-13 (Hiles 2, Widmer), Oberlin 5-12 (Payne, Smith, Robinson jr., Hicks, Yarber). Field goals: Norwayne 18-45 (40 percent), Oberlin 30-53 (56 percent). Free throws: Norwayne 6-11 (54 percent), Oberlin 8-10 (80 percent). Rebounds: Norwayne 30 (Weinman 12), Oberlin 35 (Smith 8). Total fouls: Norwayne 9, Oberlin 12. Turnovers: Norwayne 24, Oberlin 12.