Two overtime games already in the regular season between Dieterich and Beecher City had the odds trending toward another close game in Thursday night’s Class 1A Neoga Regional semifinal.
The Movin’ Maroons and Eagles didn’t disappoint. Dieterich got out to an early lead only to see Beecher City come roaring back to take a one-point lead at halftime.
The Eagles (14-14) still led by one at the end of the third quarter, but Dieterich guard Taran Bohnhoff made sure an extra four minutes of overtime wouldn’t be needed this time around. Bohnhoff was 12-of-12 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, and Dieterich — which had lost the two overtime games in the regular season — beat Beecher City 60-54 for a spot in tonight’s regional championship game.
The Movin’ Maroons (15-11) will play Neoga at 7:30 p.m. in a rubber game for the two teams. The Indians avenged a loss on their home floor with a victory in the National Trail Conference Tournament against Dieterich.
“It’s tough to beat a team three times — especially when you go to overtime with them twice,” Beecher City coach Jason Eirhart said. “They’re a good free throw shooting team. We’ve been down that road before. We were lucky enough to pull one out, but this time we weren’t.”
The Movin’ Maroons were 15-of-16 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter and 18-of-20 (90 percent) for the game. Dieterich coach Jamie VanScyoc said his team is shooting about 84 or 85 percent from the line this season. Bohnhoff is even a little better.
“I should be shooting over 90 percent from the line this year,” Bohnhoff said. “We’re just a good shooting team. That’s how we win ballgames, and that’s how we stay in ballgames. That’s why we’ve lost some of the close games that we have because we haven’t shot the ball well. That’s what we live and die by, shooting.”
And getting the ball in the hands of a 90 percent free-throw shooter was Dieterich’s primary goal in the fourth quarter.
“A couple timeouts, one that we called and one that (Eirhart) called, that was something we addressed,” VanScyoc said. “(Bohnhoff) was already 4-for-4 or 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Get the ball in his hands, and if they’re going to foul we can put him at the line. If they play off, we can just play keep away.”
Bohnhoff’s perfect fourth quarter at the free throw line gave the Dieterich senior a game-high and career-high 31 points, but he was a crucial component to the Movin’ Maroons’ victory throughout the game.
“That was the biggest game I’ve ever had,” Bohnhoff said. “At the beginning there we were moving the ball around pretty good. Everybody was getting open looks. I just happened to be there to knock them down. We’re so balanced offensively, it seems like we have a different leading scorer every game.”
Bohnhoff hit his first three shots of the game — including two from 3-point range — as part of Dieterich’s 9-0 run to start the first quarter. Eirhart called a timeout with 4 minutes, 32 seconds left in the first quarter and his team down 8-0. A made free throw from Seth Flach would make it a 9-0 Dieterich lead after the Eagles’ timeout, but Beecher City put together a 10-0 run keyed by an offensive rebound putback from Beau Hutchison to take a late lead in the quarter.
Derek Cox nailed a 3-pointer for Dieterich with 21 seconds left in the first quarter to give the Movin’ Maroons their lead back to start the second quarter.
That’s when Beecher City got an offensive boost from an unlikely source off the bench. Unlikely not because of who was scoring, but unlikely because he came on in a reserve role. Luke Levitt, whom Eirhart said was withheld in the first quarter for disciplinary reasons, scored nine points in the second quarter to help the Eagles to a 24-23 halftime lead.
“That situation, it was something I felt I had to do as a coach,” Eirhart said about not starting Levitt. “I don’t think that’s what lost us the game, by not playing him in the first quarter. I felt like Dieterich made the shots when they needed to. We didn’t maintain the lead, and they did.”
Beecher City got its halftime lead thanks to a 17-5 run that stretched from the final four minutes of the first quarter through the first four minutes of the second quarter. Dalton Hinterscher’s five straight points at the midway point of the second quarter tied the game at 17-17, and Hinterscher’s 3-pointer from the left corner gave Dieterich it’s first lead in more than five minutes at 20-17.
Hinterscher’s 3-pointer in the second quarter was also the catalyst for 14 minutes of back-and-forth basketball. Neither team could break off a run reminiscent of the first quarter, as Dieterich was stuck running its from the perimeter against Beecher City’s zone and the Eagles shot 36 percent against Dieterich’s man-to-man defense.
“As much as we battled in the first half and as poorly as we shot the ball outside of Taran, to only be down one point at halftime, for us, was huge,” VanScyoc said. “When we utilized the middle of the floor in the fourth quarter, it kind of opened things up. We were able to pitch kickouts to kids, and we knocked down some big shots late.”
A 3-pointer from Sam Thoele with 2:59 left to play in the fourth quarter — Dieterich’s 10th make from deep in the game — put the Movin’ Maroons up five points. Fifty-three seconds later Luke Levitt fouled out, and Dieterich finished the game off at the free throw line despite late 3-pointers from Beecher City’s Drew Levitt and Austin Miley to keep the Eagles close.
Hinterscher joined Bohnhoff in double figures with 12 points — including two made 3-pointers — and Cox’s eight points, with two 3-pointers of his own, rounded out Dietrich’s top scoring effort. The Movin’ Maroons were 10-of-28 from beyond the arc for the game.
“That’s been our trademark the last two or three years,” Bohnhoff said. “We’ve hit up to 16 3s in a game this year. We’re a team full of guards, and that’s just what we look to do.”
Luke Levitt led the Eagles with 18 points and eight rebounds off the bench. No other Beecher City player finished in double figures, but Miley had nine points, Hutchison had seven points and four offensive rebounds and Cole Ohnesorge knocked down two 3-pointers for six points.
“I couldn’t ask for a better effort,” Eirhart said. “We got down early, (but) we just showed a lot of poise and came back. We held in there and didn’t give up. It’s been a unique season for these kids and me. I have to praise them for how well they handled the situation.”
Dieterich has a quick turnaround before tonight’s regional championship game. The Movin’ Maroons are headed right back to Neoga for the 7:30 p.m. tipoff with the goal of limiting turnovers against the host Indians.
“The time we beat them (in Neoga) we only had like 12 turnovers,” Bohnhoff said. “When we got beat in Altamont in the NTC Tournament, it had to be up around 20. We’ll knock our shots down. We have all year. As long as we take care of the ball we’ll win hopefully.”
Dieterich 60, Beecher City 54
Dieterich 12 11 15 22—60
Beecher City 10 14 15 15—54
Dieterich — Hinterscher 5-13 0-0 12; Bohnhoff 7-13 12-12 31; Cox 3-9 0-0 8; S. Thoele 1-6 1-2 4; Flach 0-5 5-6 5; Dahnke 0-2 0-0 0; N. Thoele 0-1 0-0 0
Beecher City — Ohnesorge 2-8 0-0 6; Dr. Levitt 2-6 0-0 5; Ja. Stombaugh 2-5 1-2 5; Miley 4-11 0-0 9; Jo. Stombaugh 1-5 0-0 2; Hutchison 3-9 1-5 7; Di. Levitt 0-2 2-2 2; L. Levitt 6-8 4-5 18; Kline 0-0 0-0 0
3-point shots: Dieterich 10-28 (Hinterscher 2-8, Bohnhoff 5-8, Cox 2-7, S. Thoele 1-5); Beecher City 6-19 (Ohnesorge 2-5, Dr. Levitt 1-4, Miley 1-4, L. Levitt 2-2). Shooting percentages: Dieterich .327 (FG), .357 (3-pt), .900 (FT); Beecher City .364 (FG), .316 (3-pt), .571 (FT). Rebounds: Dieterich 31 (S. Thoele 6, Bohnhoff 5, Flach 5, Dahnke 4, Cox 4, Hinterscher 3); Beecher City (L. Levitt 8, Hutchison 4, Miley 3, Ja. Stombaugh 3, Dr. Levitt 3). Turnovers: Dieterich 16; Beecher City 14.