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  • Val T.

Despite clutch 3s from Reffett, Reinartz, Lewis Cass edges Rochester

Hillis scores 14, hits game-winning FTs with 1:12 left


Sports Editor, RTC

Tanner Reinartz

WALTON — L.J. Hillis scored a game-high 14 points, including the go-ahead free throws with 1:12 left, to give the host Lewis Cass boys basketball team a 46-44 win over conference and sectional rival Rochester Saturday.

Brennan Deeter and Bryce Rudd added nine points each for the Kings, who snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 6-11 overall and 2-6 in the Three Rivers Conference.

Tanner Reinartz scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Zebras, whose four-game winning streak ended. Rochester, who was playing Lewis Cass for the first time since Lewis Cass knocked them out of last year’s sectional, dropped to 8-7, 4-2 TRC.

Rochester trailed by as many as seven points in the fourth quarter but went on

Jack Reffett

an 8-1 run to tie with sophomore reserve Jack Reffett and Reinartz hitting 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to tie the game at 44 with 1:29 left.

But Hillis broke the tie and gave Lewis Cass the lead from the line.

Hillis would later miss two free throws with 43.1 seconds left and two more with 13.7 seconds left, giving Rochester two more openings.

On the first, Drew Bowers missed a 3-pointer, and Kolten Young rebounded.

On the second, Rochester coach Rob Malchow called timeout with 10.5 seconds left. Rochester worked the clock down to 5.8 seconds left before Trey Johnson fouled Bowers.

Rochester was not in the bonus at that point – they did not attempt a free throw in the second half – and Lewis Cass still had two more fouls to give, so Malchow called a play designed to get a quick shot immediately from Reinartz after he caught the inbounds pass. His 25-footer from just in front of the Zebra bench was short and tipped out of bounds by teammate Owen Prater with 1.0 seconds left.

“At the end of the game, they’ve got fouls to give, and we’re not going to be able to run a play because they’re just going to keep fouling us,” Malchow explained. “And disrupting the play, so that’s why we ran the sideline out-of-bounds play where T (Reinartz) got it and stepped into a shot quickly because that was as open as we were going to get, or if he takes one dribble, they’re going to foul him.

“But we don’t want to be there. We shouldn’t have been in that place.”

Hillis then inbounded to Deeter, who appeared to be fouled by Bryce Baugher as the buzzer sounded.

The officials conferred to discuss whether the foul occurred before or after the buzzer before declaring the game over.

Rochester trailed 28-21 after an L.J. Hillis free throw with 5:49 left in the third quarter but rallied, tying it at 31 on a Baugher trey with 3:51 left. After Brody Hillis scored on a power layup to put the Kings back ahead, Reffett would hit a 3-pointer from the right wing off a Reinartz assist to give Rochester a 34-33 lead with 2:33 left.

It turned out to be their only lead of the half as they scored only two points in the next seven minutes. Rochester had scored 60 or more points in each of the last four games, which marked the first time they had done that since the state runner-up season of 2008-09.

“The energy wasn’t there, like Southwood (a 62-59 win on Thursday) in the first half,” Malchow said. “That was what we talked about at halftime. The frustrating part was we had a lot of good, open looks today, and we didn’t make them. We shot the ball poorly, and that’s mental toughness. That’s being ready to play. That’s energy. … There’s a connection. You have high energy, and that makes focus, and focus brings execution, and execution means you’re going to knock down shots and knock down free throws and make plays.”

Lewis Cass first-year coach Eric Branz called his defense “tremendous.”

“We’ve been working hard at the defensive end in practice, and we know in order for us to win, it’s got to be games that are very similar to this one,” Branz said. “Our help-the-helper was much better than what it has been recently. Our rotations overall were much better. We didn’t get split as much as we had been. We gave up a few offensive rebounds, but Kolten Young did a tremendous job at the end of the game flying in from who-knows-where getting rebounds for us.”

In the JV game, Rochester prevailed 36-30.

Lewis Cass 46, Rochester 44

ROCHESTER (44) (8-7, 4-2)

Drew Bowers 1 1-3 4, Owen Prater 3 0-0 6, Carson Paulik 3 0-0 7, Tanner Reinartz 4 2-2 13, Bryce Baugher 2 3-6 8, Robert Bozzo 0 0-0 0, Jonas Kiser 0 0-0 0, Jack Reffett 2 0-0 6

TEAM: 15 6-11 44

LEWIS CASS (46) (6-11, 2-6)

Trey Johnson 2 0-2 4, Owen Lowe 0 0-0 0, Brennan Deeter 3 1-2 9, Bryce Rudd 4 0-0 9, L.J. Hillis 4 5-11 14, Kolten Young 1 2-2 4, Brody Hillis 3 0-2 6

TEAM: 17 8-19 46

Three-point field goals:

Rochester 8 (Reinartz 3, Reffett 2, Baugher, Paulik, Bowers),

Lewis Cass 4 (Deeter 2, L.J. Hillis, Rudd)

Total fouls: Rochester 17, Lewis Cass 11

Turnovers: Rochester 10, Lewis Cass 13

Score by quarters

Rochester 10 9 15 10 44

Lewis Cass 11 11 13 11 46

JV: Rochester 36, Lewis Cass 30

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