Sunday, March 18, 2001

Elder beats West Hi in OT

Bazeley's shot sends Panthers to state

By Carey Hoffman
Enquirer contributor

        Jake Bazeley was the hero. The game he will be remembered for was undoubtedly one of the greatest in Cincinnati high school history.

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Jake Bazeley rips off his jersey after hitting the game-winning shot
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(Jeff Swinger photos)
        Playing for a trip to the state Final Four, Bazeley hit a 5-foot floater with 1.4 seconds left in overtime to beat neighborhood rival Western Hills 58-57 in the Division I regional finals before a crowd of 6,700 at Cintas Center Saturday night.

        Elder (20-6) will meet No. 1-ranked Columbus Brookhaven (26-0) in the Division I state semifinals in Columbus at 6 p.m. on Friday. It is Elder's fifth trip to state. The Panthers have won three state titles.

        Elder was trailing 57-56 and had the ball on the sideline out of bounds after a time out called from the bench wiped out a 3-pointer by guard Mike Mahon.

        The winning play did not start out well. West Hi took away what was supposed to be a diagonal pass to a cutting Scott Benken. Elder made four passes against heavy pressure with the clock running down.

        “I see us running the wrong play and everything falling apart,” Elder forward Tim Schenke recalled of the final sequence.

        “Somehow, Scott hands the ball underhand to Jake.”

        “I just saw Scotty driving and my man went over to help out,” Bazeley said. “The clock was running down, so I just took one dribble and shot it.”

West Hi's Danny Horace tries to sneak through Elders Mike Kroger and Scott Benken (right).
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        Bazeley, who had 15 points, has led Elder in scoring for the tournament.

        “He's saved us, hit a lot of big shots for us,” Elder coach Joe Schoenfeld said of his 6-3 point guard. “He hits the same kind of shot on the baseline against Springfield South on Thursday, our second to last basket, and if he doesn't make that, we don't win there. “He's a really courageous guy.”

        Both of Elder's victories in the regionals came by one point on shots in the final seconds.

        “We did everything right,” West Hi coach Lannis Timmons said of the final sequence. “We stepped through screens, we switched, we did everything we needed to do.”

        Time expired before West Hi could call time out after Bazeley's basket.

        West Hi (21-5) was playing in the regionals for the first time in school history. The loss broke a 15-game winning streak. It was the fourth time West Hi has lost to Elder in the last two years, and eighth straight time overall.

        Darryl Peterson had 18 points and seven rebounds for West Hi, while Danny Horace added 17 points and eight rebounds.

West Hi's C.F. Hix and Malcolm Andrews show their disappointment.
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        Horace hit a pair of foul shots to put the Mustangs ahead 57-56 with 1:05 left in overtime. He was back at the line with 45.4 seconds left but missed the front end of a bonus situation.

        Neither team led by more than six points all night. The lead changed hands 20 times. The game was a battle — with bodies on the floor, contact in the paint.

        The game was tied at 41-41 heading into the fourth quarter, causing the big crowd on both sides to stand and roar.

        West Hi took the upper hand 47-43 by scoring two of its first three baskets in the quarter on second shots. But Elder responded, taking a 51-47 lead with 3:37 to play.

        “I thought if we could get a couple of stops there, we could win the game,” Schoenfeld said.

        Instead, Peterson scored on a stickback and senior Phil Smith buried a pair of free throws with 2:17 left to tie the game at 51-51.

        After a Mahon miss at the Elder end, West Hi held the ball the final 1:15 of regulation. Finally, with about 12 seconds left, Andrews began to drive for West Hi. He ran into resistance and pitched to Michael Hadnot, whose contested 14-foot jumper hit the rim to end regulation.

        Elder had five 3-pointers in the game on 5-of-14 shooting, compared to 0-for-6 for West Hi behind the line. West Hi shot only 37.3 percent from the field compared to 48.1 percent for Elder, but had seven more shot attempts thanks to forcing 19 Elder turnovers.

        A key factor for Elder was the play off the bench of forward Mike Kroeger, who had 13 points subbing for center Phil Bengel.

        “This was a big game and we knew they wouldn't back down,” Kroeger said. “Phil gets in foul trouble, and I just try to go out there and pick (the intensity) up.”

        Elder's players felt sympathy for West Hi, which loses five seniors, including Andrews, Horace and Peterson, who are headed to Division I college ball.

        “Those were three great players, and they just never could get it done against us,” Schenke said. “Sometimes that happens with certain teams.”

        WEST HI (57) - Andrews 3 4 10, Hadnot 2 0 4, Peterson 7 4 18, Horace 7 3 17, Taylor 1 0 2, Smith 2 2 6. Totals: 22-59 13-17 57.

        ELDER (58) - Bazeley 7 0 15, Benken 3 0 6, Schenke 3 2 8, Mahon 4 0 12, Bengel 2 0 4, Kroeger 6 1 13. Totals: 25-52 3-7 58.

        Western Hills ....... 11  18  12  10  6-57

        Elder ....... 15  11  15  10  7-58

3-point goals: WH (0-6); E (5-14) - Bazeley, Mahon 4. Records: WH 21-5, E 20-6.

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