NEW CONCORD — A furious fourth-quarter rally came up short for host John Glenn on Friday night resulting in a tough 63-58 setback to Sheridan in a key Muskingum Valley League match-up inside the ‘Fish Tank’.
Entering the night, the Muskies and Tri-Valley shared the MVL lead with identical 11-1 marks, thus with JG taking the home setback it sets up a must-win contest on Tuesday night when the Scotties come calling.
"Our goals are still out there," JG head coach Greg Woodard offered. "Obviously, it’s a must-win situation now on Tuesday. Tonight we didn’t shoot it well and they kicked our butts on the boards, so you have to give them credit."
The rebounding woes along with the cold shooting led to the visiting Generals seemingly on their way to an easy win with 6:49 left in the game when a lay-up from junior Ethan Heller gave Sheridan its biggest lead of the night, 54-40, and things looked bleak for the Muskies.
To their credit, however, this group of Muskies weren’t quite ready to throw in the towel just yet as they bumped up their defensive intensity and harassed the Generals into eight turnovers to battle their way back into the contest.
John Glenn reeled off a huge 16-2 run to pull even at 56-56 with just 1:46 left in the game on a driving lay-up from senior Casey Smith.
Sheridan quickly answered with the biggest shot of the night from senior Gray Bennett, who drilled a three-pointer to give the Generals a 59-56 lead with just 1:31 left to play.
Bennett was in the right place at the right time, collecting the loose ball after a scramble for possession between Sheridan’s Heller and JG senior Justin Heacock.
"We had all the momentum there...we just needed one more stop," Woodard offered. "That was the one shot that kid (Bennett) made...and it was a dagger."
Following the big ‘trey’, the squads traded 2-for-2 trips to the charity stripe, with senior Shane Bonner hitting a pair to pull the Muskies within 59-58 at the 1:05 mark, but with just 32.2 seconds left, Heller answered for the Generals with a pair of foul shots to regain a three-point edge at 61-58.
John Glenn managed to get off a potential game-tying three-pointer with 18.3 seconds on the clock, but Kumler’s attempt from out front hit the front rim and bounced away.
Sheridan’s Landen Russell then sealed the MVL road win with a pair of free throws with 2.9 seconds left for the 63-58 final score.
John Glenn closed the fourth quarter with a 19-12 scoring edge which proved to be just not quite enough to complete the comeback.
Smith and sophomore Sam Kumler paced the Muskies’ late charge with seven points each.
Woodard pointed to the huge rebounding edge by Sheridan as a key factor in the game’s final outcome.
"We knew they were a good rebounding team and we would need to step up in that area," the JG coach added. "But they out rebounded us by like 18, so that was a problem, and a lot of that was due to our poor shooting probably."
Sheridan racked up a huge 35-17 rebounding edge, with Luke Hill pulling down 10 and Grant Heilman adding seven. Kumler paced the Muskies’ effort off the glass with four boards while Smith and Bonner each finished with three.
Heacock led John Glenn (14-4, 11-2 MVL) with 17 points followed by Kumler with 15 and Smith with nine.
Sheridan (16-3, 12-3 MVL) was paced by Heller with a game-high 21 points, while Hill chipped in with 15 and Heilman contributed 13.
"We just have to put this behind us and get ready for Tri-Valley on Tuesday," Woodard stated. "It will be another battle...they always are when we play. Obviously, the game has a lot of meaning which again they usually do. It should be a great high school basketball game."
NEXT—John Glenn entertains MVL-leading Tri-Valley on Tuesday, with JV tip-off set for 6 p.m.