By Rob Kiser
Miami Valley Today
PIQUA — It is always the toughest part.
Lehman Catholic boys basketball coach Pat Carlisle didn’t want to see the Cavaliers amazing season come to an end.
But, he couldn’t have been happier with what Lehman was able to accomplish in its 16-5 season, which ended with a 45-32 loss to Russia in Piqua D-IV sectional action.
Russia moves on to play Jackson Center in a district semifinal at 5 p.m. Saturday.
“It was phenomenal season,” Carlisle said. “It is the eighth most wins in the 52 years of Lehman as an academic institution. It is scholastic basketball, because they are students first. We finished second in the NWCC, which is our highest finish in the eight years in the conference.”
Carlisle said just look at who Lehman’s losses came to.
“Lima Perry is a top seed in their sectional,” he said. “USV (Upper Scioto Valley) is a really strong team. Legacy Christian is 19-5 and still in the tournament and then there were the Shelby County battles (Fairlawn and Russia).”
On Thursday night, Lehman got off to a slow start against Russia and could never recover.
The Raiders jumped out to a quick 12-4 lead and never trailed.
“We got in a big hole early,” Carlisle said. “Russia’s shooters came out on fire.”
The Cavaliers found themselves trailing 29-12 late in the first half before a five-point possession cut the deficit to 29-17 at the break.
Donovan O’Leary scored and was fouled.
He missed the free throw, but Lehman got the rebound and David Rossman hit a 3-pointer to make it 29-17 at the break.
Lehman got within 12 several times in the second half, but could never get closer.
Russia led 40-23 after three quarters and went on to a double-digit win.
“We could never get anything going consistently on offense,” Carlisle said. “Give Russia credit. Their pressure was relentless the whole game.”
Luke Frantz led Lehman with seven points.
Michael McFarland had six points and five rebounds, while Justin Chapman and Rossman both scored six points.
Jonathon Bell led Russia with 11 points.
Zane Shappie scored eight points and Xavier Phlipot had seven points and five rebounds.
Hayden Quinter added seven points.
Lehman was 14 of 33 from the floor for 42 percent and two of five from the line for 40 percent.
Russia was 17 of 39 from the floor for 44 percent and three of four from the line for 75 percent.
Russia won the battle of the boards 17-15 and had six turnovers to Lehman’s 13.
“How much have Luke Frantz and Landon McIver done to solidify this program?,” Carlisle said in talking about the two seniors.
After a season which was more than Carlisle could have hoped for.