February 9, 2024 at 11:46 p.m.
JCHS boys basketball

Just short

Jay County falls to Heritage in OT
Parker Nichols, a senior at Jay County High School shoots a layup after being fouled by Heritage's Landon Lybarger on Friday night. The shot didn’t fall, but Nichols made both free throws to take a one-point lead. JCHS ended up losing to Heritage 67-64 in overtime. (The Commercial Review/Andrew Balko)
Parker Nichols, a senior at Jay County High School shoots a layup after being fouled by Heritage's Landon Lybarger on Friday night. The shot didn’t fall, but Nichols made both free throws to take a one-point lead. JCHS ended up losing to Heritage 67-64 in overtime. (The Commercial Review/Andrew Balko)

MONROEVILLE — The Patriots that call Portland home had a chance to win at the final buzzer of regulation, but came up just short.

In the overtime period, they had a similar opportunity for the tie, but again couldn’t get the shot to fall.

A pair of missed 3-point opportunities ended up the difference as the Jay County High School boys basketball team couldn’t complete the comeback Friday night thriller that went to overtime, as Heritage escaped with the 67-64 victory.

“We never ever got the situation that we needed, where he had the ball and the lead,” JCHS coach Jerry Bomholt said. “I told them, ‘You’re not back in it until you have that.’”

It marked the third consecutive nail-biter between the rival Patriots, as Jay County lost to Heritage 29-28 in last season’s conference tournament before winning the regular-season rematch 45-44 on a last-second shot by Blake Bogenschutz.

Despite never controlling the lead and the ball, Jay County (7-10, 4-2 Allen County Athletic Conference) had a shot to extend the game.

Down three with less than 10 seconds left, Gradin Swoveland fouled Heritage’s Noah Redmon, who missed both bonus free throws. Swoveland came down with the ball with five seconds left, and quickly advanced it to Jayden Comer, waiting in the corner. The freshman fired up a three to tie that bounced off the rim as time expired.

Despite Jay County having the momentum going into overtime, Heritage (7-12, 3-3 ACAC) opened the extra period on a 5-0 run on a slashing layup by D’Vontaye Washington and a Taurean Brown 3-pointer. Braden Walter assisted on both plays as he finished with a game-high nine assists.

“We talk all the time about protecting our home court,” Heritage coach Kyle Sovine said. “Jay County travels well and these ACAC games are a dogfight so, it’s whoever is the tougher team. I thought we made a few plays there and got our crowd back into it and just rolled off that momentum.”

Jay County finally scored on a third-chance opportunity that Parker Nichols sank from behind the arc.

Being behind, Jay County played fast, resulting in turnovers and quick shots that didn’t fall as Heritage strung together three baskets for an eight-point lead.

Swoveland got two points back on free throws and Comer hit a three with eight seconds left to set up the final plays of the game.

“It was the first time they’ve been in that situation this year where you’re behind late but it’s close enough you still have a chance,” Bomholt said. “A couple of things we executed very well, but some other things we didn’t.

“When you’re trying to come from behind, every possession is critical. Every possession.”

Jay County also had an opportunity to win at the end of regulation. Heritage had the ball with 20.6 seconds left, but Aiden Phillips tied up Redmon for a jump ball that gave the possession to JCHS. After a timeout, Heritage’s pressure only allowed for an off-balance three from Liam Garringer that came up short.

To even be in that position, Jay County had to trade haymakers with Heritage. JCHS utilized a half-court trap that is an extension of its regular 1-2-2 defense that forced five HHS turnovers.

Nichols threw the first blow with under a minute left as he got downhill and drew a foul on Landon Lybarger. The senior knocked down both shots to give Jay County its first lead since the opening minute of the second quarter.

Kobe Meyer threw the next punch. Jay County’s trap didn’t successfully create a turnover, allowing Meyer to receive a pass on the weak-side block. Nichols was forced to commit the foul to prevent the easy layup, but Meyer knocked down both shots to retake a 56-55 lead.

Garringer drew a foul with 26.7 seconds for a pair of free throws. Garringer made the first, but missed the second to leave the game tied at 56.

“We work on those situations in crunch time, where we’ve got to settle down and perform under pressure,” Sovine said. “We haven’t been in haven’t been in that situation much, leading by five or six. We’ve had it a few times this year where we started turning the ball over, but we just gotta keep fighting, playing through and keep getting better.”

Heritage took advantage of open threes, and pushing the ball in transition the first half before Jay County’s defense could set up. The quick ball movement resulted in four players reaching double figures for Heritage. Meyer led the way with 14 points, LanTae Cassel followed with 13, Radmon added 12 and Brown had 11.

Swoveland powered the JCHS offense with 21 points. He went 7-for-13 from the floor and shot 75% at the foul line. Garringer and Comer each scored 10 points.

Jay County won the first quarter 15-14, but lulled in the second and third as Heritage built a five-point lead.

Woodlan beat Southern Wells 66-44 Friday to tie Jay County for second in the ACAC at 4-2. Adams Central ran away with the title, going 6-0 and winning the ACAC tournament as well.

Junior varsity

The Patriots took care of business early in a 45-25 win over Heritage.

The Jay County (12-4) defense came ready to play, holding Heritage to only 11 first-half points. Seven of those points came from Heritage’s leading scorer Davain Bates. He scored over half of his team’s points as he put up 17.

Jay County had four players contribute as part of a 15-point opening quarter. Its scoring leaders, Cole Forthofer and Drew Schemenaur, had 10 of those points. Forthofer finished with 13 while Schemenaur added 11.


Heritage Patriots vs.

Jay County Patriots

Boys varsity summary

Jay County (7-10, 4-2 ACAC)

        FG-FGA    FT-FTA    PTS

Comer     4-7     0-0     10

Nichols     3-9     2-2     9

Mhlnkmp     1-4     0-0     2

Garringer     3-10     4-6     10

Dunnington     2-7     0-2     4

Crouch     1-3     2-2     4    

Dirksen     0-0     0-0     0

Phillips     0-2     0-0     0

Bihn     1-4     2-2     4

Swoveland     7-13    3-4    21

Totals    22-59    13-18    64

        .372    .722

Def. rebound percentage: .705

Heritage (7-12, 3-3 ACAC)

        FG-FGA    FT-FTA    PTS

Tigulis     0-0     0-0     0

Meyer     4-8     2-2     14

Rauner     0-0     0-0     0

Lybarger     3-14     1-1     9

Walter     0-1     0-0     0

Cassel     4-7     5-6     13

Washington     3-8     2-2     8

Radmon     6-12     0-3     12

Brown     4-7     0-1     11

Totals    24-57     10-15     67

        .421     .667

Def. rebound percentage: .657

Score by quarters:

Jay Co.    15     10     13     18     8          64    

Heritage    15     10     13     18     8         64

    3-point shooting: Jay County  7-26 (Swoveland 4-8, Comer 2-5, Nichols 1-2, Phillips 0-1, Muhlenkamp 0-3, Dunnington 0-3, Garringer 0-4). Heritage 9-23 (Meyer 4-6, Brown 3-4, Lybarger 2-11, Redmon 0-2).

    Rebounds: Jay County  36 (Swoveland 11, Garringer 6, Dunnington 5, Phillips 5, Muhlenkamp 3, Nichols 2, Crouch 2, team 2). Heritage 33 (Walter 7, Washington 7, Radmon 7, Cassel 4, team 4, Brown 3, Lybarger).

    Assists: Jay County  10 (Garringer 4, Nichols 2, Swoveland 2, Comer, Bihn). Heritage 19 (Walter 9, Brown 5, Lybarger 3, Meyer, Washington, Radmon).

    Blocks: Jay County  5 (Phillips 2, Muhlenkamp, Crouch, Swoveland). Heritage 4 (Washington 3, Radmon).

    Personal fouls: Jay County  14 (Garringer 5, Nichols 4, Swoveland 3, Bihn 2, Comer, Muhlenkamp, Dunnington). Heritage 17 (Walter 5, Lybarger 3, Radmon 3, Tigulis 2, Meyer, Rauner, Cassel, Brown).

    Turnovers: Jay County  19. Heritage 17.




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