Fort Loramie and Marion Local To Square Off For Trip to State

Fort Loramie's Dillon Braun celebrates a made 3-pointer during the Redskins' thrilling 46-43 win over Russia in a regional semifinal on Tuesday night. (Photo by Brian Smith)
Staff Writer

Marion Local and Fort Loramie will meet again, this time with a trip to Columbus on the line.

Marion Local grabbed control of the Division IV regional semifinal opener at Trent Arena, pulling away for a 55-33 over Springfield Catholic Central, while Fort Loramie had to hold on for dear life to knock off Shelby County League rival Russia 48-45in the nightcap.

Marion Local (22-4)and Fort Loramie will play for the regional crown on Friday at 7 p.m., again at Trent Arena on the campus of Kettering Fairmont High School.

Fort Loramie handed the Flyers a 47-35 loss back on Feb. 3 in Shelby County in a match-up of teams that both reached the regional level in Divisions III and IV a season ago.

This time, they’re both in Division IV and ready to play for a Final Four berth.

Fort Loramie watched as a double-digit fourth quarter lead melted in the matter of minutes, as missed free throws and turnovers allowed the Raiders to knock down 3-point shots and get to within one possession in the game’s closing seconds. Russia’s potential game-tying trey from the right wing went off the backboard and the Loramie faithful and bench could breathe a sigh of relief.

Fort Loramie’s Dillon Braun carried the Redskins offensive in the first half, scoring five of the first seven points of the game as the Redskins got out to a quick 7-0 lead. Braun finished the game with a team-high 18 points with an array of spinning drives to the basket and sharpshooting from the perimeter along with a second half offensive surge from big man Tyler Siegel, who scored 12 points, that seemed to put Fort Loramie firmly in the game’s driver’s seat.

Fort Loramie led by 11 with 2:23 left in the fourth quarter and 44-34 with 90 seconds left in the game.

But the Raiders kept chipping away behind the perimeter shooting of Jordan York, who drained a pair of 3-pointers in the final two and a half minutes, and a lay-up by Evan Monnier.  When York’s 3-pointer with eight seconds left swished through the net, Russia trailed by just 47-45.

After Fort Loramie’s Evan Berning hit one of two free throws with 6.7 seconds left, Russia had one last shot at tying the game. The shot missed and Fort Loramie celebrated a nerve-wracking win near mid-court.

Marion Local faced a Springfield Catholic Central squad in the opener that hadn’t played at the regional level since 1997. The experienced Flyers looked the part of the team more accustomed to the big stage, surging in the fourth quarter for the win.

Marion Local’s 22-5 second-half spurt put the game out of reach.

Nathan Bruns led the way for Marion Local with 20 points. Tyler Mescher had 12 points. Justin Albers reached double figures with 10 points.

The Redskins and Flyers are annual non-conference opponents during the regular season. Fort Loramie has won the last three meetings against the Flyers. Marion Local has won seven of the 11 meetings.