Lincolnview junior Caden Ringwald (2) takes a shot in the lane as Fort Recovery’s Micaiah Cox (34) goes up to challenge the shot during a game Saturday night outside Middle Point. the Lancers fought back from a big deficit, but the Indians held on for the win. (DHI Media/Tina Eley)
Lincolnview junior Caden Ringwald (2) takes a shot in the lane as Fort Recovery’s Micaiah Cox (34) goes up to challenge the shot during a game Saturday night outside Middle Point. the Lancers fought back from a big deficit, but the Indians held on for the win. (DHI Media/Tina Eley)
MIDDLE POINT — Lincolnview’s schedule has been front-loaded with outstanding teams, but Fort Recovery may be the best of them all. The Indians gradually built up a 25-point lead Saturday night, then held off a furious fourth-quarter Lancer rally for a 72-59 win at the Barnyard.

Fort Recovery, which starts all five of the seniors on its roster, is 6-1. Lincolnview, which has only one senior in its regular rotation, is 4-6.

“As a coach, you like playing those great teams, like Continental, Ottoville, Wayne Trace and now Fort Recovery,” said Lancer coach Brett Hammons. “You find out the character of your guys. Our guys battled tonight, and they’ve battled every game. They’re gonna lay it out there for all four quarters. These games will make us better as a team.”

Sparked by some fine 3-point shooting (6 of 9), the Indians controlled the first half and went into the locker room leading 41-22. Fort Recovery’s inside/outside threat of Micaiah Cox and Matt Bihn already had 9 and 11 points, respectively, at that point.

“We didn’t do a very good job of staying in front of the basketball or getting back,” said Hammons of Lincolnview’s first half woes. “We didn’t close out real well. Our main focus was try to stop Cox down low, but other players started to make shots. It just made it difficult to guard.”

Cox powered and finessed his way inside for 11 third-quarter points, and the Indian lead was 59-34 after 24 minutes. Lancer sophomore Ethan Kemler scored 10 of Lincolnview’s 12 points in that period, his buckets coming on two layups, courtesy of nice assists from senior Ryan Rager and junior Chayten Overholt, and three mid-range shots.

Things changed drastically in the fourth quarter, which was dominated by Lincolnview. The Lancers landed five 3-pointers — two by sophomore Zane Miller and three by junior Caden Ringwald. The margin got as close as nine — 65-56 when Ringwald rattled in a triple with 3:05 left. However, Binn then ended any dreams of a Lincolnview win by swishing a three from the right wing, the only Fort Recovery triple in the second half, and canning a layup on a nifty baseline drive — 70-56, Indians, at 1:39. The home team won the fourth quarter 25-13 while shooting 8 of 15 from the floor, including 5 of 8 from beyond the arc.

“Their pressure gave us some issues to start the game, but we tried to adjust the game plan at halftime,” said Hammons. “Their press was giving us problems, but we also weren’t getting the ball to the middle of the floor. In the second half, when we got the ball to the middle of the floor, good things happened to us.”

For the game as a whole, Fort Recovery was superb from the field — 52 percent (29 of 56), including 54 percent (7 of 13) from three. Lincolnview shot 42 percent (22 of 53) from the field, 50 percent (6 of 12) from long range. The Lancers had a free throw shooting edge — 75 percent (9 of 12) to 64 percent (7 of 11). Fort Recovery won the boards 33-23. The teams each had 14 turnovers.

Cox and Bihn led Fort Recovery scoring with 24 and 19. Kemler and Ringwald had 21 and 18 for Lincolnview.

The Lincolnview junior varsity team is now 8-2 after its 47-35 win.

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FORT RECOVERY (72)

Caleb Martin 4, Travis Sutter 7, Matt Bihn 19, Jason Roessner 4, Micaiah Cox 24, Ryan Braun 6, Payton Jutte 7, Cade Wendel 1.

LINCOLNVIEW (59)

Caden Ringwald 18, Ryan Rager 2, Ethan Kemler 21, Chayten Overholt 9, Isiac Bowersock 1, Tristin Miller 2, Zane Miller 6.

Fort Recovery 19 22 18 13 - 72

Lincolnview 12 10 12 25 - 59

3-point shooting: FR 7/13 (Bihn 3, Braun 2, Jutte, Sutter), LV 6/12 (Ringwald 4, Zane Miller 2). Rebounds: FR 33, LV 23. Fouls: FR 13, LV 14. Turnovers: FR14, LV 14. JV score: Lincolnview 47-35.