Lincolnview junior Chayten Overholt (11) had 8 assists in Lincolnview's 57-40 win over Allen East on Friday. (DHI Media/John Parent)
Lincolnview junior Chayten Overholt (11) had 8 assists in Lincolnview's 57-40 win over Allen East on Friday. (DHI Media/John Parent)
MIDDLE POINT — Allen East’s varsity basketball roster has 10 players, and every one is a senior. Lincolnview boasts only one player, junior guard Caden Ringwald, who, prior to this season, had any significant varsity experience.

When the teams got together for a Northwest Conference battle at the Barnyard at Lincolnview on Friday, however, it was the Lancers who looked like the veteran team. Lincolnview held the high-powered Mustang offense to 29 percent shooting in a 57-40 victory.

“We wanted to control the paint, and I felt we did that,” Lincolnview head coach Brett Hammons said. “We forced some guys into tough shots, and I thought our posts did a great job of helping off; I couldn’t ask for a better performance from our defense.

“Defense is going to win, and I think that we proved it to our guys tonight. If you can step up and play good, solid defense against a team as good as Allen East, there are good things going to happen.”

While both teams struggled to score in the early going, it was the Lancers who turned it on in the second quarter, and did so thanks to the defense of junior Chayten Overholt. Three times during what would be the decisive period, Overholt picked the pocket of a Mustang ball-handler and each instance was followed with an easy fastbreak layup by senior Ryan Rager.

“It’s always great when you get those easy baskets,” Hammons said. “We talked about coming out in that quarter, that the first three minutes were going to be huge, and we talked about putting ball pressure on. Chayten did that, he did a great job, and Rager didn’t stand there and watch, he ran down the court and we got some layups.”

The Lancers (4-5, 1-1 NWC) led by nine when Overholt drove through the lane, dropped a one-handed leaner and drew contact, converting at the line for a 3-point play. On the next trip, Overholt, who finished the game with 8 assists, found Tristin Miller in the corner for a 3-pointer to give the Lancers a commanding 26-11 advantage with two minutes to play in the first half.

The stellar ball movement that Lincolnview made it calling card last season was on display throughout the night on Friday, as Overholt found Rager on a backdoor cut to the basket for a 28-13 halftime lead. For the game, Lincolnview assisted on 15 of 24 made field goals.

Allen East (5-3, 0-1 NWC) came in with two players, Spencer Miller and Caleb Smelcer, each averaging over 15 points per game, but only Miller was able to get anything going on Friday. He scored 10 of his 18 points in the third quarter, as the Mustangs tried to create offense by going to the hoop, but finished just 7 of 20 shooting. Smelcer was held to 5 points.

“We stressed that the last two nights in practice, how good Miller and Smelcer are, and how well they shoot the basketball,” Hammons said. “I thought we did a good job putting ball pressure on, we mixed up our defense, and our guys in the gaps did a great job to not let them get into the paint.”

Rager finished with a game-high 21 points and 10 rebounds. He connected on 9 of 13 field goals on the night, part of Lincolnview’s 52 percent (24-for-46) effort.

“He’s the most athletic kid we have, and when we’ve been successful this year that is when he has went,” Hammons said. “We have a good supporting cast to go with him, but he stepped up big for us and knocked down some shots. He’s finally getting his chance this year, and to see him succeed the way he is is just great as a coach.”

Coming off of consecutive losses on the road, Hammons was happy with the way his team responded on Friday, but knows there is little time to cherish this win.

“(This win) was very big. We are coming off back-to-back losses against a very good Ottoville team at their place and a very good Wayne Trace team,” Hammons said. “We battled on Tuesday night, but they made too many runs at us. We talked about that, how we couldn’t let Allen East go on a big run. Getting this win, with a very tough opponent in Fort Recovery coming in tomorrow, this one was crucial.”

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ALLEN EAST (40)

Caleb Smelcer 2-8 1-2 5, Shane Gipson 0-5 0-0 0, Johnny Brinkman 2-5 2-4 6, Spencer Miller 7-20 4-5 18, Chris Kleman 1-4 2-2 4, Brayden Newland 3-5 0-1 6, Caleb Austin 0-1 1-2 1, Dylan Koehlinger 0-1 0-0 0, Gage Rumer 0-1 0-0 0, Ryan Stauffer 0-1 0-0 0; Totals 15-51 10-16 40

LINCOLNVIEW (57)

Caden Ringwald 3-9 3-4 9, Ryan Rager 9-13 6-7 21, Chayten Overholt 2-5 1-1 5, Ethan Kemler 6-7 0-0 12, Isaic Bowersock 2-3 0-0 4, Tristin Miller 2-3 0-0 6, Zane Miller 0-1 0-0 0, Dylan Lee 0-1 0-0 0, Nick Motycka 0-4 0-0 0, Alek Bowersock 0-0 0-0 0, Logan Williams 0-0 0-0 0; Totals 24-46 6-7 57

Allen East 6 7 14 13 - 40

Lincolnview 8 20 19 10 - 57

3-point field goals: AE 0-12, Lvw 3-8 (TMiller 2, Rager); Rebounds: AE 25 (Austin 5), Lvw 29 (Rager 10); Assists: AE 1 (Miller), Lvw 15 (Overholt 8); Turnovers: AE 10, Lvw 14; Fouls: AE 9, Lvw 16; JV score: Lincolnview 48-40