Loudonville Redbirds

The Fisher King: Redbirds’ senior leads Loudonville past Smithies

Logan Fisher's 29 points lead Redbirds past Smithies

The Loudonville Redbirds wanted to get off to a good start in their contest with the Smithville Smithies in an area boys basketball game on Tuesday, Feb. 20 in The Cage at Loudonville High School. Logan Fisher made sure that happened.

Then Loudonville (11-10) had to withstand a series of tests throughout the game as Smithville continually came shoving its way back into the game. The entire Redbirds squad made sure that happened.

In the end Loudonville took home a 67-59 win that pleased head coach Kelly Seboe in many ways and provided him with enough points of critique that he can continue to urge his team to work on its weaknesses.

“Overall we played a good ball game,” Seboe said. “We scored 67 points. If we can incrementally make our defense just a little bit better, we have a chance to be a very good team because we can score the basketball.”

As for his high-scoring senior, Seboe said Fisher has exhibited everything a coach could ask for in a senior leader this season. He was, however, quite impressed with the early barrage of points.

“Wow! Talk about a senior stepping up. What a start he had,” Seboe said of Fisher. “He works so hard all the time. He is a remarkable individual. I can count on one hand the number of times I [have seen] him in four years where he hasn’t brought a tremendous effort. That’s the kind of young man he is.”

While Fisher isn’t extraordinarily big, his ability to get loose in the paint and create shots makes him extremely dangerous. And while he has had big scoring nights this year, this one definitely stood out.

“If I’m open and feeling it, I’ll let it fly to try to create some energy for the team,” Fisher said. “I tried hard to work the glass early, and anyone on this team can score. It just happened to be me early tonight.”

As for the grand total of 29, Fisher said that big of a number is not the norm, but on this night he could tell he might get rolling.

“If I feel as good as I did tonight, I’m willing to look to get shots,” Fisher said. “I just had one of those nights where everything clicked.”

For Smithville (12-10), falling behind on the road to a capable team is not the best-case scenario, according to head coach Jim Frizell.

“We’re not built quite like a team that can make up a lot of ground,” Frizell said. “We’ve had a couple of games where we’ve done that, but we are kind of a grind-it-out kind of team, so putting our backs against the wall puts us in a pretty vulnerable position. Give our kids credit for battling back.”

The beginning of the game was a showcase moment for Fisher, who dazzled, scoring nine straight points for his team to give the Redbirds a 9-2 lead.

Matthew Brightbill knocked down two free throws and then found Hayden Brightbill on a nice pass inside for Loudonville, and the Redbirds had quickly built a 14-6 advantage.

That, in essence, was the gap that Smithville tried to overcome throughout the entire game.

Matthew Brightbill may not have scored a ton of points, scoring five, but Seboe said his point guard’s hustling play and ability to dole out assists was a big key to the victory.

Smithville’s Jacob Reed and Trevor Pertee scored late in the first quarter to get the Smithies within four at 17-13, but Fisher and Garrett Fry each scored inside to bump the lead back to eight. That was pretty much the way the difference stood throughout the second quarter as the two teams traded buckets until Partee scored twice on drives around a Fisher score, and the Redbirds took a 29-24 lead into the locker room.

The Smithies would challenge early in the third period by jamming the ball into the paint and crashing the offensive glass. Smithville cut the deficit to two points when Reed scored inside, but Fry and Hunter Martin drilled two huge threes to push the lead back to six. Again, Smithville forced its way back into it, drawing to within two on a Reed score before Trent Kauffman’s put-back tied things at 37.

“We did such a great job of working our way back into the game. Then we got a steal and gave it right back to them, and I thought that was a critical point in the game,” Frizell said.

Just as it had several times earlier, Loudonville responded, getting a monster three-ball from Jacob Gessner and a driving score from Fry, who sprang to life in the second half.

After Kauffman scored inside, Fry hit a massively long 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Redbirds a 45-39 cushion heading into the fourth period. The freshman Gessner stroked a trey coming out of the break, and Loudonville owned a 48-39 lead. A stop was followed by a Fisher score inside, and it was 50-39.

“The freshman hit a couple of big threes tonight when we were in a bit of a funk,” Seboe said. “That kind of got us going again at big times.”

The Smithies began to pick up the pressure, and a triple from Reed trimmed the Loudonville lead to 54-48 with just under four minutes to play. Again, Loudonville got what it needed, this time courtesy of a couple of big stops, four points from Fisher and a wonderful fast-break score that came when Matthew Brightbill found Joe Henley on a perfectly executed long pass that resulted in an easy layup.

“Sometimes when you get in games like this where you fall behind, it takes a lot of energy to get back up and over the hill,” Frizell said. “We tried to step up the pressure a little bit, but they kept knocking down shots when they had to.”

Pertee and Reed tried to keep the Smithies within shouting distance, but Loudonville was able to capitalize on free throws down the stretch to keep them at bay and earn the win.

“We battled all night, and whenever they challenged us, we did a nice job of coming right back and keeping the lead,” Seboe said of his team.

Fisher ended the night with 29 points, doing the majority of the damage early and late, scoring 11 first-quarter points and finishing the fourth period with 10. Fry added a dozen points while Gessner pitched in with 10 including seven in the pivotal fourth quarter. Fry and Fisher led the rebounding for the Redbirds with six caroms apiece.

The Smithies were led in scoring by Pertee, who ended the night with 16 points, eight of those coming in the final period. Jace Watts scored 11 including three 3-pointers while Reed scored 15 points and hauled in seven rebounds. Trent Shane scored four points and had a huge night on the glass, collecting 10 rebounds to lead Smithville to a 32-23 rebounding advantage.

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