Roach’s last-second clutch shot sends Flyers to district finals
ATHENS — In a game filled with clutch shots by both teams, the St. Joseph Flyers saved the biggest shot for Zach Roach.
And Roach turned out to be Mr. Clutch.
Roach hit the game-winning shot with time running out to give St. Joseph a thrilling 61-59 win over the Federal Hocking Lancers in the Division 4 district semifinals on Monday at the Ohio University Convocation Center.
With the game tied, the Flyers had just forced a turnover with 13 seconds to play. But instead of taking a timeout, coach Chris Barnes just yelled at his 5-8 senior guard not to wait.
“I just heard (coach Barnes) yell ‘Go.’ I didn’t have anything planned. I just went,” said Roach.
And go he did as Roach took off with six seconds left and made a driving layup with just two seconds on the clock.
“Every single guy, and I’m talking about eight, nine different guys, every time we needed a bucket, somebody different made the shot. Jared Johnson, Jackson Rowe, Max Weber, Jimmy Mahlmeister, J.C. (Damron),” said Barnes.
“I know they frustrated Ryan (Payne) by face guarding him the whole game, but stay in the game and when the game was on the line, game-winner by Zach.”
St. Joseph (19-5) had four players in double figures with J.C. Damron getting 14 points and 9 rebounds. Jimmy Mahlmeister had 12 points and 2 steals while Roach and Johnson scored 10 points each.
Federal Hocking (19-5) was led by Bradley Russell with a game-high 22 points plus 7 rebounds. Elijah Lucas had 13 points and 9 rebounds with Hunter Smith getting 12 points.
The game started slow with the Lancers taking a 10-9 first quarter lead.
Russell and Johnson traded layups to begin the second quarter and then Damron and Matt Sheridan drained back-to-back trifectas. Lucas converted a 3-point play as the Lancers trailed just 17-15.
But Mahlmeister and Damron buried long-range bombs and it was 23-17.
Another triple by Johnson and a layup by Mahlmeister opened up a 28-17 lead with 1:43 left in the half.
Two foul shots by Darmon had the lead at 30-20 with just 1.8 seconds on the clock, but that’s when Smith came up with a clutch shot from top of the key about 65-feet away on the other end at the buzzer and it was 30-23.
The Lancers used the shot to give them the booster they needed. Layups by Wes Carpenter and Lucas in the first minutes of the second half cut the spread to just 30-27.
Roach tried to kill the Lancers’ surge as he knocked down a trey but Russell’s 3-pointer and Smith’s layup made it 33-32.
A steal by Payne led to a layup by Roach and Damron’s 15-footer opened up a 42-35 lead with 3:14 left in the quarter.
Russell and Carpenter scored as the Lancers closed to within 42-41 only to have Payne make a layup and Johnson’s 3-pointer put the Flyers up 47-41 at the end of the quarter.
It was the Lancers turn again to make clutch shot as Nathaniel Massie had a putback and Russell had a layup with 5:16 left to tie the game at 49.
A 3-pointer by Lucas gave the Lancers their first lead since early in the second quarter as it was 54-52 with 3:27 on the clock.
But Max Weber’s 3-pointer play 14 seconds later put the Flyers back on top at 55-54.
Weber scored again and it was 57-54. Smith sank two foul shots and Quinton Basim hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 1:12 to go that gave Federal Hocking a 59-57 lead.
A layup by Johnson off a pass from Mahlmeister tied the game with 58 seconds to play.
The Lancers played for the final shot but turned the ball over as they made a bad pass with 13 seconds left.
Barnes said the turnover was another tough decision. Payne was saddled with four fouls and he was concerned that trying to double team the Lancers might give them a layup.
“We just said let’s play good, solid D. When it gets late, let’s get up in them hard. I don’t think they can hold it for 40 for 50 seconds,” said Barnes.
The Flyers then just inbounded the ball and went with the final play.
“I haven’t (called a timeout to set up a final play) for two years. When you call a timeout, you set something up and I knew we had them in a little bit of transition. I believe you go to your best player. Zach and Ryan are our best players. I told Zach to go one-on-one, we’re going to clear out and score. And that’s what he did,” said Barnes.
“You do what you’ve got to do to win. I was so proud of our defense and how physical we played in a tough environment that we’ve never been in before.”
UP NEXT: The Flyers play Peebles at 7 p.m. on Saturday in the district final at the Ohio University Convocation Center. Peebles beat Crooksville 63-43 in Monday’s first game.
St. Joseph won its only district title in 1951.
St. Joseph 9 21 17 14 = 61
Fed. Hock. 10 13 18 18 = 59
ST. JOSEPH (19-5): Zach Roach 2 2 0-0 10, Ryan Payne 1 0 2-2 4, J.C. Damron 4 1 3-3 14, Jimmy Mahlmeister 2 2 2-2 12, Jared Johnson 2 2 0-0 10, Matthew Sheridan 0 1 0-0 3, Jackson Rowe 0 1 0-2 3, Max Weber 2 0 1-1 5. Totals: 22-46 8-10 61. 3-pt goals: 9-16. Rebounds: 7-O, 18-D = 25 (Damron 9, Johnson 5, Sheridan 4). Team/deadball rebounds: 3. Assists: 6 (Sheridan 2). Steals: 10 (Damron 4, Payne 2, J. Mahlmeister 2). Turnovers: 15. Fouls: 15. Fouled out: None.
FEDERAL HOCKING (19-5): Bradley Russell 7 2 2-2 22, Hunter Smith 2 2 2-3 12, Collin Jarvis 0 0 2-2 2, Nathaniel Massie 1 0 0-0 2, Elijah Lucas 3 2 1-2 13, Quinton Basim 0 1 0-0 3, Adam Douglas 0 0 0-0 0, Ian Miller 0 0 1-2 1, Wes Carpenter 2 0 0-0 4. Totals: 22-50 8-11 59. 3-pt goals: 7-16. Rebounds: 12-O, 17-D = 29 (Lucas 9, Russell 7). Team/deadball rebounds: 2. Assists: 8 (Smith 3, Carpenter 2). Steals: 7 (Smith 3, Russell 2). Turnovers: 12. Fouls: 12. Fouled out: None.