JEWELL – As we have said, many a time over the decades, when the Tinora Rams and the Ayersville Pilots meet in any sport, you can toss the records out the door.
A packed house with jammed student sections at Tinora High School saw the reasons why records are mostly irrelevant in the River Rivalry, this Friday brought the 64th edition on the hardwood.
The Rams held an advantage in the overall series between the two schools, 38-25.
The Pilots loaded the bus, making the 9.5-mile trip across the Maumee River, and brought their 7-6 record into the Rams new home. Tinora sported a 5-8 record, 2-1 in the GMC. Tinora came in losing three straight, the Pilots off a huge GMC win over Hicksville a week ago.
After the initial five minutes of the first quarter, it looked as if Ayersville’s Tyson Schlachter and Tinora’s Owen Ackerman would both have a career night. Schlachter towered over the undersized Rams and bucketed five points, while Tinora’s Ackerman slashed his way to four quick points.
Fortunately for the Rams, Schlachter would collect his second foul toward the end of the first quarter. Tinora’s Luke Harris would score at the buzzer, giving the Rams a 6-5 lead after the initial slug fest first quarter.
Both Ayersville and Tinora would find the scoring touch in the second quarter.
Finally, back healthy after a month-long injury that hindered his game, Tinora’s Owen Ackerman would show the explosive game that had the Rams start the season at 4-1. Since the Ackerman injury, the Rams have struggled at times to find an additional scoring threat. Ackerman would slash dash, and cut his way to 10 first-half points.
Both Ackerman and Harris led Tinora with 10 first-half points as the Rams took a 21-20 lead to the half.
Schlachter, saddled with foul trouble, would end the half with just those initial five points. Pilot teammate Carter Michel chipped in with seven first-half points, keeping the game tight.
The second half was the Gavin Eckert and Luke Harris show for the Rams, both combined for 26 points.
Ayersville would grab a 26-25 lead midway through the third, this was the last lead the Pilots would see.
The Rams combo of Harris and Eckert would control the next 12 minutes. Eckert would give the Rams a 29-26 lead on his first of three straight three-pointers at the three-minute mark of the third.
It was the first three pointer made by either team at the time of Eckert’s bucket.
Eckert’s previous game against the columbia blue and white back on September 30th resulted in a football season ending injury, Eckert would respond on the hardwood tonight with a double-double. Eckert would grab 12 boards along with his 13 points.
Tinora would increase their lead to 34-28 after three, holding the Pilots to just two points over the final four minutes of the quarter.
As the teams entered the fourth quarter, the full house at Tinora was ready for an eight-minute battle. The battle never materialized, Tinora would score the first six points of the quarter, as the Rams would go on to outscore the Pilots 19-9 in the final six minutes of the county rivalry for a 53-37 win.
The Rams improve to 6-8 with the win, moving into second place in the GMC with a 3-1 conference record.
Tinora will make the trip to Hilltop Saturday night and take on the Cadets.
Ayersville falls to the .500 mark at 7-7. The Pilots fall to 2-2 in the conference. Ayersville will play host to Delphos Jefferson Saturday night,
Pilots Scoring: Clark 4, Armoroso 2, Schlachter 11, McGuire 7, Flory 2, Michel 11
Rams Scoring: Eckert 13, Plassman 0, Anders 2, Rittenhouse 2, Harris 23, Spychela 0, Ackerman 13
The Higbea Embroidery Player of the Game went to Tinora senior, Gavin Eckert. Eckert with 13 huge points and 12 rebound. Congratulations Gavin!
Freshman Tinora 38 Ayersville 24
JV Tinora 40 Ayersville 38 in OT