Spartans Rally Falls Short at Loveland

Posted on: February 17, 2021
The Turpin Spartans went into their Tuesday night matchup at Loveland on a roll, winners of 5 out of 6 and 3 in a row including consecutive hard-fought battles over Walnut Hills and rival Anderson.  The matchup against the Tigers was the 7th game in 15 days for the Spartans, but it was a game they were favored to win, and a game they needed to win if they were repeat as outright league champions.  Somebody forgot to tell the Tigers that, as they gave the defending champs their best shot in a 48-43 upset victory.  The loss drops Turpin (11-6 overall, 10-2 ECC) into a second place tie with Walnut Hills in conference.  The loss also means the Spartans will have to win out at home against Milford and conference leader Lebanon to capture a share of the league crown.
It’s always a challenge in high school basketball to maintain the energy level and play consistently every time out over a 3 month season.  Coach Slonim’s gritty squad has done just that this year despite several CoVid cancellations, reschedules and interruptions.  And there’s no way this team would make excuses for Tuesday night’s loss.  But one can see they were a team just slightly off from their normal.  Shots that were usually nothing but net ended just long or just short.  Rebounds became tipped balls, steals were deflections and deflections were whiffs.  The Spartans now have 2 days to regroup and recover before closing the season at home Friday and Saturday night.
Turpin only led once this contest, falling behind 4-0 out of the gate, and trailing by as many as 7 in the first half.  Twice they rallied in the 4th quarter to close within 1, but each time Loveland connected on a crucial shot.  Dom Cantrella and Ethan Zinn led the way for Turpin with 11 points each, with Deven Marathe providing the long range in going 3-4 from beyond the arc for 9 points.  
Zinn and Jack Selfridge hit 3 pointers in the first and Cantrella added a pair of buckets to keep in close at 12-10 after 1 quarter of action.  Defense keyed the only Spartan lead in the 2nd.  Theisen Lee took a hard charge from Loveland, and although Turpin was unable to score, his play set the tone and picked up the flagging team.  On Loveland’s next possession, Brady Hardewig picked the pocket of the Tiger guard and found Cantrella alone for a 3.  That put Turpin up 13-12.  The Tigers roared back to take their largest lead of the game, 22-15.  Right before half, senior Jaiden Alcalde made the steal and found Selfridge driving hard to the basket for 2.  Turpin went into the half down 5, 22-17.  The third quarter was the Ethan Zinn show as the senior swingman dropped 8 points, showing his versatility with 2 3’s and a baseline drive with a jumper finish for all 8 of the Spartans points in the quarter.  The Spartans rallied in the 4th and it looked briefly like they would push ahead.  Deven Marathe hit a pair of 3’s, each time cutting the lead to 2.  After a Loveland basket, Matt Sheffer drained a corner bomb off the inbounds pass from Cantrella and the lead was down to 1.  The Tigers again scored to push the lead to 3 and Cantrella answered with a driving bucket to keep the deficit at 1.  But Loveland scored on their next 2 possessions to put the game out of reach.  Marathe tried to lift Turpin, connecting for the 3rd time in the fourth quarter from deep, but Turpin couldn’t get closer than 2 points the rest of the way.
On to Milford, the saying goes.  With their ECC title hopes still alive, Turpin returns to the friendly confines of Klinger Court for a Friday night matchup against the Eagles.
Unofficial Stats
Scoring: Cantrella-11, Zinn-11, Marathe-9, Selfridge-5. Lee-4, Sheffer-3
Rebounds: Alcalde-3, Cantrella-3, Lee-3, Hardewig-2, Selfridge-2, Sheffer-2, Zinn-2
Other Notable Performances: Hardewig-3 assists, 2 steals, Cantrella-3 assists, Alcalde-1 assist, Marathe-1 assist