It had been more than a decade since the Hartville Eagles boys basketball team had a four game losing streak.
Though it is important to note that their recent losses came against state-ranked or near state-ranked teams with a current combined record of 39-6.
For a Mansfield team receiving votes for a Top-10 state ranking, the Lions were hoping to find a way to extend Hartville’s skid to five straight.
The Lions actually had a lead through three quarters of play on their home court until Hartville’s defense kept Mansfield off the board until there was just 1:46 left in the game.
The Eagles had an 18-7 run in the final quarter for a 51-44 victory to end their losing streak and put them back in the Summit Conference race.
Mansfield attacked Hartville early as they opened the game with back-to-back 3-pointers for a 6-0 lead. Hartville responded with two back-to-back 3’s of their own, tying the game.
In the second quarter, Landen Campbell’s 3-point play came during a 9-2 run to give the Lions a 20-9 lead.
The Eagles responded with a big 12-2.
Both Brody McNiel and Jalon Cryer scored five points to cut Mansfield’s lead to one point.
The Lions held a 25-22 halftime edge before the Eagles set the tone early in the second half.
Logan Simpson, who had some early foul trouble, picked up a steal and a layup to open the frame. McNiel then added a 3-pointer to give Hartville their first lead of the contest.
In fact, the Eagles had a 7-2 run to start the second half. Mansfield’s Tom Emerick scored seven of his team’s nine points in the third to help the Lions maintain a slim two point edge heading into the fourth. It was the final frame that Hartville started with a 10-0 run while their defense held the Lions to just four missed shots from the field to take a 43-34 lead.
The Lions did not go away quietly though as Stone Sawyers’ 3-pointer then Campbell’s steal and assist to Chase Cartwright trimmed the lead to five with 28 seconds left. The Eagles hit their late free throws as they made 8-of-9 in the quarter to hold on for a seven point win.
Grant Culver led the Eagles as he scored six points in the fourth and finished with 13 points, four rebounds and one steal. Eric Wilson had seven of his nine points the final frame and also tallied three rebounds, two assists and one steal.
McNiel scored 10 points, two rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal; Simpson had eight points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals; Cryer had five points and one rebound; Jacob Ballard scored five points, six assists, two rebounds and one steal; and Jackson Ward had one point and one assist.
Mansfield was led by Emerick’s 15 points, eight rebounds, three assists and one steal; Cartwright had 13 points, three rebounds, one steal and one block; Campbell had eight points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals; Sawyers scored four points, four rebounds and three assists; London Dennis had two points, four rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal; and Ethan Bennett had two points and one rebound.
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