GALION — Mount Gilead put the brakes on a three-game losing skid Saturday, rallying from a nine-point deficit in the second half to defeat Galion 53-47 in a non-conference matchup.
“That was a huge battle for us,” Mount Gilead head coach Dan Strasser said. “We knew coming over here on a short turnaround — we played (Friday) night, a tough, physical conference game against Fredericktown — but I just asked the guys to play with passion, energy, and intensity, and they did. That was a huge win for us. That could be a season-changer for us. Battling like that together and finding a way to win on the road, like I said, off a quick turnaround, that’s something to be proud of.”
Mount Gilead (6-6) jumped out to a 3-0 lead after Elijah Chafin converted a three-point play, but the Indians wouldn’t have the lead again until five-tenths of a second remained on the clock in the third period when Colson Chapman hit one of two foul shots to give MG a 32-31 edge. Galion led 16-10 at the end of the first period after going on an 8-2 run and then held a 25-21 halftime advantage.
Galion (2-9) scored the first five points of the third period to extend its lead to 30-21, but Mount Gilead outscored the Tigers 11-1 for the rest of the period to pull ahead.
The fourth quarter was a seesaw affair with neither side really gaining a clear advantage until 42 seconds remained when Galion missed two foul shots that would’ve tied the game at 48. The Indians hit 3-of-4 free throws and got a basket from Rowan Fitzpatrick in the final 36.6 seconds to seal the win and end their losing streak.
“Credit to Mount Gilead, they made us play really sloppy,” Galion head coach Ryan Stover said. “We turned the ball over in the oddest moments. We made some careless passes. We couldn’t handle the basketball and maybe that’s a credit to Gilead with their pressure. We definitely took a step back today, but we’ll be okay. We’ve got 12 days to recover. We’ll figure it out.”
Indians senior Paul Butterman scored a game-high 21 points. He poured in 19 points in the second half to fuel the Mount Gilead comeback. Butterman also had seven rebounds, three steals, and a blocked shot for the Indians.
“Paul’s our senior leader, him and Colson (Chapman),” Strasser said. “Paul played like we expect him to play. He’s put the work these four years and he expects to do that stuff because he’s put the work in. I’m really proud of his effort.”
Chafin scored 14 points for Mount Gilead, connecting on two three-point field goals and 4-of-5 free throws. Carter Kennon scored nine points. Cameron Vickers and Quade Harris chipped in three points each. Fitzpatrick had two points and Chapman added one point.
Galion’s Jaxon Oswald led the Tigers with 14 points on the heels of a 30-point outing against Pleasant on Thursday night. Cooper Kent scored 13 points. Hudson Miller had six points and Rece Payne finished with five points. Steven Glew had four points. Coen Fuson had three points and Garrett Ison added two points.
The Indians dominated the boards, outrebounding the Tigers 45-34. Mount Gilead held a 9-4 advantage on the offensive boards.
Mount Gilead was 13-for-20 at the free throw line, hitting 7-of-11 in the final period. The Indians connected on 4-of-5 foul shots in the final minute of the game. Mount Gilead committed 21 turnovers.
Galion struggled at the free throw line, making only 5-of-13 foul shots. The Tigers missed five consecutive free throws in the fourth quarter, including the the front end of three one-and-one opportunities. Galion also committed 14 turnovers, three of which came in the final 90 seconds of the fourth quarter.
Galion is off until Jan. 20 when the Tigers resume Mid Ohio Athletic Conference play with a home game against Marion Harding. Stover isn’t thrilled about the 12-day gap in the schedule.
“I think this late in the season it’s bad thing,” Stover said. “I wanna keep playing, especially the way we have been playing, outside of today. But we’ll get right back to work on Monday and we’ll go all five days. We’ll work on the fundamentals and get some more confidence in ourselves again because today definitely hurt our confidence level. So we’ll try to rebuild that, continue to prepare, keep going hard, and keep trying to get better.”
Mount Gilead will be back in action on Tuesday with a road game at East Knox as Knox-Morrow Athletic Conference play resumes for the Indians.