OAK HARBOR — The second time was the charm for Vermilion in a 53-50 Sandusky Bay Conference Bay Division win over Oak Harbor on Thursday night.
Senior guard Seth Hurd forced a pair of turnovers — one that counted and one that didn’t — in the game’s final minute to lift the Sailors (6-0, 3-0 SBC) to the win.
The first play he made came with the game tied at 50 and 31.6 seconds showing on the clock but didn’t help Vermilion. Hurd’s defensive pressure caused Rockets point guard Jac Alexander to bounce the ball off his foot and into the backcourt.
Alexander dove on the ball and called a timeout, and instead of an Oak Harbor turnover the timeout was granted.
The second time Hurd left no room for error from the referees. After the timeout he cleanly stripped Alexander at the midcourt stripe, grabbed the ball and drove for a basket with 16.7 left. He was fouled on the play, and although he missed the free throw, senior Mason Montgomery grabbed the rebound and pitched it back to Hurd, who was immediately fouled.
Hurd missed the front end of a one-and-one, but Montgomery swooped in for the rebound again and was fouled with 2.3 seconds showing on the clock.
Montgomery split a pair of free throws to give the Sailors the three-point win.
The game ended when Alexander’s desperation 3-point attempt from 50 feet missed wide left.
Alexander had a big game for Oak Harbor (4-2, 3-1), scoring 27 points, but at the end when the game was on the line Vermilion coach Kurt Habermehl put Hurd on him.
“I didn’t guard him the whole game and Coach put me on him at the end,” Hurd said. “I knew I had to stop him. With that first turnover, the refs can’t make every call so you have to forget about it and move on to the next play. That’s what I did.
“I was able to stop him again and score.”
Hurd suffered a broken ankle early in the football season. Habermehl likes how far he has come since the injury.
“He’s been playing at about 80 percent all year, coming nine weeks off of surgery,” Hebermehl said. “I thought tonight he looked like the old Seth Hurd. He was fast, he was aggressive and he wasn’t afraid to do stuff. I thought he was the catalyst for us tonight.”
Montgomery paced Vermilion with 15 points, but it was his 11 rebounds Habermehl wanted to talk about after the game.
“Some people are going to look at the score tomorrow and see he only had 15, but rebounding the basketball he was a stud tonight,” Habermehl said. “Defensively he was pretty good, too. You can’t just look at the points with him because he affects the game in so many other ways.”
Vermilion trailed 43-40 heading into the fourth quarter.
“We have a lot of seniors that have been together since fifth grade,” Hurd said. “We know each other so well. We know when it’s crunch time and when we have to stay focused and play as a team.”
The Sailors seemed to have control of the game early, leading 20-12 in the second quarter, but Oak Harbor closed the half on an 11-2 run to take a 23-22 lead into halftime.
Vermilion forced 16 turnovers, four in the final three minutes.
“They have a great team over there at Vermilion,” Oak Harbor coach Eric Sweet said. “Those seniors have played three years of varsity basketball. I loved them as sophomores and they’re even better now.
“I have a great group of kids in my locker room, too. We had some great looks, some great opportunities, and some balls that didn’t bounce our way. My kids battled their tails off tonight and I’m proud of them”
Vermilion 53, Oak Harbor 50
VERMILION (53): Jonah Pfeil 4-2-11, Seth Hurd 3-0-6, Mason Montgomery 4-7-15, Reese Miller 7-0-14, Zach Kovach 1-0-2, Ryan Habermehl 2-0-4, Sterling Benko 0-1-1. Totals 21-10-53.
OAK HARBOR (50): Hunter Wilkins 2-0-4, Jac Alexander 9-5-27, Clay Schulte 3-0-9, Blake Booker 3-0-8, Gage Brough 1-0-2. Totals 18-5-50.
Vermilion 14 8 18 13 — 53
Oak Harbor 10 13 20 7 — 50
Three-point goals: Vermilion 1-12 (Pfeil), OH 9-19 (Alexander 4, Schulte 3, Booker 2). Field goals: Vermilion 21-44 (47.7 percent), OH 18-39 (46.1 percent). Free throws: Vermilion 10-16 (62.5 percent), OH 5-7 (71.4 percent). Rebounds: Vermilion 31 (Montgomery 11), OH 19 (Schulte 7). Turnovers: Vermilion 14, OH 16. Total fouls: Vermilion 10, OH 12.
Junior varsity: Vermilion, 49-43 (OT)