HAMILTON — It was advertised nearly a week before Saturday night’s Clash of the Rams for all the right reasons.
Zach Switzer bucketed a game-high 17 points, and Badin’s defense kicked it up a notch in the second half to help it secure a chippy 53-37 Butler County rivalry win inside a hot and steamy Mulcahey Gym.
A raucous standing-room-only crowd watched the Badin Rams (16-4) win 7 out of their last 8 contests. Ross (13-6) had its 4-game winning streak snapped.
“We knew that this was a sold-out crowd a week before,” Badin coach Gerry Weisgerber said. “I know how their fans are and ours, and I knew it was going to be loud and crazy in here. It’s a little bit warm in here but after the initial shock of it all, we kind of settled down and picked up our defense. That’s what did it for us.”
Badin senior Josh Hegemann knotted it up at 6-6 with 2:35 left in the opening period before the visiting Ross Rams ran off 9 straight.
Badin, which surrendered a 13-6 first-quarter deficit, then picked up its intensity on defense to separate things.
“We were ready the first game of the season for this,” said speedy senior Donovan Watkins, who is the defensive spearhead for the Badin Rams. “We were just ready for it. We always love playing Ross because it’s always packed no matter what sport it is. Our mentality was great tonight, and we were ready to go.
“This was the loudest crowd we had all year,” Watkins added. “Our fans and the Herd — I love them. We go off the Herd’s energy. If they get us going, we’ve got all the momentum to just start rolling. But this is a great team win all around. We’re just happy to go on to the next.”
“We came in here knowing that we had to play hard to get the job done,” chimed Switzer, who put Badin ahead 37-28 with a 3-point dagger with 2:22 showing on the third-quarter clock. “It wasn’t going to take a sloppy effort. Our team is full of a bunch of hustlers, and they just want to get the job done night in and night out.”
Badin locked it down the rest of the way. Weisgerber praised the inside work from junior David Schweinefuss, who came in off the bench to help man Ross 6-foot-7 junior Max Stepaniak.
“David Schweinefuss gave us a spark on defense,” Weisgerber said. “Then we just hit the boards. That was as good of a game that I’ve seen us rebound the ball.”
Cole Gronas paced Ross with 15 points, while Stepaniak finished with 12.
“The first quarter is typically our worst quarter this season,” Ross coach David Lane said. “But to come out like that against a quality GCL opponent, in their home gym, it shows a lot about our guys’ focus.
“I think after they got settled down in that first quarter, we missed a couple of open shots,” Lane added. “We didn’t do a good job of running our offense. Second quarter and the second half, [Badin] turned up their intensity. You’ve got to give them credit. They’re a really good team.”
Ross hosts Monroe on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., and that contest will be broadcast on the Butler County High School Sports Report’s Network.
Badin welcomes McNicholas on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
Ross 13 8 7 9—37
Badin 6 16 16 15—53
Ross — Gronas 5 4 15, Boze 2 0 4, Nunn 1 0 3, Booker 1 0 3, Stepaniak 6 0 12. Totals 15 4 37.
Badin — Hegemann 5 2 13, Watkins 4 0 8, Switzer 8 0 17, Giesting 3 1 7, Larkin 0 2 2, DeLong 1 1 3, D. Schwienefuss 1 0 2, Young 0 1 1. Totals 22 7 53.
3-Point Goals — R: Gronas 1, Nunn 1, Booker 1; B: Hegemann 1, Switzer 1.