Mason, Ohio — The Ohio Valley Hoops Classic headlined Marshall commit Jacob Conner against Purdue commit Fletcher Loyer on Saturday afternoon. This game was a back and forth battle. Homestead pulled away multiple times, but some key plays down the stretch from Alter and a three at the buzzer from A.J. Leen was enough to pull the Knights past one of the top teams in the Midwest.
After winning a district title in 2020, Alter 15-8 last year and in the middle of the GCL Co-Ed. Coming into 2022, the Knights have high expectations as they return a loaded cast of players including Conner and their talented guard tandem of Ryan Chew, A.J. Leen, Anthony Ruffolo, and Gavin Geisel.
Alter seniors Jacob Conner and Ryan Chew
Homestead comes into this year also with high expectations. The Spartans finished out an undefeated regular season last year before falling in the Indiana regional semifinals to Carmel. They graduated Luke Goode who is now playing at Illinois University but they still return a talented group including Purdue commit Fletcher Loyer.
Homestead senior Fletcher Loyer
Jacob Conner came out of the gates firing on all cylinders. The 6’9″ guard hit a pair of threes, including an and-one three as Alter scored the first seven points of the night. Homstead remained poised and led a balanced scoring attack to take a 17-14 lead at the end of the quarter.
Alter senior Jacob Conner
Homestead continued to have the hot hand in the second quarter as they drilled everything on the perimeter. An and-one from Loyer put the Spartans up nine. A pair of layups from Alter’s Gavin Geisel brought the Knights back within four points.
Homestead went on another run Loyer continued to shoot the ball well. His corner three gave Homstead their first double digit lead of the night. Jacob Conner finished off the half with a transition dunk but his Alter Knights trailed 32-26 at halftime.
Alter went on a run to begin the second half as Ryan Chew knocked down a pair of threes. Then a three from Geisel gave Alter their first lead of the half as Alter went on an 11-3 run to begin the third quarter. Loyer would quickly respond as the Spartans took the lead right back off of a three from the Purdue commit.
Alter senior Ryan Chew
A late and-one from Jacob Conner cut Homestead’s lead down to two at the end of the quarter. Alter trailed 47-45 heading into the final quarter.
After a three from Conner, Anthony Ruffolo gave Alter back the lead on a put back off of his own miss. Both teams began trading baskets. After Homestead took a five point lead, Conner would respond to Loyer’s three with one of his own. A.J. Leen’s putback to tie the game was rejected off of the backboard and Alter was forced to foul with 48 seconds remaining and trailing by two.
Loyer would go 2/2 from the line would gave the Spartans a 63-59 lead. Ryan Chew then dribbled quickly up the court and found Anthony Ruffolo open in the corner. The junior knocked down the open shot to make it a 63-62 game with 35 seconds left. Chew was forced to foul which was his fifth of the night.
Homestead missed the front end of the one and one. Alter brought the ball up and Gavin Geisel dished it to Ruffolo once more who made the clutch layup with some contact as Alter took a 65-63 lead with 21 seconds left. Loyer’s three to take the lead was wide right and Ruffolo pulled in the long rebound. Alter then called their last timeout with the ball at midcourt and just 8 seconds left.
Alter junior Anthony Ruffolo
Ruffolo’s inbound pass was then tipped and stolen was Loyer who was then fouled on the floor. This sent the senior Purdue commit to the line shooting two as the Spartans entered the double bonus. He was able to convert on both to tie the at 65 with 5 seconds remaining.
Ruffolo quickly brought the ball up the court and then was fouled. That was Homestead’s sixth team foul so Alter wasn’t quite yet in the bonus. That gave the Knights one last chance in regulation. Gavin Leen was the inbounder with 1.7 seconds left and he found A.J. Leen who had an open look off of a screen. Leen then drilled the pullup three and Mason Arena went into pandemonium.
Alter junior A.J. Leen
Alter starts off the year 1-0 with a huge win over a great Homestead team from Indiana. Jacob Conner finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds and 6 blocks in the victory. Fletcher Loyer had 28 points for Homestead in the tough loss. Ryan Chew had 11 points off of three three’s and A.J. Leen had 10 points including the game winner. The Knights will be back in action with just as big of a test against Moeller next Friday.