TIFFIN, Ohio - Heidelberg's first year head coach Andy Bucheit, who was an assistant at Marietta before traveling to the Berg, led his Student Princes against the 17th ranked Pioneers in a thrilling Saturday afternoon Ohio Athletic Conference skirmish.
The Pioneers outlasted Bucheit's squad, 82-80 after the Pios hit a handful of key free throws down the stretch.
"Our guys are just resilient and they fight," said Bucheit. "They believe in our cause and they believe in what we (the coaching staff) are doing here."
The Berg played tough against a physical Marietta squad, exchanging the lead five times and reaching a tie six times throughout the game. It was all Heidelberg at the tip-off as the Berg led by as much as eight in the opening minutes. Marietta took their first lead, 19-18 at the 11:17 mark in the first half and maintained their advantage until 6:33.
The Pioneers went on a 13-5 run at the end of the first half to take a 36-29 advantage into the locker room at the half. The Student Princes went on a 13-6 run out of he locker room to bring the game to a tie, 42-42. The Berg took their third slim lead of the second half at the 13:41 mark and fended off the Marietta offense until they pulled the game back to a tie, 60-60 with 9:15 left in regulation.
At the 5:12 mark in the second half, the Berg reached their final tie of the contest, 70-70. The Pioneers extended thier lead narrowly for the next few minutes with the Berg's offense ferociously attempting to gain the lead. Senior guard Mike Petrie hit a monstrous three-pointer with 0:11 left in regulations to pull the Berg within one, 80-81. However, a Marietta free throw and a missed last second layup by senior guard Keith Mackie would send the Berg to 0-3 in the OAC and 3-5 overall.
"I love our players to death," said Bucheit. "We have really good kids who work really hard day-in and day-out and they believe. We never give up, we had a chance at the end...but life isn't fair and the ball just didn't bounce our way."
Junior transfer Deonte Holder led all scorers with a 24-point performance. Holder added three rebounds, one block, one assist and two steals while shooting 10 of 13 from the floor and four of five from three-point range.
Petrie dropped 12 points in the loss while collecting four rebounds and six assists. Mackie led the Student Princes in rebounds with four and assists with eight. Both Mackie and junior Cole Williams collected eleven points against the Pioneers.
Junior Jack Hart was a key defensive spark off of the Berg bench once more as he finished with a game-high four blocks.
The Heidelberg men and coach Bucheit will take the holiday off and resume their 2013-14 schedule on Sunday, December 29. The Student Princes will travel to Cleveland, Ohio to battle the Spartans of Case Western Reserve University. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:00 p.m.