Their conference situation is unchanged, but the Blue Devils took one on the chin in a 48-hour span this past weekend.
The Tallmadge boys basketball team suffered a pair of losses last Friday and Saturday on the road.
The Blue Devils were humbled to Louisville 81-50 on Saturday after an excruciating 67-64 defeat to Austintown Fitch on Friday.
Against the Leopards, who Tallmadge (2-4) defeated in Division II sectional play last winter, Louisville got off to a fast start and didn’t look back.
"We got hit in the mouth early and just didn't respond," Blue Devils’ second-year head coach Bill Johnson said. "Louisville did some really good things defensively and they made shots early. The scoreboard got away from us early in the game and we just never really recovered."
Brandon Heigelmann had a season-low 12 points for Tallmadge. Teammate Danny Kurko also had 12 points.
Against Fitch, the Blue Devils had their hearts shattered on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer. Kris Brown, who finished with a game-high 28 points for the Falcons, buried the game-winning shot.
"Obviously losing hurts and losing at the buzzer makes it that much more hurtful, but the game itself was really entertaining and had a lot of good basketball in it," Johnson said. "We played defense until there were four seconds left when they called a timeout. They ran a really nice play and we just got a little lost on one of their guys and he made a play. He made about a 23-footer as the buzzer sounded."
Heigelmann scored 17 of his game-high 36 points in the first quarter. Nevertheless, Fitch, thanks to 12 points by Todd Simons, had a 23-22 lead. The Falcons led by four at halftime.
"I think it was a feeling-out process for each team as we don't see each other often," Johnson said. "I feel like our offense got a little stagnant in the second quarter as we kind of just watched Brandon instead of continuing to play our game."
Tallmadge made a push in the third period, thanks to a balanced attack. Kurko led the way as five Blue Devils scored in the quarter. Kurko scored six of his 10 points in the period, but the Falcons still had a six-point lead heading into the final eight minutes.
The fourth quarter featured lots of offensive fireworks as Fitch couldn’t put Tallmadge away.
"The fourth quarter was a fun one," Johnson said. "It was constantly a two- to four-point game and each possession really mattered. After trailing the entire fourth, Nick Lambacher made a layup on a drive to the bucket with 48 seconds left [to tie the game]."
Simons scored just two points after his hot start in the opening period. Brown buried three 3-pointers in the final quarter. Jacob Crangle finished with six points for the Blue Devils.
"I was happy with our effort and we really battled to hang around in a tough environment," Johnson said.
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.