Howard, Hammond all tied up

January 11, 1995|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Sun Staff Writer

Howard had three reasons to be happy after a 26-26 tie yesterday that featured three technical falls, two pins, one major decision, one overtime decision and three one-point decisions.

The tie was against defending county champion Hammond (5-3-1 overall, 1-1-1 league).

The Lions (3-2-1, 3-0-1) rallied from a 26-16 deficit with two matches remaining.

And the Lions tied despite the fact that Chris Poling, ranked fifth in the state, was upset by Hammond's Hansel Henry at 152 pounds.

"The 152 match was the key to why we didn't win," Howard co-coach Dan Ricker said. "But we're still happy because if you had asked anyone at the beginning of the season what our score against Hammond would be, they'd have said we'd lose by 20 points."

Henry and Poling were tied 2-2 after one period and 4-4 after two periods. Henry went ahead 8-5 in the third period, but Poling was awarded a stalling point with 20 seconds left, and could score only on an escape with seven seconds left for the 8-7 final score.

The young Howard team's spirits were boosted at the start when the Lions won the coin flip.

"The coin flip was crucial," Ricker said. "It meant their guys had to go out on the mat first on odd matches and it gave us a chance to maneuver at 119, 130 and 152, which were all odd and all key matches."

Hammond won at 119 when Rob Watson decisioned Jan Grothe, 2-1. And the Lions won at 130 when Josh Rosenblatt decisioned Mike Loula, 8-6 in overtime. Loula came back from a 6-2 deficit after two periods to tie 6-6, but Rosenblatt scored a takedown for the win.

"The keys were 119 and 130," Hammond coach Jeff Starnes said. "And they went Howard's way. Give them credit. It wasn't the 189 match or the heavyweight match that cost us."

But it was the 189 bout, won by Frank Tortella over Tom Borrego, 11-3, that was crucial in the minds of the Howard fans.

Tortella led 6-2 after two periods and needed to win by eight points to score at least a major decision worth four team points.

Tortella scored the needed eight-point winning margin on a stalling call with seven seconds left -- the second stalling point awarded to him in the third period.

Howard then needed a pin from heavyweight Brian Neal and he got one at 3:44 over Ari Zytcer for the final score.

Howard's Matt Sartwell scored a tech fall at 160 pounds as the Lions dominated the higher weights.

The only Hammond wrestler to win at 160 or above was Jimmy Weston (171) who pinned Luke Sartwell in 1:18.

Howard had a second tech fall at 145 pounds where Erik Paskin dominated Don Clark.

Hammond's Josh Zillmer scored a tech fall over Reggie Ray at 135 pounds.

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