WAVERLY – It was a battle of Scioto Valley Conference teams in Saturday night’s second game at Waverly’s Downtown Gymnasium when Piketon hooked up with Westfall for the third time this season. Piketon held off Westfall 66-62 completing the season sweep to capture the sectional crown; however, the story of this year’s Waverly sectional is the pair of upsets that Peebles pulled off to earn a chance to chop down a championship net.
Earlier this week Coach Doug McFarland’s Peebles team knocked off fellow Southern Hills League member in No. 4 seed Lynchburg-Clay to advance to the final and the No. 13 seed finished off the upset run by defeating No. 5 seed Adena thanks to a near 30-foot buzzer-beater from sophomore Andrew Seaman.
The stage for the dramatic finish was set when Adena’s Buddy Barnes stepped to the charity stripe and calmly knocked down two free throws to give Adena a 59-58 lead with 4.5 seconds remaining. With the Indians forced to go the length of the floor, they went to Seaman in the backcourt and the Peeble’s forward started up the floor. He first went behind his back before splitting a double team around half court. As the sophomore came to a jump stop way out on the right wing just shy of his own bench, Seaman had the presence of mine to gather himself, let the Adena defense flyby, and launch the game-winner that was in flight as the buzzer sounded. As the shot went down, the gym erupted into a celebration as the shot capped off the improbable championship run.
“I just wanted to get as close as I could,” said the six-foot forward Seaman when asked to recall his mindset entering the final 4.5 seconds. “When I looked at the clock, I saw there was a little over a second left, so I just gathered myself and let it go.”
Long before the dramatic finish, Adena controlled much of the game leading 15-13 after one and 35-31 at the half. Much of that success was a result of the offense from juniors Clay Roll and Barnes as well as the defense of Collin Uhrig. Roll and Barnes combined for 28 of Adena’s 35 first half points. Peeble’s talented freshman Blake Justice did get loose later in the game to finish with a game-high 25 points; however, Uhrig did limit Justice to no points on one shot attempt in the first period to help Adena get control early.
Peebles finally took the lead 50-48 on a bucket from Evan Meade which was setup by a great pass from Tyler Arnold. After Uhrig converted an old-fashioned three to regain the lead, Justice knocked down four straight free throws to put Peebles up 54-51. Following two Roll free throws Seaman and Barnes traded field goals before Roll hit two more free throws to put Adena up 57-56. Seaman then connected on a turn-around jumper to regain the lead 58-57 setting up the before mentioned instant classic finish.
Joining Justice’s 25 points in double-figures was Seaman with 13 and Nathan Stephens with 10 points. Meade also added nine to complete a balanced Indian attack. Next up for Peebles (11-11) will be Ironton in next week’s district tournament at the Convo in Athens.
For Adena, the Warriors see their season end at 14-8. They were led in scoring by Barnes with 24, Roll with 18, and Uhrig with 11 in Saturday’s loss. The Warriors did out rebound the Indians by 10 and shot a solid 17 of 22 from the free throw line, but Adena did commit 18 turnovers.
Joining Peebles at the Convo will be Piketon as well. The Redstreaks capture a sectional crown on the strength of 20 points from Jordan Brabson and 18 from Cody Smith. Piketon also got some good frontline play as Caleb Southworth scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds while Coty Breitenbach snatched a game-high 13 boards.
Piketon improves to 15-7 and will face a very good Wheelersburg team next Sunday in Athens. Tip-time for this district semifinal is slated for 7:15 P.M.
With the loss, Westfall sees its season end at 10-12. The Mustangs were led Brian Boring with 18 points, 11 rebounds, and three blocks. Also in double-figures for Westfall were Tyler Cobb and Travis Burleson with 12 apiece.