Once again the month of March brings basketball fans some Cinderella
stories. Some slippers still fit, some simply do not. Upset bullets are
firing at the favorites from all directions in all divisions, but only
the strong survive and advance. See who flexed their muscle this week.
Once again the month of March brings basketball fans some Cinderella stories. Some slippers still fit, some simply do not. Upset bullets are firing at the favorites from all directions in all divisions, but only the strong survive and advance.
Top-seeds Western and North Adams dodged bullets on the boys’ side, however, Fort Frye was not so lucky. In the girls’ brackets, Unioto’s 23-0 start finished 23-1, but Kari Daugherty and River View continue to roll.
Ironton and Oak Hill have been enjoying success in both the girls and boys tournaments. Ironton split a pair at the Convo this week, and Oak Hill’s dream of a pair of Final Fours is still alive.
The Tri Valley Conference experienced some tough luck this week, but the upcoming week offers more chances. The Scioto Valley Conference boys are experiencing the opposite extreme…so much so that the co-champs will meet for the district title next weekend.
In the Division II boys’ tournament, the defending champs are one win shy of the Sweet 16 – a place where a head-to-head match-up with this year’s regional favorite seems likely.
All of this and more, so let’s try to sort it out by starting with our top player and top team from the past week.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Zane Trace, Boys Basketball: The Pioneers of Zane Trace ended the regular season at just two games over the .500 mark at 11-9, however, theIR postseason record is now 3-0. Zane Trace needed a near 30-footer from junior Gabe Haynes in last week’s sectional semifinal just to get into overtime against fellow SVC rival Huntington. Zane Trace went on to win that game, and the red, white, and blue have been on a roll since.
After upsetting Peebles in the sectional finals, the Pioneers took out Alexander in a district semifinal battle in Athens this past weekend. Haynes has continued to play well, but classmate Kirk Maxwell has been outstanding. Maxwell, who averaged just over 16 ppg. in a regular season that saw him named first-team all-league, is now averaging well over 20 ppg. in the postseason.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Kari Daugherty, River View High Girls’ Basketball: The senior finished one assist shy of a triple-double to lead the Lady Black Bears to a 59-33 victory over Meadowbrook in an all East Central Ohio League tournament match-up in the Division II District championship game at Zanesville’s Winland Memorial Gymnasium.
Daugherty scored 23 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, dished out nine assists, recorded three steals and blocked a shot to lead River View (20-2) back to the regional tournament.
NEWS, NOTES & NUGGETS
Defending champs advance: The Chillicothe Cavaliers avenged a regular season loss with a 73-66 win over Warren in Thursday night’s D-II district semifinal at the Convo in Athens. In the win, the Cavs enjoyed great balance led by Michael Turner with 20 points, Ron Smith scored 18 points, and Caleb Knights added 17 points. They will now face Marietta for the district title. Marietta advanced in the early game that night with a 54-36 win over Greenfield McClain. In the win, Zach Arnold scored a game-high 12 points and teammate Zane Eschbaugh added 10 points.
Barbina and Barr lead Jets to title: Jordan Barbina (29) and Joby Barr (24) combined for 53 points as the Jets from Union Local came from behind by as many as seven in the second half. Union Local escaped Meadowbrook High School with a 63-61 victory over a fearless St. Clairsville Red Devils’ squad in the fourth meeting between the two Buckeye 8 teams from Belmont County.
Tough on the Tri Valley: The Tri Valley Conference experienced a tough week on the Ohio Division side. The girls’ league champion in Alexander and the boys’ champion in Vinton County both were knocked out of the tournament this week in district action. Alexander dropped a decision to Ironton 52-37 and Vinton County was beaten by Hillsboro in overtime.
Let the MADNESS begin: In an example of what makes March the greatest basketball month of the year, 9-13 Buckeye Trail, which had upended third-seeded Shenandoah (50-46 in two overtimes) in the first round, upset 18-3 Fort Frye in Thursday’s Division III sectional championship at Meadowbrook High School.
In the unexpected win, Trail got a game-high 23 points from Bob Beros. Junior Gregg Strasser added 10 points and nine rebounds, while Tommy Allen chipped in with nine points and five boards.
Senior Jarrod Arnold topped Fort Frye with 21 points. Brandt Thieman finished with 10 points and six rebounds while sophomore Garrett Legraen had nine points and 11 boards.
Within a Whisker: The ninth-seeded Bearcats of Paint Valley failed to make a double-digit, second half lead hold-up in the D-IV sectional finals at Lucasville Valley this week. Top-seeded Western erased the deficit, forced overtime, and found a way to survive and advance with a 64-62 win. Vince Shanks and Bobbie Smithson combined for 48 points in the win. For Paint Valley, senior Matt Workman finished his fine career with 22 points. Fellow seniors Michael Hamilton and Josh Long contributed 14 and 11 points, respectively.
An Ironton Split: On Saturday it was the Lady Fighting Tigers taking center stage at the Convo in Athens, and a day later, the boys took a turn in the district semifinal.
First in girls’ play, Mercedes Crockrel scored 18 points to lift Ironton past Zane Trace, 36-28. The Fighting Tigers (17-6) led 22-9 at halftime, however, Zane Trace responded and actually led 26-24 at one point in the final quarter. Zane Trace, who does not have a senior on this year’s roster, finishes with an overall mark of 15-8.
The next day, the Ironton boys did not enjoy the Convo as much. Piketon beat Ironton 65-43. Piketon’s Jordan Brabson needed 22 points to join the 1,000 point club and the senior forward scored exactly that. Evan Legg added 19 points, and Cody Smith – a 1,000 point scorer himself – chipped in with 13 points.
Double Trouble: The idea many fans around southeast Ohio have about Oak Hill putting both a boys and girls basketball team in this year’s final four is still alive. On the boys’ side, the Oaks are heavy favorites to cruise to the elite round of eight, and the girls recorded a 65-40 win over Minford Saturday to secure a spot in next week’s sweet sixteen.
On Fire: The Lady Tigers of Greenfield McClain shot 62-percent from the floor, 60-percent from beyond the arc, and a 83-percent from the charity stripe to upset previously unbeaten Unioto, 68-58. The win makes McClain (19-5) the D-II district champions. In the win, McClain was led by Lyndi Seely with 20 points. For Unioto (23-1), who has played the postseason without Ashland-bound star Shiann Ray due to an injury, junior Chloe Cottrell scored a game-high 24 points.
Division III District Final Boys Basketball, Convo in Athens, Saturday: Westfall vs. Piketon, 6:00 p.m.; North Adams vs. Zane Trace, 8:00 p.m.
River View vs. Greenfield McClain girls’ basketball (D-II Regional Tournament), Tuesday, 6 p.m. Zanesville High School: After McClain knocked out Unioto this past weekend, the Lady Tigers will now attempt another upset bid. This week’s top individual in Kari Daugherty and her Lady Bears will have other plans. This should be a great one in Zanesville.
Division IV District Boys Basketball, Convo in Athens, Monday and Tuesday: Monday, Oak Hill vs. Fairfield, 6:15 p.m., Manchester vs. Waterford, 8:00 p.m. (Winners return on March 14th at Noon for the championship game). Tuesday, Western vs. Eastern Meigs, 6:15 p.m., Racine Southern vs. Sciotoville, 8:00 p.m. (Winners return on March 14th at 2:00 p.m. for the championship game)
Division II District Boys Basketball, Convo in Athens, Friday: Chillicothe vs. Marietta, 6:15 p.m., Logan Elm vs. Hillsboro, 8:15 p.m.
Monday, March 9 – First official practice for Ohio’s spring sports: For the sweet sixteen gals and the top 32 boys in each division, the ball will continue to bounce for a little longer. For everyone else, it is springtime.