No March is complete without a nice Cinderella story, and Buckeye Trail is wearing that slipper. BT entered the postseason 7-13, but has rattled off four wins to make the D-IV boys Athens Regional tournament. As for girls hoops, River View and Oak Hill will represent the Southeast in Columbus this weekend.
There have definitely been upsets throughout the month of March, but when the district nets came down at the Convo this week, the well-known names such as Oak Hill, Chillicothe, Logan Elm, Piketon and North Adams all made their way to the Sweet 16.
Speaking of Oak Hill, the Oaks are still in line for a possible pair in this year’s Final Four. While the guys were finishing off a 32-22 district title win over Waterford, the Lady Oaks were busy punching their ticket to Columbus. In an all-southeast regional championship, Oak Hill defeated South Point 50-45 to capture the championship.
Also on the girls’ side, the Southeast Huddle will be sending River View to the Final Four in Division II. The Lady Bears are led by their outstanding star in Kari Daugherty. Daugherty, who is so well known for how she stuffs the offensive stat sheet, turned in the play of the night on the defensive end to lift River View to the Final Four.
Not all Cinderella stories have concluded. This week’s top team gives us a squad that has pulled off four straight upsets and still is not back to five-hundred overall, yet they are still heading to the Sweet 16.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Buckeye Trail, Boys Basketball: No March is complete without a nice Cinderella story. Buckeye Trail finished the regular season with just seven wins, and even with their four straight postseason wins, Trail heads to the Sweet 16 with just an 11-13 overall records. Regardless of what the win-loss statistic may read, Trail is just two wins shy of being a .500 basketball team heading to the Final Four.
The underdog Warriors punched their ticket Friday night by defeating Garaway, 37-31, to capture the Coshocton District championship. Trail disposed of Pioneer Valley Conference rivals Shenandoah and Fort Frye to win the sectional at Meadowbrook and then beat Martins Ferry in the district semifinals to earn the school’s first trip to the regional since 1995.
In the Garaway win, Trail was led by Greg Strasser with 11 points, eight rebounds, and three assists, and Bob Beros added 10 points.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Piketon’s Jordan Brabson, Boys’ Basketball: The senior forward gives the Southeast Huddle its first repeat winner. Just one game after joining the 1,000 point career mark, Brabson scored 32 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead his Redstreaks to a 78-71 win over SVC rival Westfall. Brabson is averaging just less than 30 ppg. during his team’s tournament run that now extends to the Sweet 16.
NEWS, NOTES, & NUGGETS
River View captures third regional in four years: Kari Daugherty’s block shot and two free throws secured a 39-36 regional final win for the River View Lady Bears over nearby rival West Holmes. Daugherty scored 20 points and Karly Jones added 13 points.
A Big Red Resignation: Charles Davis turned in his resignation to the Bellaire Local School district as girls’ basketball coach after a seven-year stint. Davis mentioned several reasons, but opportunities to watch his grandson participate in sports as well as his youngest son, Nate, continues his pursuit of a NFL career after three years at Ball State. Davis’s most successful year came in 2006 when he guided the Lady Big Reds to the OVAC Class 3-A title with current Fairmont State junior Ashley Vavrek leading the way.
Bobcats to Athens: The Cambridge Bobcats of the East Central Ohio League defeated league rival New Philadelphia by the score of 57-41. The victory gives them a district title and the trip to Athens. Cambridge was led by Ryan Hatmaker and Kyle Cox with 12 points each while Winston Turner scored nine and Thomas Norris had eight.
Redstreaks to Regionals: The Piketon Redstreaks boys’ basketball team defeated fellow SVC foe Westfall for the third time this season to capture the Division III district championship with a 78-71 win. Senior Jordan Brabson continued his fine postseason play scoring 32 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. Cody Smith added 17 points and pulled down nine boards while sophomore point guard Evan Legg chipped in with 12 points and dished out eight assists.
For Westfall, who did share the SVC championship with Piketon, Tyler Kritsch scored 18 points while pulling down a game-high 19 rebounds. Fellow seniors Tyler Cobb, Bryant Gibson, and Tyler Burleson all scored in double-figures as well with 15, 12, and 10 points respectively.
Winless week for Waterford: After good seasons for both the boys and girls basketball teams at Waterford, the season came to an end for both this week. For the boys’ team, the career of their outstanding center D.J. Cunningham comes to an end with a 32-22 loss to Oak Hill. On the girls’ side, the Lady Wildcats fell to last year’s state runner-up Africentric 61-48. Sina King scored 21 points in the loss as her Lady Wildcats ended the season at 21-3.
State Bound: The Lady Pointers of South Point (23-3) scored the first 11 points Saturday, but Oak Hill (25-1) responded for a 50-45 win to advance to the Final Four. Rebecca Puckett and Karrisa Adkins scored 12 points while Lakin Caudill added 10 to pace the Oaks. Jalynn Bradburn scored a game-high 18 points to lead the Lady Pointers. Kayla Fletcher scored 14 points and recorded five steals.
Ready for Rematch: Defending state champ Chillicothe and perhaps this year’s favorite in Logan Elm both enjoyed rather easy victories in the district finals. Chillicothe got 21 points from Michael Turner and 16 from Caleb Knights as the Cavs beat Marietta 57-39. In game two, Logan Elm defeated Hillsboro 65-47. The Braves were led by their outstanding duo of Brandon Amman and Tim Congrove. The two combined for 38 points in the win.
Unger Pressure: With his undefeated North Adams team facing elimination, Kraig Unger buried a deep three with his Green Devils trailing Zane Trace by three with less than a minute to play. The game would eventually head to overtime with North Adams prevailing 56-50.
Junior Kirk Maxwell was the only Zane Trace player in double-figures. Maxwell ended with 24 points as his Pioneers finish the season at 14-10.
Tornado Watch: In an all-TVC Hocking Division district championship, the Tornadoes of Racine Southern defeated their fellow TVC rival Reedsville Eastern 47-33 to advance to the Sweet 16 in the Division IV Boys’ tournament.
Oak Hill vs. Versailles, Girls Basketball Division III Final Four – Thursday, March 19th – Session 2 at 8:00 p.m., Value City Arena: This year’s Final Four will not take place without representation from the southeast. Oak Hill of the Southern Ohio Conference defeated South Point – a team from the Ohio Valley Conference which is also in the southeast district – 50-45 in last week’s regional championship to advance.
Piketon vs. North Adams & Buckeye Trail vs. Grandview Heights, Boys Basketball Division III Regional Semifinal – Wednesday, March 18th, the Convo in Athens: When the brackets came out a few weeks back, the match-up that many fans were eyeing was this clash between the undefeated Green Devils of North Adams (23-0) and the 22-2 Piketon Redstreaks.
Chillicothe vs. Logan Elm, Boys Basketball Division II Regional Semifinal – Thursday, March 19th, the Convo in Athens: Just as people anticipated the D-III match-up mentioned above, fans have been waiting on this as well. Chillicothe knocked Logan Elm out last season on its way to the D-II state title, but in the first meeting this season, it was Logan Elm winning on Chillicothe’s home floor.
Oak Hill vs. Racine Southern, Boys Basketball Division IV Regional Semifinal – Tuesday, March 17th, the Convo in Athens: Oak hill will try to join the girls’ team in the state tournament. First-up in regional play is Tri Valley Conference Hocking Division member in the Tornadoes of Racine Southern.
River View vs. Wapakoneta, Girls Basketball Division II Final Four – Friday, March 20th – 1 p.m., Value City Arena: Kari Daugherty and her Lady Bears take the Final Four stage for the third time in four years.