Southeast Ohio Huddle: Wheelersburg records huge tournament upset


Southeast Ohio Huddle

Even though the snow on the ground wouldn’t allow you to believe it,
high school baseball and softball did start pitchers/catchers this past
week. It will still be several weeks before we start talking about
spring sports, but that is not a problem because we have plenty of
postseason action from our winter sports.

Even though the snow on the ground wouldn’t allow you to believe it, high school baseball and softball did start pitchers/catchers this past week. It will still be several weeks before we start talking about spring sports, but that is not a problem because we have plenty of postseason action from our winter sports.

Wrestling is now set to take the stage at Ohio State University this weekend. This week’s article highlights some of those wrestlers from the southeast and explains the times for the state meet.

There were several basketball headlines for both boys and girls as we had blowouts, upsets, and some great finishes this week. The boys have completed sectional play for the most part while girls are just about set to play for district championships.

Postseason always gives us a chance to honor seniors in their final career games. Many elite seniors have pushed their team to play on; however, there were a few elite players that have seen their career come to an end.

Basketball is where we find our top honors this week, and we actually look at one major upset and one major reason for that upset. So here we go, we start with this shocker where a defending state champion had their season come to an end much earlier than expected.


Wheelersburg Boys’ Basketball: Wheelersburg has provided fans with the first major upset of the postseason. Oak Hill, who is the defending D-IV state champion but playing in D-III this season, was looking to beat SOC rival Wheelersburg for the third time; however, round three belonged to the Pirates as the ‘Burg defeated the undefeated Oaks 57-51 to capture the sectional title.

Oak Hill, who was led by their outstanding senior Kyle Ondera with 26 points, led by as much as 12 points in the fourth quarter, but Wheelersburg battled back thanks to an unbelievable performance from Andrew Bendolph. Bendolph’s great game is described below in our Player of the Week section. Andy Stegman also played well for the Pirates scoring 13 points and pulling down 18 rebounds.


Andrew Bendolph, Wheelersburg Basketball: In the game of the week described above, we found our top individual effort as well. Wheelersburg’s Andrew Bendolph scored 33 points, while hitting seven three-pointers and grabbing 10 rebounds. Four of Bendolph’s triples came in the fourth quarter to lead his team back from a 12-point deficit.


Prezzia, Kinemond, Faykus, and Crooks headline state qualifiers: St. Clairsville’s Dom Prezzia captured the district title to qualify for state. He will be joined by teammates Seth Callarik and Dillon Nolte as well. Westfall’s Vincent Prickett, who lost to Prezzia in the final, will also be heading to Columbus.

Chase Kinemond, a district champion as just a freshman, will be joined by teammate Aaron Silverio to represent Shadyside at the state level. Martins Ferry will send two as Jeffrey Oberdick and Scott Kaiser both advanced and River’s qualified just one with Josh Bartrug making the cut.

Bellaire is sending a trio of wrestlers. District champion Sam Faykus qualified as well as teammates Bobby Bennett and Jesse Dobson. Barnesville will be sending two wrestlers. Kody Crooks, a district champion in the weight class of 160-pounds, and teammate Kurtis Jefferis both qualified for the Shamrocks.

Ladies are Convo-bound:
With the district finals being hosted at the beautiful Convocational Center at Ohio University, several girls’ teams were trying to punch their ticket this week. In Division II, McClain continued to play well defeating Sheridan 60-45. In the other semifinal, Miami Trace knocked out top-seed Marietta in overtime 52-43.

In Division III, Adena avenged a regular season loss to Valley as Autumn Smith scored 17 points in a 46-30 win. Undefeated Oak Hill continued their perfect ways beating a solid Eastern Brown team 51-40. The other D-III games still haven’t been played. Check out this week’s On Tap section for all the details and look below at the next nugget to read about Division IV.

Cook’s Outstanding Career Continues:
Continuing the Convo-bound theme – South Webster’s Kayla Cook scored 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as her Lady Jeeps pounded top-seed New Boston 55-35 in last week’s Division IV district semifinal at Jackson. Their next opponent will be Eastern Meigs. Eastern beat Leesburg Fairfield 58-49 to advance. Rounding out the D-IV semifinals, it was Waterford hammering Paint Valley 70-37 and Portsmouth Clay beat Eastern Pike 40-35.

Other than the upset…Ironton, Chesapeake, and Valley Advance:
Other than the Wheelersburg upset, three other teams advanced from the Jackson sectional. Ironton, the regular season SEOAL champion, beat Coal Grove 60-35. Chesapeake defeated South Point 47-35. This was the third time this season the Panthers had beaten the Pointers. Lastly, Lucasville Valley outlasted Portsmouth 63-62 to advance.

D-III Boys at Waverly:
The crowded D-III bracket in the southeast started to play itself out this week. At Waverly, one of three sites in this year’s sectional, most of the games were lopsided as expected. Top-seed Peebles beat North Adams 70-45. Piketon, the two-seed, beat West Union 79-56, and Eastern Brown eliminated Westfall 60-35. In fairness to Westfall, they were winning this game by two at halftime and they were playing without their all-league center Zak Smith who missed with a broken hand.

The one highlighted game that did play out as advertised was the four-five match-up between Huntington and Northwest. Northwest defeated Huntington 58-48. Huntington was within two of the Mohawks late, but Hank Leslie’s 29 points was way too much for the Huntsmen to overcome.

Zane Trace now the team to beat? With Oak Hill out, many feel Zane Trace is playing as well as anyone. Don’t forget about Peebles, who did beat Zane Trace this year, but ZT did advance with a sectional championship win over Crooksville. The top-seeded Pioneers beat the Ceramics 59-46. In other action at Athens High School, Belpre outlasted Fairland in double-overtime 68-66, and then two more TVC Ohio teams joined Belpre as Alexander and Nelsonville York both captured sectional titles.

Chillicothe heavyweight wrestler Danny Demick recorded a second-place finish at Goshen High School to earn a spot in the state tournament. Three Athens wrestlers will also be making the trip as Josh Dingess, John Lazear, and Joey Young all qualified. Also from the Tri Valley Conference, Zach Hook, Thomas McLaughlin, Dakota Hook, and Bobby Leitwien are heading to Columbus to represent the Buckeyes of Nelsonville York. River View’s Brodie Scherer and Ian Kelton both advanced as did Zack Cantrell, Jacob Bresciani, and Layton Graves of Coshocton. Chesapeake’s Shane Pelfrey also will be representing the southeast in Columbus.

Loaded Field:
Just an amazing line-up of sectional championships was going to send multiple 15, 16, and even 17-win teams home short of district play in this year’s D-II tournament. At Southeastern, Waverly came from behind to beat Chillicothe 45-43. For Waverly in the win, sophomore Jake Kretzer led the way with 20 points. In the other final at Southeastern, Washington Court House defeated Hillsboro 58-41.

Over at Logan High School, Vinton County had to beat a 15-win Sheridan team just to make the final. In that final, the Vikings fell to Logan Elm 36-32. In the other half of the bracket, Warren defeated Athens 55-53. The top five seeds in this sectional end the season with 15 or more wins.

More Sectional Winners:
We have covered the entire southeast district, but as we move to the eastern part of the southeast huddle area, we find that John Glenn got 22 points from Jake Heagen as the Muskies rolled over Morgan 62-37. Bishop Rosecrans rolled to a win in Division IV. Steubenville and West Muskingum both won on late buckets to advance, and Barnesville also recorded a win in the postseason.

Tough Treading for Tri Valley:
Tournament time is always a tough time for Tri Valley as they are shipped off to the central as a Division I team. The girls are still alive as they beat Columbus Whetstone 75-17 and Thomas Worthington 60-31, but the boys lost to Columbus Independence 50-45.


The place to be this week if you love southeast hoops is The Convo in Athens. All of the following tournament games are on tap this week.

Girls’ Basketball District Championships
Division IV – Wednesday, March 3rd
6:15 = South Webster vs. Eastern Meigs
8:15 = Waterford vs. Portsmouth Clay
Division II – Friday, March 5th
5:00 = McClain vs. Miami Trace
Division III – Saturday, March 6th
5:00 = Oak Hill vs. Adena
7:00 = North Adams/Trimble (this game was ppd. due to weather) vs. Alexander
9:00 = Zane Trace/Wheelersburg vs. Ironton/Lynchburg-Clay (these two games are played at Waverly on Monday, March 1st with the winners meeting at The Convo)

Boys’ Basketball District Semifinals
Division II – Friday, March 5th
6:15 = Logan Elm vs. Waverly
8:00 = Warren vs. Washington Court House
Division III – Sunday, March 7th
2:00 = Wheelersburg vs. Belpre
3:45 = Alexander vs. Eastern Brown
5:30 = Zane Trace vs. Northwest
7:15 = Piketon vs. Chesapeake
*Peebles/Lucasville Valley & Ironton/Nelsonville York will be played Monday, March 8th at 6:15 & 8:00
Division IV = Still in sectional play this week at Wellston & Lucasville Valley – will not be in district play at The Convo until next week

Wrestling State Tournament:
Ohio State University (Schottenstein Center); Thursday, March 4th – Saturday, March 6th
*Action starts at 3 p.m. on Thursday and at 10 a.m. on Friday & Saturday

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