While most sports were out on the track or the baseball diamond enjoying
this week’s fine spring weather, there were still a few elite teams
from the southeast making history on the hardwood.
While most sports were out on the track or the baseball diamond enjoying this week’s fine spring weather, there were still a few elite teams from the southeast making history on the hardwood. Two southeast teams represented the area at the girls’ state tournament, while boys’ teams in D-II, D-III, and D-IV were trying to punch their tickets for the upcoming week. One of the runs stopped just short of Columbus ending a perfect season for a Division IV squad, but in Division II and Division III, a pair of squads earned their spot at the Schott with solid regional performances.
These solid performances are where we start this week with our top awards. As for the top team, we head all the way down to the Ohio Valley Conference to find a team that has finally found their way to Columbus. As for the top individual, we honor a Devil that was outstanding in a pair of regional wins.
Obviously, postseason basketball is at the top of the news, but there were several other things worthy of note. We had one legendary coach deciding to call it quits while other schools were naming their new coaches. We also had some talented athletes from the SEOAL decide where they would be playing at the next level.
TEAM OF THE WEEK
Chesapeake Boys’ Basketball: The Chesapeake Panthers are heading to the Division III Final Four. The purple and white secured their spot at the Schott with a 63-47 win over Ironton in Saturday night’s regional final at the Convo in Athens. The ‘Peake never trailed in this game on their way to their first regional title. Austin McCaster led the winners with 19 points while Nathan Copley added 15 points.
In the loss, Ironton was led by a pair of freshman as Trey Fletcher scored 12 points and Zac Carter finished with 10 points. The big story for Chesapeake on the defensive end was their ability to hold Tim Kochendoerfer to just seven points.
The two teams advanced to this final with Chesapeake squeaking by Sugarcreek Garaway 52-51 and Ironton beating Eastern Brown 78-48.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Tanner Gibson, Zanesville Boys’ Basketball: Tanner Gibson scored 22 points in Saturday’s 51-45 regional championship win over Columbus DeSales. Gibson’s performance helped lift the Blue Devils back to the Final Four for the first time since 1997. Gibson was also Zanesville’s leading scoring in their semifinal win over Carrollton. In that win, Gibson had 14 points, grabbed six rebounds, and dished out five assists.
NEWS, NOTES, & NUGGETS
Dancing Devils: The Blue Devils of Zanesville beat Columbus DeSales 51-45 to secure their spot in the Division II dance this week in Columbus. Tanner Gibson led Zanesville with 22 points. Allen Harris and Raheem Foreman were both in double figures as well with 13 and 10 points respectively. Zanesville advanced to the regional final with a 46-40 win over Carrollton earlier in the week.
A Step Short for Shadyside: The Shadyside Tigers entered this week’s regional tournament still perfect, and in round one, they remained that way beating McDonald 65-49. Justin Andes knocked down five triples on his way to 19 points while teammates Nick Schuetz and Dylan Kimble were also in double figures with 12 and 11 points respectively. This battle of perfect teams marked the first time in 33 years that Shadyside had been a part of the Sweet 16, and with this win, the Tigers would return over the weekend for a chance to head to the Final Four.
Unfortunately, the return trip to Canton did not go as well. Shadyside dropped a final decision for the first time this season as they fell to Bedford St. Peter Chanel 50-44. Heath Brooks led the Tigers with 16 points and Schuetz added 14 points, but Andes was held without a point and Kimble scored only four points. Uncharacteristically of the Tigers (25-1), the orange and black turned it over 20 times and did not hit a triple.
Unbalanced Charity: In the first ever trip to the Final Four for the Lady Panthers of Miami Trace, the charity stripe proved to be the difference in a 57-46 loss. Both MT and their semifinal opponent, Kettering Alter, converted on 17 field goals; however, the Lady Panthers were a perfect 8-8 from the line while Alter was 20-26. All-Ohioan Jenna Cobb capped off her great career for Miami Trace (24-2) with a 21 point performance. Ashley Lawson added 11 points for the Lady Panthers.
Ironton Falls at Final Four: The Lady Tigers of Ironton fell to Middletown Madison 50-43 in the semifinal round of last week’s D-III State Tournament. Ironton overcame a slow start to trail by just four at the half. The Lady Tigers continued to fight back in the third quarter as they cut the lead to one, but they never could grab the lead. A late second half surge from the Mohawks put the game away. Nikki Elswick led the Lady Tigers with 14 points. Lorna Ceaser added 11 points.
Heartbreaking Loss: This past Tuesday night saw the final Division IV team in the southeast district fall from the tournament. The valiant comeback effort of Manchester fell short as the Greyhounds lost to Tree of Life 48-47. Manchester was led in the loss by sophomore Travis Combs with 14 points.
Jordan Resigns at Jackson: One of Ohio’s best basketball coaches of all time – Larry Jordan – has submitted his letter of resignation to the Jackson High School administration. Jordan’s Jackson squad went 9-11 this past season. The legendary coach currently owns a career record of 583-303 with 535 of those wins coming at Southeastern High School.
Netter to Toledo: Chillicothe linebacker Shay Netter announced this week that he will play his college football at Toledo. Netter cited Toledo’s coaching staff and their need for linebackers as the deciding factors over Ohio University.
Eagles Turn to Adams: The Belpre High School football program is turning to a familiar face to try to return the program’s once-proud tradition back to Belpre. Greg Adams, a football standout at Belpre in the 70’s, was hired this week to be the next head coach. Belpre was in the playoffs just three years ago, but since has gone through some tough years including a 0-10 season this past fall.
Other Blue Devils in the News: With the Final Four run of Zanesville stealing several headlines in the east, there was another significant story from Zanesville High School this week. Zanesville’s throwing tandem of Jordan Paul and Emily Suciu both signed this week to continue their track careers at Akron.
Chesapeake vs. Lima Central Catholic, Division III State Semifinal, Thursday, March 25th, Ohio State University’s Jerome Schottenstein Center 10:45 a.m. Bright and early tip for the Chesapeake Panthers as head coach Ryan Davis and his squad will be members of the Final Four for the first time in school history. Their opponent…Lima Central Catholic who advanced with an overtime win over Plymouth.
Zanesville vs. Port Clinton, Division II State Semifinal, Thursday, March 25th, Ohio State University’s Jerome Schottenstein Center 8:30 p.m. Next up for Zanesville will be a semifinal battle with Port Clinton who defeated Celina in the Bowling Green regional to advance.