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February 2009 | Springfield, Ohio Sports
 

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February 2009

Central’s McHugh swims to state title

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Catholic Central senior Pat McHugh won the Division II state championship this afternoon, Feb. 28, in the 100-yard backstroke at the Branin Natatorium in Canton.

McHugh’s time of 50.78 seconds is a state record in D-II because this is the first year the boys have swam in two divisions. He narrowly beat Canfield’s Ryan King (50.90).

McHugh finished fifth in the state as a junior.

“For years now really, it’s been what I’ve been working for,” said McHugh on a cell phone on the way back to Springfield. “It’s crazy to think about all the hours, all the work, that it all came down to this.”

“I can’t imagine a more well-deserving young man or woman,” Central coach Steve Neely said. “He has worked so very hard. Watching him swim yesterday and today, all those years of training, I’ve never seen a more determined swimmer. He just really went after it. He wasn’t going to be denied.”

Springfield YMCA swimmer Margo Geer of Fairbanks High School won the 50 free and 200 free.

Lauren Funk of Kenton Ridge finished second in the 50 free and third in the 200 free.

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Live updates, Urbana tournament game

9:19 p.m.: Tippecanoe wins 47-46. Urbana’s season is over with a 12-9 record.

9:15 p.m.: Ober missed the second shot and made the third. Another timeout. Tipp’s up 47-46.

9:15 p.m.: Urbana’s Shane Ober was fouled on a 3-point attempt. Urbana was down 47-44 at the time.

So Ober’s at the line to shoot three freebies with 1.5 seconds left. He made the first and Tipp called a timeout.

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Long wait finally over for SE girls

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MONROE — It’s been a long three years for the Southeastern girls basketball program.

Despite outstanding records and OHC titles, the Trojans failed to advance past the sectional final, falling to Cincinnati Seven Hills in 2007 and Fayetteville Perry last season.

But on Saturday, Feb. 28, the Trojans took care of business against Fayetteville, downing the Rockets 55-38 in a D-IV sectional final at Monroe High School.

Last year, the Trojans lost 44-41 to the Rockets. This year, Southeastern played more relaxed, said coach Jim Lightle.

“If you start a game fast, especially in the tournament, you usually end up staying with the team you’re playing,” Lightle said. “Last year, we didn’t do that. We were tenative. I thought the seniors did a great job of stepping up. We’ve been asking them to do that and they did today.”

Seniors Amanda Harvey and Katie Banion each had 11 points, while Amber Hayslip had six points. Lightle said Banion’s play was key against Fayetteville.

“It feels great,” Lightle said. “(Banion) stepped up and decided to play. We were able to get the ball inside to Amanda and Amber. (Amber) Rice hit enough to keep them honest. It’s a lot better feeling than last year.”

The Trojans (18-4) advanced to play Houston (16-7), a 40-36 winner over Russia on Saturday, in a D-IV district final game at Vandalia Butler’s Student Activities Center on Saturday, March 7 at a time to be determined.

“Everything from now on is gravy,” Lightle said. “We’ll see how we play. If we execute against pressure, execute our offense and get the ball where we need to get it and if they do what we ask them to execute our game plan, anything could happen. Houston’s a great team and the Shelby County League is tough. We’ll see how we match up against them.

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On this date in area sports history …

Twelve years ago on this date, Feb. 28, 1997, the Catholic Central boys basketball team recorded its third sectional title in a row, beating top-seeded Southeastern. Complete story on the jump.

SHUTTE SHOOTS IRISH INTO DISTRICT FINAL

By Matt Thompson, News-Sun Sports Writer

DAYTON — Friday afternoon, the day after Catholic Central’s biggest upset of the season, Irish Coach Josh Leslie held a relatively informal practice after school.

The workout was light … the message Leslie delivered afterward was not.

“Think about how good you feel right now,” he told his players. “As good as you feel now, if you lose tonight, it’s all over.”

Point taken.

Indeed, the Irish showed anything but a letdown after Thursday’s upset of top-seeded Southeastern, coasting to a 62-45 victory over Dayton Jefferson in a Division IV sectional final at University of Dayton Arena Friday night.

It was Central’s third sectional title in as many years and sends the defending Division IV state champion into a divisional final game against Cincinnati Seven Hills at 6:30 p.m. Friday at UD. Seven Hills beat Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy, 68-53, Friday.

Still, Leslie was not much in the mood to celebrate after the game, despite the fact his team never trailed and was never truly challenged by the misfiring Broncos.

He was more in the mood to talk about the Irish shortcomings, which among other things he listed was a tendency to give up lots of second shots.

“Right now, we’re a horrible boxing-out team,” said Leslie, whose team improves to 8-14. “We were sloppy.”

To an extent, that’s true. But the Irish were somewhat limited, particularly in the first half, when 6-foot-4 Matt Talbott, one of the team’s biggest bodies, was sent to the bench with two quick fouls. When Talbott returned to the lineup the second half, he managed to pull down seven rebounds, put on some inside pressure and helped limit Jefferson’s second chances.

In the interim, Central can thank the fates for senior guard Pat Shutte, who hit his first four three-pointers — on his way to a game-high 24 points — as the Irish built up a 27-15 halftime lead.

“He had it going,” Leslie said of Shutte. “The last five or six games, he’s been shooting the ball extremely well.”

Central opened the second half with a 12-4 run, then dropped things down a gear through the later stages, milking the clock as much as possible the final 10 minutes or so.

“(We were) not so much stalling,” Leslie said, “but when you’re up 20 points, the clock’s on your side.”

Meanwhile, Jefferson just couldn’t get anything to fall. The Broncos — despite taking the majority of their shots almost directly under the basket — shot just 34 percent for the game, missing all 10 of their three-point attempts.

Chris Wells added 13 for Central, while Donte Dubose came off the bench to lead the Broncos, 9-13, with 15 points.

DAYTON JEFFERSON (45) — Gooden 0-0 0-0 0, Hall 0-5 0-0 0, Mitchell 2-6 0-0 4, Shackleford 3-17 1-2 7, McDougle 4-8 1-2 9, Glover 2-7 0-0 4, Dubose 7-13 1-1 15, Parker 3-5 0-0 6. Totals: 21-61 3-5 45.

CATHOLIC CENTRAL (62) — Shutte 7-12 5-5 24, Wells 6-13 1-4 13, Brandewie 3-4 2-2 8, Moore 1-3 4-4 6, Ma. Talbott 2-7 4-6 8, Mi. Talbott 1-3 0-1 3, Federer 0-1 0-0 0, Doane 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 20-44 16-22 62.

 Dayton Jefferson 8  15  25   45

 Catholic Central14  27  43   62

Three-point goals: Dayton Jefferson 0-10, Catholic Central 6-10 (Shutte 5, Mi. Talbott)

Records: Dayton Jefferson 9-13, Catholic Central 8-14

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Creamer: Win over Trojans rejuventated Jets

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They will be big underdogs in the next round against No. 1 seed Anna, but the sectional tournament has already been a success for the Northeastern boys basketball team.

They beat Greeneview 53-47 on Friday after losing twice to the Rams in the regular season.

“We have played with a ton of composure over the last three weeks of basketball after playing with none for the first three months,” coach Kregg Creamer said. “To say that I could put a finger on the one thing that made us change, I’d be a lier. But our seniors are giving us good leadership. We’re mixing in a couple of sophomores with them, and they’re giving us great energy off the bench.”

Northeastern has won four games in a row, a streak that started with two wins over Cedarville and continued with an upset of Southeastern.

“We played pretty good basketball in the two wins back to back over Cedarville,” Creamer said. “It’s tough to judge how well you’re doing things when the team you’re playing is maybe not quite as good as you are. Senior Night at home against Southeasern, we played with a a determination and a passion that we’ve continued to play with during this little tournament run.

“If we lose that game to Southeastern, we probably fold the tents on the season. You don’t have to be a genius to figure that out, but a big win on our home floor reenergized us, rejuvenated us.”

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Tipp girls oust Graham

Here’s a live blog from the Graham-Tipp girls basketball sectional final game:

9:52: Tippecanoe wins 61-33. They caused 29 Graham turnovers in the game.

9:31: It was more of the same in the third quarter. The Red Devils lead 46-23 after three quarters, causing 11 turnovers while holding the Falcons to just six points.

9:05: At the half, Tipp leads 35-17.

8:47: After one quarter, Tipp leads 20-5. The Red Devils outscored the Falcons 16-2 to end the period.

Breanna Stucke has nine points for Tippecanoe.

8:40: A 3-pointer by Leah Schiller gives Tippecanoe an 8-3 lead with 3:17 to play in the first quarter.

8:30: Packed house here at the SAC. All of Tipp City came out to see the D-II top-ranked Red Devils.

Here are the starting lineups for each team:

Tippecanoe: Jessica Plummer, Abby Dowd, Cassie Berning, Leah Schiller, Breanna Stucke.

Graham: Cristen Pullins, Lindsey Ward, Darcie Zirkle, Chelsea Black, Sydney Snapp.

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Live from KR-Carroll girls game

Here’s a live blog from the Kenton Ridge-Carroll girls basketball sectional final at Vandalia Butler:

7:40: It’s over. Carroll knocks out KR for the second year in a row with a 47-24 victory.

7:36: In the last five minutes, the Patriots have outscored KR 7-2. They lead 45-24 with one minute remaining.

7:27: Courtney Kremer just finished off an old-fashioned three-point play to give Carroll a 38-22 lead with six minutes to play.

7:23: After three quarters, Carroll leads 35-21. The Patriots scored just seven points in the quarter.

Kelley Austria has 14 points for Carroll.

7:00: At halftime, Carroll leads 28-13. The Patriots have eight 3-pointers in the half.

6:56: Make that eight 3-pointers. Austria has 12 points, all on 3-pointers, and the Patriots lead 28-13 with 43.1 seconds to go.

6:54: With 2:35 remaining, Carroll leads 24-13. The Patriots have seven three-pointers in the first half.

6:47: And just like that, Carroll takes a 14-9 lead with three 3-pointers in a row, one by Molly McGloin and two by Kelley Austria. There’s about five minutes remaining in the second quarter.

6:43: After one quarter, Carroll leads 5-3. Yes, that’s the correct score.

It’s been an ugly game for both teams. They’re playing great defense, but neither can put the ball in the hole.

6:28: We’re right on schedule here at the Vandalia Butler Student Activities Center. The refs just threw the ball for tip off.

Starting lineups: KR — Lonnie Lassitter, Saira House, Lindsey Fenwick, Mariah Harris, Carli Swartz.

Carroll — Molly McGloin, Kelley Austria, Megan Lange, Courtney Kremer, Caroline Kowal.

We’ll be updating after each quarter.

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Live from West Liberty-Salem vs. Anna game

7:42: Anna defeats West Liberty-Salem 61-32. Nate Bratka scored 14 for the Tigers.

7:31 p.m.: At the end of three quarters, No. 1 seed Anna leads West Liberty-Salem 49-18.

7:09: West Liberty-Salem trails Anna 38-12 at halftime.

6:48 p.m.: Anna leads the West Liberty-Salem boys 19-9 after the first quarter in this Division III sectional second-round game at UD Arena.

The winner takes on Northeastern a week from now, Friday, March 6, at 6:30 p.m., at UD Arena.

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Live updates from the Graham boys game

7:05 p.m.: Graham just beat Benjamin Logan 65-35 in a Division II sectional opener on Friday, Feb. 27.

The Falcons led throughout and were up big by the middle of the second quarter.

This was Graham’s first tournament game since going to the state tournament in 2008, and the Falcons’ fans responded with huge numbers.

Graham, No. 1 in the state and No. 1 in the sectional, will play Greenon, the No. 12 seed, on Monday, March 2, at 6 p.m. at Troy High School.

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Northeastern boys beat Greeneview in second round

This was our live blog from the Northeastern-Greeneview game.

6:10 p.m.: Northeastern just closed out a 53-47 victory over Greeneview in the second round of the Division III sectional boys tournament at UD Arena.

The final minutes featured a free-throw parade by the Jets, and they hit enough to avenge two regular-season losses to their OHC rivals.

Complete blog on the jump.

5:58: Nathan Hufford responds with a 3-pointer for Northeastern, its first points of the quarter. It leads by 43-40 with four minutes left.

5:57: The Jets are struggling. Reid Adkins just missed two free throws, and Northeastern hasn’t scored in the fourth quarter. Game still tied at 40.

5:53: The Rams have fought all the way back. A layup by Ronnie Drinnon at the 6:30 mark of the fourth quarter ties the game at 40.

5:50: The teams trade baskets in the final minute. Northeastern clings to a 40-38 lead after three quarters.

Both schools have come out to support these teams. Half of Northeastern’s student section is wearing white T-shirts with yellow number 6s on the front. We’ll see if the sixth man can help the Jets pull this one out.

5:48: Jordan Elzey of the Rams hits a long two-point jumper to pull his team within 38-36, forcing the Jets to call another time-out. It’s 38-36 Jets.

5:45 p.m.: Cody Dillon drains a 3-pointer for Greeneview, and the Rams trail 36-32 with 3:01 to go in the third.

5:43: Faster than you can OHC, it’s a game again. Northeastern just called time-out after the Rams cut their lead to 36-29 with 4:16 left in the third.

We have two animated coaches on the bench tonight. Kregg Creamer of the Jets and Bill Green of the Rams have almost used up their quota of fist pumps tonight.

5:39: Good advice from Northeastern coach Kregg Creamer in the first half, heard from across the court: “There’s nothing pretty about us. Make the simple play.

5:38: Blake West scores again on a jump shot from the baseline, and the Jets lead 36-22 with 6:30 left in the third quarter.

5:33: Both teams are back on the court for the second half.

The Rams swept the season series between the two OHC schools, 57-48 and 46-39. Both teams finished 9-5 in the OHC, tying for second place.

Eric Green has six points for the Rams at halftime. For the Jets, Blake West has 11. Mark Schwitzgable and Aaron Hartzell each have eight points.

5:30 p.m.: It’s halftime here at the Northeastern-Greeneview boys basketball Division IV sectional tournament game at UD Arena.

The Jets lead 33-22. Blake West has been hot from the field since getting his tooth knocked out with two minutes left in the first quarter. They found the tooth with no problem, and West missed the rest of the quarter.

Northeastern led by as much as 14 points in the first half. It’s been a fast-paced, entertaining second-round game.

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Daily Tournament Fix — Feb. 27

Here’s your daily tournament fix for Friday, Feb. 27:

Tonight’s Boys games: D-II - Graham vs. Indian Lake, 6 p.m., at Troy High School; D-III - Northeastern vs. Greeneview, 5 p.m., and West Liberty-Salem vs. Anna, 7:15, at UD Arena.

Tonight’s Girls games: D-II sectional finals - Kenton Ridge vs. Carroll, 6:30 p.m., and Graham vs. Tippecanoe, 8:30 p.m, at Vandalia Butler’s Student Activities Center.

Short Takes: The top-ranked Graham boys hoops team’s run back to the state tournament begins tonight. The Falcons are 43-1 over the last two seasons. Their lone loss came in the D-II state semifinal last March to Toledo Libbey and eventual Ohio Mr. Basketball William Buford. … Northeastern and Greeneview have played twice this season with the Rams winning both matchups. The Jets, however, have won 5 of their last 8 games, including a victory over D-IV No. 5 Southeastern. … West Liberty-Salem will have its hands full tonight against Anna. The Rockets beat them 65-35 on Feb. 7. After going 1-6 in January, the Tigers are 4-3 in February. … The KR girls team lost to Carroll 50-42 last season. The Patriots eventually advanced to the D-II regional final, falling to eventual state champion Alter. … The No. 1 ranked girls team in D-II, Tippecanoe, is allowing just 33.2 ppg. They beat Graham 76-38 in the second game of the year on Dec. 4. Falcons coach Christie Dodane has tons of tournament experience, guiding Miami East to the state final twice in her nine years at the helm.

Key player: Chelsea Black, Graham. Senior point guard and her teammates will have to protect the basketball against Tippecanoe’s swarming press. Black did a great job handling the ball and grabbing steals against Indian Lake on Monday. They’ll need that same kind of production against the Red Devils.

Live blogs: Keep an eye out for several live blogs from tonight’s games. I’ll be live-blogging both girls games, and we’ll likely do a few of the boys games.

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On this date in area sports history …

Fourteen years ago on this date, Feb. 27, 1995, the South boys basketball team defeated Tecumseh in the first round of the sectional tournament, ending the career of the Arrows’ star, Jon Stafford.

Stafford, the second-leading scorer in Tecumseh history behind Andy Arnott, would go on to score 1,053 points in his Wittenberg career. He is currently an assistant coach at Tecumseh.

Complete story on the jump.

SOUTH RETURNS FAVOR, KNOCKS OFF TECUMSEH

By Matt Thompson, News-Sun Sports Writer

FAIRBORN - Tecumseh’s Jon Stafford played a big part in eliminating South from the postseason last year.

This season, the Wildcats returned the favor, ending Stafford’s prep career in the process. South sent the senior out by taking a 77-63 decision Monday night in the opening round of the Division I sectionals in front of about 1,500 at Wright State’s Ervin J. Nutter Center.

Stafford, hampered by a back injury he suffered in the early minutes of the fourth quarter, left the game for good with less than a minute to go and the outcome no longer in doubt.

On his way to the bench, Stafford was intercepted by South’s John Carson, who stopped him and gave him a consoling hug.

“Me and Jon are real good friends,” said Carson, who picked himself up a triple-double with 17 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists. “I respect him. He comes out and plays hard every night, like I do.”

For a while, though, it looked like Stafford might have been the one doing the consoling. The senior poured in 22 of his 32 points during the first half alone, connecting on 10 of 13 shots, and leading the Arrows to a 32-29 lead at the break.

After that, though, a slow second-half start, and then the back injury, limited Stafford’s effectiveness. Teammate Brent Razor tried to pick up the slack, it wasn’t enough as South began to take control of all facets of the game.

“We controlled the tempo the first half really well,” said Macklin, whose team finishes the season at 12-9. “But the second half, we let them get out on the open floor. We just weren’t able to slow them down.”

A big part of that was Carson and junior Ajamu Gaines - who led all scorers with 33 points. Gaines dropped the game into fifth gear the last two periods, picking up 22 of his points in the second half.

Both Gaines and Carson made references to last year, when Tecumseh upset the Wildcats, 73-71, in the sectional opener round. Stafford, incidentally, scored 16 points for Tecumseh in that game.

“This week we just talked about last year, and we decided it wasn’t going to happen again,” Gaines said. “When we started off, not everybody was into it. The second half was much better.”

The lead changed hands five times in the third quarter, and though South went on a mini-run with 4:55 left, Tecumshe had enough left to crawl within three, 52-49, as the fourth period commenced.

Then, with 6:22 to play and his team down, 58-51, Stafford went hard at the basket, looking for a layup. He was bumped and fell hard on his back at the edge of the floor. No foul was called, and he was left to writhe on the floor as South grabbed the ball and went upcourt to score.

“I couldn’t hardly walk,” said Stafford, who had to be helped to the bench. “It was the worst feeling I’ve ever had. But I wanted to play. I started to see the game slipping away while I was out. I wanted to see if I could help.”

Within two minutes, Stafford was back out there, and with his help, the Arrows made one last run at the Wildcats, putting the score within five, 66-61, with just over two minutes to play.

But Gaines, who scored seven of his team’s last 11 points, was effective from the floor and the free-throw line (5 of 6 down the stretch) to put the game away.

Shannon Ferguson added 10 points for the Cats, who advance to play Beavercreek at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Razor, with 15 points, was the only other Arrow in double figures.

TECUMSEH (63) - Perry 1 0-1 2, Weber 3 2-2 8, Stafford 13 4-4 32, Razor 5 3-4 15, Leathley 1 0-0 2, Glass 0 0-0 0, Bunch 0 2-2 2, Craycraft 1 0-0 2, Moore 0 0-1 0. Totals: 24 11-14 63.

SOUTH (77) - Gaines 12 7-8 33, Stowers 2 0-0 4, Carson 6 4-5 17, Southers 2 0-0 4, Ferguson 5 0-1 10, Humphrey 0 0-0 0, Furman 4 0-0 8, Lloyd 0 1-2 1. Totals: 31 12-16 77.

Tecumseh 17 32 49 63 Home 12 29 52 77 Three-point goals: Tecumseh 4 (Stafford 2, Razor 2), South 3 (Gaines 2, Carson)

Records: Tecumseh 12-9, South 10-11

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Jets finally playing to expectations

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Kregg Creamer has done all the research he can possibly do on the Northeastern boys basketball program. His information shows the Jets hadn’t won a boys basketball tournament game in 18 years.

“To the best of my knowledge, I’ve been able to come up with the date of 1991,” Creamer said. “I’m not willing to put that in stone, but that’s I’ve been able to come up with.”

Until Wednesday. The Jets beat Carlisle, the SWBL Buckeye Division champs, 71-51 in a Division III first round sectional tournament game at UD Arena.

“They played the way we thought they’d play all season,” Creamer said.

The Jets have won five of their last eight games, including a 56-54 of OHC champion Southeastern, a victory which kept a team from going unbeaten in the league for the first time since 2001-02.

“Unfortunately it took us 19 games to get there,” Creamer said. “We’re playing with much more consistency. We underachieved for 19 games and now we’re playing like we expected to.”

The Jets will play Greeneview, which beat them twice in the regular season, in a D-III second round game at UD Arena at 5 p.m. Friday. Both teams finished second in the OHC with 9-5 records.

“We’re very pleased with that opportunity,” Creamer said. “The familiarity is good, especially when there is only one day of prep. It’s unfortunate that we have to go down there and play against each other. We’d like to see the OHC teams go as far as possible in the tournament.”

The Jets have just one day to prepare, but Creamer sees positives in getting back on the court early.

“For us, it would be nice to give them somewhat of a day off to prepare for the next opponent,” Creamer said. “We don’t have that luxury. But we were playing 2 to 3 games a week down the stretch anyway, so we’re used to it.

“On the flip side, it’s somewhat to our advantage because we’ve got a familiarity with that floor,” Creamer said. “Maybe that comfort zone will help us a little bit.”

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Daily Tournament Fix — Feb. 26

Here’s your daily tournament fix for Thursday, Feb. 26:

Tonight’s games: None. The area resumes play in both boys and girls basketball starting tomorrow night.

Key player:A.J. Tolliver, Emmanuel Christian. The junior guard nailed two free throws with six seconds remaining to give the Lions beat Mississinawa Valley 46-44 for their first tournament win since 2004.

Even bigger win: Northeastern beat Southwest Buckeye League Buckeye Division champion Carlisle 71-51 for their first tournament victory in 18 years, according to Jets coach Kregg Creamer.

They’ll play Greeneview for the third time this season. The Rams beat them twice, including a 57-48 victory on Dec. 19 and a 46-39 victory on Jan. 23.

No repeat: The last time Newton played Southeastern in a D-IV first round tournament game in 2001, they upset the 18-2 Trojans.

It wasn’t happening this year. Southeastern, ranked fifth in D-IV, jumped out of the gates early en route to a 71-49 victory.

Lookahead: There are three sectional final girls basketball games this weekend. On Friday, KR plays Carroll (who ousted them in same game last year) in one final at 6 p.m., while Graham takes on top-ranked Tippecanoe in another sectional final at 8:30 p.m.

On Saturday, Southeastern faces Fayetteville-Perry (the alma mater of SNS sports writer David Jablonski) in a D-IV sectional final at Monroe High School at Noon. The Rockets also beat Southeastern in the sectionals last season.

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On this date in area sports history …

Fifteen years ago on this date, Feb. 26, 1994, the 26-0 Wittenberg men’s basketball team suffered its first loss of the season, to Kenyon in the NCAC tournament final. It was the first career loss for first-year head coach Bill Brown, whose team went on to finish third in the NCAA tournament.

Complete story on the jump.

WU UNBEATEN NO MORE

KENYON DEALS TIGERS DEFEAT IN NCAC FINAL

By Rob Oller, Sports Writer

DELAWARE, Ohio - The only noise coming from Wittenberg’s lockerroom was the showers running - the sound of perfection being washed away.

The Tigers’ unblemished 26-0 record took an uppercut Saturday night, and as the players quietly dressed, their lone consolation was that their first loss wasn’t automatically their last.

“I don’t want our players to forget about the 26 and dwell on the one loss,” WU Coach Bill Brown said after Kenyon upended the Tigers, 84-78, before 2,050 in the championship game of the North Coast Athletic Conference tournament at Ohio Wesleyan University.

It was a bad night for unbeatens, as the nation’s only other undefeated men’s team, Indiana, Pa., was upset by California, Pa.

“In some ways this is a blessing in disguise,” Brown added, optimistically. “If we don’t make the needed corrections, then our next loss would keep us from a big, big goal.”

That objective - winning the NCAA Division III championship - remains alive, as Wittenberg will receive an invitation tonight to the 40-team tournament, which begins Thursday. The Tigers also likely will be the No. 1 seed in the Great Lakes Region and should host a second round contest next Saturday.

Kenyon, 24-3, receives an automatic berth after winning its first conference tournament in school history. The Lords also will probably host a second round game. Their thoughts Saturday night, however, were not on the future but the present - knocking off the top-seeded and No. 1 team in the country.

“We had our shots against some top-ranked teams and took our licks,” remarked tournament most valuable player Chris Donovan, referring to two regular-season losses to Wittenberg and another to No. 2 ranked Franklin & Marshall, Pa. “We wanted to prove we could beat these teams.”

The proof came early and late. The Lords, who ended Wittenberg’s season on this floor last year in the NCAC tournament semifinals, the Tigers last loss before Saturday, outscored WU 12-2 in the last 2:53 to secure the victory.

Wittenberg led, 76-72 with 2:53 showing when Donovan hit the biggest shot of his career, a three-pointer from the top of the arc to cut it to 76-75 at 2:38. The bucket capped an impressive rally by the 6-foot-8 junior, who finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds after being held to six points and four boards the first half.

It was Donovan’s two three-point plays just 40 seconds apart that brought the Lords back from a 70-63 deficit with 4:43 remaining to a 72-69 margin at 4:03.

It also was superior rebounding. Kenyon gained a 43-29 advantage on the glass, the first time Wittenberg was beaten there this year.

“Coach got in my face at halftime and told me it was my worst half of the season,” Donovan said, smiling. The lanky forward explained that after forcing shots against Wittenberg’s tough defense the first half, he “let it flow” after intermission.

It helped Kenyon that WU senior forward Luke Ragan, who helped hold Donovan to 18 points and eight boards in the previous two meetings, only played 12 minutes because of a hip injury he suffered in Friday’s semifinal win over Ohio Wesleyan.

Donovan also supplied big plays defensively, After his three-pointer cut it to 76-75, he blocked a shot by point guard Anthony Robinson and the Lords tied it at 76-all on a Che’ Smith free throw at 1:57.

Kenyon missed a chance to pull ahead when Ken Danzinger missed two free throws with 47 ticks showing, but Donovan pulled down a huge offensive rebound off the second miss and was fouled by Robinson.

Donovan gave the Lords the lead for good on a pair of free throws with 46 ticks showing and it then became a foul shooting contest.

Wittenberg senior Matt Croci missed a chance to tie it when his leaning 15-footer banged off the rim and the Tigers were forced to foul when Kenyon cradled the rebound. Danzinger, who tossed in 12 points, buried both freebies to push the lead to 80-76 with 27 seconds left, but Robinson sank two foul shots 10 seconds later to draw WU to within 80-78.

Wittenberg fouled again and Danzinger hit two free throws for a 82-78 cushion at 0:12. Croci missed a three at 0:05 and Andrew Miller tallied the last of his 16 points with two free throws to end the thriller.

Brown was disappointed that the WU offense broke apart down the stretch. The Tigers appeared hurried and didn’t execute motion plays to their completion.

“A couple of people just wanted to get it done so bad … it’s not often that kind of attitude hurts you in the long run, but sometimes in the short run it does,” he explained.

The Tigers may have thought they couldn’t miss after their hot-shooting stretch the first half led to a 46-43 lead at intermission. They needed the strong shooting to get back in it.

Kenyon stormed to a 18-9 lead after five minutes and led 28-14 at 11:23 after hitting 12 of their first 14 shots.

Wittenberg, facing its largest deficit of the season, then showed why it had a goose egg on the right side of its record. Aaron Perry, who finished with 12 points, buried a trey, followed by Croci on the next possession and Robinson on the next to slice the margin to 28-23. Kenyon’s Jamie Harless, who tallied 16 of his 21 points the first half, made it 31-23 with a trey of his own, but Croci, who led all scorers with 28 points on 10 of 24 from the field, popped from long range to give Witt four treys on five possessions. The Tigers finally caught Kenyon at 32-all to complete an 18-4 run over 4 1/2 minutes.

“At halftime I emphasized keeping our composure,” said Kenyon Coach Bill H. Brown. “We did what we had to in starting hot, but in four minutes Wittenberg neutralized our start.”

But the Tigers couldn’t neutralize the Lords’ finish.

“Give Kenyon credit,” Perry said. “Coach always tells us that good teams have spurts. We figured they’d make one more run; they caught us and passed us.”

Croci said it hurt that the Tigers hadn’t been in too many positions where they trailed both early and late.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” he said. “What’s bad is that this is the same lockerroom we were in when they beat us here last year.”

And it was just as quiet this time around.

 TIGER TALES - Joining Donovan on the all-tournament team were Croci, Robinson, Harless, Miller and Jay Mrukowski of Ohio Wesleyan.

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Watch this amazing basketball finish

Sixteen lead changes to go along with six ties.

The Metro-School Bowl never fails to amaze, and Friday night was one of the the pinnacles of that rivalry.

Spencer Krhin took the game in his own hands, scoring 11 of his 23 points in the final 46 seconds to give the Knights a 51-49 victory over the Norse at Southwood.

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Live from Southeastern-Newton boys game

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8:55 p.m.: The Trojans win 71-49. They are now 19-2.

Photos here.

8:36: Southeastern leads Newton 51-26 after three quarters. J.P. McFarland has 14 points, and Austin Mercer has 10.

Southeastern will move on to play Miami Valley in the second round March 3 at 6 p.m. at Butler.

8:08: Southeastern leads 35-18 at halftime.

8:03: Trojans running away with this one. They lead 27-12 with 3:30 left before halftime. J.P. McFarland has eight points.

Jared Toops just hit a 3-pointer, and Southeastern leads Newton 30-12.

7:53: Tyler Cooper just drained his second basket of the quarter, and the Trojans lead 16-5. Southeastern now has one starter on the court for the final 25 seconds. That’s the end of the quarter. 16-5 Trojans.

7:51 p.m.: Trojans lead 12-3 with 2:30 left in the first quarter of this Division IV sectional first-round game. Southeastern is getting some baskets off the fast break.

Daniel Black just scored to make it 14-3.

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Live updates from Emmanuel Christian boys game

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7:23 p.m.: A furious comeback by Emmanuel Christian results in a 46-44 victory over Mississinawa Valley. Junior guard A.J. Tolliver hit two free throws with six seconds left, and MV’s desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark.

A traveling call against MV prior gave EC the ball on the possession that led to Tolliver’s free throws.

Photos here.

7:09 p.m.: Terry Scott nailed a 3-pointer from two steps behind the arc to trim MV’s lead to 38-37. The Lions trailed by seven moments ago.

7:08 p.m.: Emmanuel trails 38-34 with 2:21 left. Terry Scott of EC just hit three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt.

6:53: Emmanuel Christian trails 32-28 after three quarters. Joel Elliott leads the Lions with six points.

6:44 p.m.: Mississinawa Valley leads 28-24 with 4:02 left in the third quarter.

6:31: A somewhat entertaining game so far with a low score. The Hawks lead EC 19-17 at halftime.

6:25 p.m. The Hawks lead 15-14 with 1:48 left in the half. MV just called time-out. Here’s some of the wisdom heard from behind me in the stands (condensed into one paragraph) and from the MV bench in just the last few minutes.

“Motion, motion. Don’t waste your dribble. When you gonna learn to pull up. Take it in. C’mon, shoot it. Shoot the ball, James. Post up. He’s moving on the pick. Good shot. Get there, get there, get there, right there. Regular, regular. Box out. Let’s go Lions. 22, 22.”

6:18 p.m.: Mississinawa Valley led 10-6 after the first quarter, and it’s still 10-6 with almost 5 minutes left in the second.

Joel Elliott jut scored for the Lions to cut the deficit to 10-8. In the first quarter, the Lions scored six points on two three-point plays.

Southeastern is in the house. The Trojans play Newton in the second game tonight.

5:54 p.m. A few minutes to tipoff here at the Vandalia Butler Student Activities Center. They need a new name for this place. That’s at least two too many words. The SAC works well, though.

No. 6 seed Emmanuel Christian is facing No. 7 seed Mississinawa Valley in the first game. This is the first round of the Division IV sectional tournament.

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Hoosiers 2? Small town in Kentucky living big dream

From ESPN.com:

SANDY HOOK, Ky. — With another 100-point night in the books, the Elliott County Lions have adjourned to the Penny Mart (“Deli-Propane-Lotto” reads the sign). Here, playing rook amid the motor oil and fishing hooks and canned goods, they are rural royalty.

The chicken wings, cheeseburgers and slushies are free for the boys after every game, enthusiastically provided by proprietor Bobbie Howard.

“Nobody really done anything special for them,” she said. “A lot of them I’ve known since they were babies. They make us proud. This is a town a lot of people thought nobody would ever come from.”

The Lions have come roaring out of this rugged, remote Appalachian hamlet of roughly 700 people along the Little Sandy River to capture the imagination of a state that cherishes high school basketball. They have rekindled memories of the glory days of mountain ball, when tiny communities like Carr Creek or players like King Kelly Coleman and Richie Farmer wandered out of Eastern Kentucky to become folk heroes memorialized in books.

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Daily Tournament Fix — Feb. 25

Here’s your daily tournament fix for Wednesday, Feb. 25:

Tonight’s games: D-IV — Emmanuel Christian vs. Mississinawa Valley, 6 p.m., and Southeastern vs. Newton, 7:30 p.m., at the Vandalia Butler Student Activities Center.; D-III — Northeastern vs. Carlisle, 7:30 p.m., at UD Arena.

Short Takes: Northeastern is coming off a huge victory on Friday, a 58-56 win over Southeastern, which kept the Trojans from going perfect in the OHC. … Emmanuel Christian joins the Metro Buckeye Conference next season. … Southeastern is 18-2 overall and finished the season ranked fifth in D-II. The last time they faced Newton in 2000-2001, the Trojans were 18-2, but were ousted in the first round of the D-II tournament. They wouldn’t lose another game until the regional finals the next season. … The Trojans finished the season with four of their five starters (J.P. McFarland, Jared Toops, Austin Mercer and Tyler Cooper) all averaging double figures. Their fifth starter, Reed Florence, led the Springfield-area in assists. … The Jets have won four of their last seven games. They’re 1-3 against D-III teams (Greeneview, West Liberty-Salem) they faced this season.

Key player: Aaron Hartzell, Northeastern. The Jets senior post will have to be a monster in the middle tonight against Carlisle. The 6-8 senior is an imposing figure in the paint and can change his opponents shots just by taking up space in the lane. If he can get his offense going tonight, the Jets will have a chance to play Greeneview for a third time in the second round.

Last night’s results: All four area teams - three boys and one girls team - fell in action last night. There are just three area girls teams left standing - Kenton Ridge, Graham and Southeastern.

Lookahead: No area teams play on Thursday, but we’ll have action from both the boys and girls tournament games on Friday and Saturday.

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On this date in area sports history …

Sixteen years ago on this date, Feb. 25, 1993, the News-Sun published a story about the North Coast Athletic Conference considering holding its basketball tournaments at a neutral site. Complete story on the jump:

NCAC CONSIDERING NEUTRAL SITE FOR TOURNEY

WU WOULD LOSE ‘95-96 TOURNEYS

By Rob Oller, Sports Writer

The North Coast Athletic Conference is considering moving its post-season basketball tournament to a neutral site in Columbus, Ohio, next year.

Dennis Collins, executive director of the NCAC, visited Battelle Hall in the Greater Columbus Convention Center last week to look into the possibility of moving the men’s and women’s semifinals and finals to the 6,000-seat arena in 1994.

 The convention center, which also will host next month's Mid-American Conference tournament, has already penciled in dates for next year's NCAC tourney, but Collins has not determined if a move would be financially feasible.

The NCAC is in the third year of a six-year tournament rotation agreement, with Ohio Wesleyan hosting this year and in 1994. Wittenberg is scheduled to host in 1995 and ‘96.

Collins investigated the site for two reasons.

“One of the presidents, which one I don’t remember, said, `Why don’t we look at a neutral site.’ You know there’s this continual issue coaches bring up is of home court advantage,” Collins said.

Secondly, there is concern that OWU’s Branch Rickey Arena won’t suitably accommodate tournament crowds, which will travel to Delaware for Friday’s semifinals.

Branch Rickey seats about 2,500, including 200 temporary bleacher seats behind one basket. The last two tournaments, held at Wooster’s 3,400-seat Timken Gymnasium, have attracted about 3,200 fans.

 “If all things are equal, about 700 people will be disappointed,'' Collins admitted.

Collins assured that no decision will be reached until after fans get a chance to voice their opinions. A survey will be conducted this weekend asking fans such questions as whether they’d be willing to pay higher ticket prices for a nicer facility.

The issue will be discussed Saturday with a tournament committee of eight athletic directors, coaches and faculty representatives.

Wittenberg women’s coach Pam Evans is a member of the committee, but didn’t know if she would be able to attend the meeting because the Tigers play a semifinal game Saturday afternoon.

She expressed reservations over moving to a large arena.

“I’m not sure that if you move it to a bigger site whether you might lose the excitement,” she said. “Three thousand fans in a 6,000-seat arena might make it seem more empty.

“I can see moving it here next year,” she added. “I think it depends on how Ohio Wesleyan handles the crowd.”

Evans said there was talk among committee members of switching the tournament from OWU to Wittenberg for this year’s tournament, but too many plans had already been made.

Collins said he didn’t know if the tournament might move to a neutral site for just one year or whether it would be a more permanent change, one that would affect Wittenberg.

“We need to find out if people might be interested in this. There are pluses and minuses,” Collins said. “I think most (Division III) colleges these days seem to have an older crowd. It’s moved from student oriented to older. If in fact that is our fan base, maybe they would enjoy going downtown where they can pick from nicer restaurants and hotels.

“The other side is you have to pay to park and we’d have to bus people in. If we ever do this, we’d have to make special provisions for students and still find a way to keep their ticket price rock bottom.”

Collins said ticket prices would probably have to rise if the tournament moves to Battelle. This year, the NCAC is charging $6 for adults and $2 for students each day. The Friday ticket allows fans to see two women’s and two men’s semifinals. The Saturday ticket is good for both finals.

“On the other hand, we could get a corporate sponsor and then we wouldn’t have to raise the prices, but we’ve never gone into that area before,” Collins said.

The Ohio Conference moved its tournament to a neutral site in Canton for the first time this year and is charging $8 for adults, $4 for students.

NCAC officials will closely watch the OAC to see how fans react to the move and ticket increases.

“We don’t know how our people would feel about leaving the campus atmosphere,” Collins said. “Another question is how big is big? We’ve been very successful with our brand of basketball. Do we want to get into all this stuff?

“Nothing is solid here yet. We’re making money now and the only way we’ll do it is if we keep making a profit we’re making now. The only way this will all jive is if we can offer reasonable ticket prices and people are willing to show up.”

Battelle doesn’t want a rental fee from the NCAC, but is asking for a part of the profits. The NCAC made almost $10,000 off last year’s tournament, not including profits from quarterfinal games.

Wittenberg athletic director Carl F. Schraibman is familiar with tournaments held at neutral sites from his days heading the graduate sports administration program at Kent State.

“I can’t make a really good calculated guess, but I think there was an awful lot of sentiment to stay on the campuses,” said Schraibman, referring to the MAC decision to move its tournament from Toledo to a neutral site.

The MAC tried holding the tourney at Cobo Arena in Detroit and at Northern Illinois with disastrous results, he said.

Wittenberg men’s coach Dan Hipsher isn’t pleased with the prospect of losing the tournament, and home court advantage, in 1995 and ‘96. He also wondered how the conference would make a profit, or even break even, by moving to a neutral site.

“I don’t know how you make more money at a neutral site,” he said. “We know we can make a profit here.”

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Witt men fall to Kenyon, finish 13-13

Kenyon’s Jim Arce hit two 3-pointers in the final two minutes to carry the Lords past Wittenberg 65-60 in the quarterfinals of the NCAC tournament at Wittenberg on Tuesday, Feb. 24.

The Tigers finish the season 13-13, their first .500 season since 1967-68.

Wittenberg held a slim lead for most of the game, but it shot just 28 percent in the second half.

Kenyon got a major boost from the return to the lineup of its top two scorers, Bryan Yelvington and J.T. Knight. Neither played in Wittenberg’s victory over Kenyon on Saturday.

After the game, Wittenberg coach Bill Brown was asked if the experience his young team gained this year will pay off next year. Three freshman, Josh McKee, Alex Brandt and Michael Cooper, stayed in the rotation all season.

“We just haven’t improved during the year, and it’s just real disappointing,” Brown said. “Just because you’re a year older doesn’t mean it’s going to work out differently. Experience is a great thing, but you have to be in a position for the experience to be a plus for you.”

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Live updates from the Shawnee and Graham boys game

9:15 p.m.: Graham wins 66-54. The Falcons completed a second-straight 20-0 season and have now won 43 straight regular-season games. Shawnee finishes second in the CBC Kenton Trail Division to Kenton Ridge.

9:05 p.m.: Graham’s up 56-44 with 4:30 left in the game. Josh Schuler has 25 points. The Graham cheering section has started a “you can’t stop him” chant.

Unfortunately for the Braves, they’re right.

9:00: Graham 49-34 after three.

8:55: Graham’s up 49-34 with 1:03 left in the third quarter. The Falcons are scoring just about however they want. Shawnee didn’t make a shot from the field until four minutes were left. They also have five turnovers.

8:30 p.m.: Graham leads 29-22 at halftime. Josh Schuler, the area’s leading scorer, has a game-high 13 points. Steven Sarven has eight points for the Braves.

Graham was hurt by turnovers in the second quarter: six in all. Shawnee, meanwhile, had two rebounds to Graham’s seven.

The game was intense at the start, but teams just can’t carry on that intensity for the entire game. That was true for Shawnee as Graham kept its cool and rarely lost its focus.

8:20 p.m.: Graham’s up 20-16. Shawnee just called a timeout.

8:15 p.m.: Graham’s up 16-12 after one quarter. Josh Schuler came alive for the Falcons and scored nine points in about four minutes. The Falcons also forced six turnovers, all in the same four minute span. Shawnee was up 6-0 and 8-2 early.

8:07 p.m.: It’s tied 10-10. Graham is picking up the defense.

8:05 p.m.: Shawnee is up 6-0 right away. Graham has missed its first three shots.

7:40: Shawnee 54, Graham 53 RESERVE. Shawnee side is partying like it’s 1999, and the varsity game hasn’t even started yet. It’s going to be a fun two hours. We should be starting here right at 8 p.m.

7:25 p.m.: It’s a tied RESERVE game in the fourth quarter. I put reserve in caps so we don’t get confused. Hopefully the varsity game will start by 8 p.m.

7:10 p.m.: I’m already at the Shawnee at Graham boys basketball game. The JV game is tied at 26 at halftime. The stands are full and the fans are happy right now. It’s not quite standing-room only, but I think we’re heading there.

I had to park in the grass out by Selma Road, probably where I wasn’t supposed to. But that’s the benefit of owning a Ford F-150.

A win for the Shawnee boys gives them a share of the Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division title. Graham has already won the CBC Mad River Division and is going for a perfect 20-0 season.

I’ll be updating throughout the game. Check back for more details.

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Nov. 19, 1990: Sports Illustrated profiles Wittenberg

From the Sports Illustrated Vault on SI.com, a profile of the men’s and women’s basketball programs at Wittenberg (Nov. 19, 1990):

On the second night of school this fall, the incoming basketball hopefuls at Wittenberg in Springfield, Ohio, were invited to a casual affair at an apartment house where some of the senior members of the team lived. The offer conjured up visions of brews and pizzas and the chance to rub elbows with Brad Baldridge, the Tigers’ 6’9”, 205-pound Division III All-America center. But instead of getting the welcome mat, they were called on the carpet by Baldridge, who harangued the newcomers about the importance of winning. “I told them they were going to have to improve themselves, stay focused and perform if they were called upon,” he later said, “because the thought of losing makes me sick to my stomach.”

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College wrestler, 45, loses 200 pounds, gains new lease on life

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From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

A little over a year ago, Baldwin-Wallace College wrestler Terence Haynes weighed 430 pounds.

Today, he weighs 228 pounds, well under the NCAA-imposed limit of 285 pounds for a heavyweight .

The story doesn’t end there. If losing over 200 pounds in 11 months seems unbelievable, consider this: Haynes is 45 years old, and is believed to be the oldest collegiate wrestler in the country.

Baldwin Wallace wrestler loses 200 lbs. to compete

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Wooster to ‘go out and play for Corey’

From the Daily Record in Wooster:

WOOSTER — The best way for The College of Wooster men’s basketball team to honor the late Corey Cline is to go out and play their hardest in tonight’s home game.

That was the message grieving parents Doug and Lauren Cline delivered to the Fighting Scots team following practice late Monday afternoon. Their 3-year-old son, Corey, was killed in an auto accident on Congress Road in what the Wooster Post of the State Highway Patrol called a “chain of events.”

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Daily Tournament Fix — Feb. 24

Here’s your daily tournament fix for Tuesday, Feb. 24:

Tonight’s games: Girls D-IV — Yellow Springs vs. Ansonia, 6 p.m. at Brookville High School. Boys D-I — Tecumseh vs. Northmont, 7 p.m. at UD Arena; Boys D-IV — Catholic Central vs. Franklin Monroe, 6 p.m.and Cedarville vs. Jefferson, 7:30 p.m at the Vandalia Butler Student Activities Center, 7:30 p.m.

Short Takes: The Yellow Springs girls squad started the year 3-8 before winning six of their last eight games. … Tecumseh fell to Northmont 60-44 earlier this season. … It’s been an odd season at Catholic Central. The Irish started 0-8, then ran off five wins in six games. But since then, they’ve lost six in a row, including a 49-48 loss at the buzzer to West Liberty-Salem. … Cedarville hadn’t won a game since Dec. 20 against Ridgemont until Friday’s victory over rival Greeneview 64-61. They face the top-seed and D-IV ninth-ranked Jefferson tonight. … There are just four girls teams still playing in the Springfield area: Yellow Springs, Southeastern, Kenton Ridge and Graham.

Masked Marauders: “We’ve got two kids (Michael Butler and David Pritchett) with broken noses and both are wearing face masks,” Jefferson coach Art Winston said told the Metro Buckeye Conference web site after the tourney draw. “I’m excited to start. It’s about keeping focus because we haven’t won our league yet. Once we finish that up, we can start preparing for the tournament.”

Last night: Graham upset 15-5 Indian Lake to advance to a D-II sectional final at VB at 8:30 p.m. on Friday. Game was moved up from 7:30 p.m. to allow fans time to travel from the boys game at Troy on Friday to get to the girls game.

Chelsea Black had 12 points for the Falcons and Graham coach Christie Dodane said Black caused problems for the Lakers from the middle of the Falcons’ press.

“She did a good job anticipating at half court and really put on the pressure,” Dodane said. “She stepped up as a senior leader like she should.”

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On this date in area sports history …

Six years ago on this date, Feb. 24, 2003, the Shawnee boys basketball team beat Graham in the sectional tournament. Complete story on the jump.

Published Feb. 25, 2003

BRAVES FLATTEN FALCONS

SHAWNEE BOYS REACH FRIDAY’S SECTIONAL FINAL

By KEITH WALTHER, News-Sun Sports Writer

TROY — It was a matter of execution, precision basketball by the Shawnee boys basketball team.

The Braves did all the things necessary to advance along the tournament trail Monday night, playing superb defense and limiting mistakes while sharing the ball unselfishly on offense.

The result was a 64-40 rout of Graham by the Braves in the Division II sectional semifinal at Troy’s Hobart Arena.

The third-seeded Braves (14-6) advanced to play Tipp City, which beat Northwestern on Monday, at 8:30 p.m. Friday at Hobart for a sectional title. Graham’s season ends at 6-15.

“I think the thing we have relied the most on all year is playing good defense and the kids really did a good job of that tonight,” said Shawnee coach Dave Marshall. “We put some pressure on and forced some mistakes, got some steals. And we executed offensively — no matter what they threw at us.”

And, early on especially, the Falcons threw everything they could at the Braves. Graham’s main point of emphasis was on stopping — or at least slowing down — Shawnee’s high-scoring Ryan Short.

Using a box-and-one and other junk defenses, Graham held Short to six points in the first half but the Shawnee junior got loose for nine in the final two periods to finish with a game-high 15.

“I wasn’t able to get the ball much when they had the box-and-one going but I was able to get some good looks later because we really moved the ball around well as a team tonight,” said Short. “We weren’t going to take anything for granted. We knew that Graham had beat a top-seed (Kenton Ridge) two years ago and we knew what happened to Greenon (this year’s top seed who fell to Indian Lake in the first round). We just went out and played hard.”

“They are a very good team,” said Graham coach Brook Cupps. “You try to make other guys hurt you and they had guys that stepped up like (Richie) Fralick (12 points). But Short finds ways to score and he did that in the second half.”

Graham trailed 16-11 after one quarter and, when Jamey Nicholas sank a short baseline jumper to open second period play, the Falcons had visions of an upset.

“We lost to them by 10 at our place earlier this season so I never got the feeling from our guys that they didn’t think they could win,” Cupps said. “It was just a matter of doing the things we needed to do — like taking care of the basketball — and we didn’t do those things.”

Shawnee answered Graham’s challenge with a 7-0 run that gave it a 23-13 lead with 3:55 left in the first half. After Graham’s Myles Trempe canned a jumper, the Braves answered with another 5-0 outburst on a 3-pointer by Fralick and a driving layup by Andrew Daggett to make it 28-15.

The Braves would increase their advantage to 34-20 on back-to-back field goals by Eric Fleming with 5:30 left in the third. Graham, however, was still hanging around, trailing 52-37, when Short scored an old-fashioned three-point play with 4:08 to play and followed a minute later with a short jumper to make it 57-37 and put the game out of reach.

Garry Bair led Graham with nine points while Spencer Ferst and Trempe added eight points apiece. Sturgill finished with nine points for the Braves.

 GRAHAM (40) — G. Bair 4 1-1 9, Ferst 3 2-4 8, Trempe 3 2-2 8, Rogers 1 0-0 2, Cupps 2 1-2 5, Jenkins 1 3-4 5, Evans 0 1-2 1. Totals: 15 10-16 40.

SHAWNEE (64) — Fralick 5 0-0 12, Short 6 3-5 15, Sturgill 3 1-2 7, Fleming 3 0-0 6, Haddix 4 0-0 8, Mounts 2 1-1 5, Stuckey 2 0-0 4, Daggett 1 0-0 2, Hasser 1 0-0 2, Wheeler 0 3-3 3. Totals 27 8-11 64.

 Graham 11  18  30  40

 Shawnee16  28  43  64

Three-point goals: Shawnee 2 (Fralick 2); Graham 0.

Records: Shawnee 14-6, Graham 6-15.

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Thrilling JV game finishes in empty gym

From the Middletown Journal:

SHARONVILLE — Imagine playing before 1,800 screaming fans for 32 minutes of regulation, then for one draining overtime, then finishing the game in an empty gym.

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Live updates from Indian Lake-Graham girls hoops games

8:53: It’s over. Graham wins 48-34.

8:29: After three quarters, Graham leads 34-26. The Falcons were able to withstand an early run by the Lakers, who pulled to within three at 24-27. They outscored them 8-2 the rest of the way.

8:03: At the half, Graham leads 25-17. They outscored the Lakers 13-7 in the quarter. They led by as many as 12 at one point.

7:46: After one quarter, Graham leads Indian Lake 12-10.

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Live updates from Tippecanoe-NW girls hoops game

7:10: Tippecanoe wins 59-25.

6:53: After three quarters, Tipp leads 52-13.

6:31: At the half, Tippecanoe leads 37-7. The Red Devils are applying pressure the Warriors just can’t handle. No player for Tippecanoe has over eight points.

6:15: After one quarter, Division II state poll champs Tippecanoe leads Northwestern 28-4. The Red Devils jumped out to a 16-0 lead to start the game.

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Start date for prep football changed

From the OHSAA’s Web site:

Football Practice May Begin Aug. 3

Feb. 20 — A universal football practice start date of Aug. 3 was approved by the OHSAA Board of Directors during its February meeting. More information will be released in the spring. As a reminder, no contact is permitted until the sixth day of practice.

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Southeastern fifth in final boys poll

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With one loss last week, the Southeastern boys basketball team fell from third to fifth in the final Associated Press poll of the season, released Monday, Feb. 23. The Trojans finished the regular season 18-2.

Unbeaten Graham remained No. 1, as it has been all season. The Falcons (19-0) close the regular season Tuesday against Shawnee. There are four undefeated teams in the state in all divisions.

Complete poll on the jump.

How a state panel of sports writers and broadcasters rates Ohio high school boys basketball teams in the seventh and final weekly Associated Press poll of 2009, by OHSAA divisions, with won-lost record and total points (first-place votes in parentheses):

DIVISION I

1, Cols. Northland (14) 19-1 242

2, Cin. Princeton (9) 19-1 232

3, Middletown 18-2 183

4, Can. Timken (1) 18-1 173

5, Cin. Moeller (1) 18-2 132

6, Dublin Scioto 19-1 94

7, Barberton 18-1 88

8, Warren Harding 16-2 79

9, Cle. Glenville 15-3 59

10, Lorain Admiral King (2) 19-0 37

Others receiving 12 or more points: 11, Cin. La Salle 24. 12, Sylvania Southview 22. 13, Trotwood-Madison 18. 14, Garfield Hts. 17. 15, Can. Glenoak 15. 16 (tie), Centerville, Cle. Hts. 14.

DIVISION II

1, St. Paris Graham (26) 19-0 269

2, Circleville Logan Elm (1) 19-1 226

3, Akr. SVSM 15-3 175

4, Wilmington 18-2 147

5, Cin. Indian Hill 18-2 146

6, Dover 18-2 126

7, Cle. Benedictine 14-4 111

8, Cols. DeSales 18-2 102

9, St. Bernard Roger Bacon 17-3 50

10, Day. Thurgood Marshall 15-5 29

Others receiving 12 or more points: 11, Chillicothe 28. 12, Poland Seminary 19. 13, Cin. Taft 15. 14, Day. Dunbar 13.

DIVISION III

1, Smithville (23) 18-0 266

2, Findlay Liberty-Benton (3) 17-1 221

3, Casstown Miami E. 19-1 202

4, Anna 18-2 169

5, Ottawa-Glandorf 17-2 151

6, Kirtland 17-1 116

7, St. Henry 17-2 86

8, Piketon 18-2 81

9, Cle. Cent. Cath. 16-3 57

10, Cuyahoga Falls CVCA 16-3 30

Others receiving 12 or more points: 10, Seaman N. Adams (1) 30. 12, Middletown Madison 22.

DIVISION IV

1, New Knoxville (18) 19-0 260

2, Berlin Hiland (8) 20-0 242

3, Cle. Hts. Lutheran E. (1) 16-2 166

4, Oak Hill 18-2 165

5, S. Charleston SE 18-2 147

6, Bedford Chanel 14-4 109

7, Plymouth 17-1 80

8, Cin. Seven Hills 15-4 71

9, Day. Jefferson 16-4 67

10, Newark Cath. 16-4 47

Others receiving 12 or more points: 11, Malvern 29. 12, Pandora-Gilboa 17. 13, Pettisville 16. 14 (tie), Delphos St. John’s, Worthington Christian 14.

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Wooster men’s basketball program suffers tragedy

Corey Cline, the 3-year-old son of longtime Wooster men’s basketball assistant coach Doug Cline, was killed in an auto accident Sunday morning, Feb. 22.

Cline was a passenger in a car driven by Wooster player Dustin Geitgey. Their car crashed, and no one was hurt, but minutes later, another driver lost control on the icy road and hit Corey Cline.

Wooster hosts Denison at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the NCAC quarterfinals. If the Scots win and Wittenberg beats Kenyon, the Tigers would play Wooster in Wooster on Friday.

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Daily Tournament Fix — Feb. 23

Here’s your daily tournament fix for Monday, Feb. 23:

Tonight’s games: D-II - Northwestern vs. Tippecanoe, 6 p.m. and Graham vs. Indian Lake, 7:30 p.m. at Vandalia Butler’s Student Activities Center. D-IV -Southeastern vs. New Miami, 7:30 p.m., at Monroe High School.

Short Takes: Northwestern won seven games this season after winning just one game last season. … Warriors sophomore post Rebecca Bruner is averaging 14 points and 10 rebounds per game. … Graham beat Benjamin Logan in their third matchup this season last Wednesday to advance to the second round. They’ll face another CBC Mad River foe, Indian Lake, for the third time tonight. The Falcons and Lakers split games this season. … New Miami (11-9) won the MVC Gray Division this season.

Key player: Jenna Erwin, Southeastern. Trojans freshman had 16 points in sectional win over Middletown Christian last Monday. She’ll have to keep playing at a high-level for the Trojans to pull through.

Boys almost underway: The boys tournament begins tomorrow with Tecumseh, Catholic Central and Cedarville all in action.

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On this date in area sports history …

Fifteen years ago today on this date, Feb. 22, 1994, the Wittenberg men’s basketball team set a school record with 66 points in the first half against Earlham. Complete story on the jump.

Published Feb. 24, 1994

TIGERS HAVE NO TROUBLE WITH QUAKERS IN OPENER

By Rob Oller, Sports Writer

The question was not if but how many.

Wittenberg figured it would score 100 points against Earlham Tuesday at the HPER Center. It just didn’t think it would happen so early.

The top-seeded Tigers breezed through their North Coast Athletic Conference tournament opener with a 124-63 thumping of the Quakers before 1,086 to remain unbeaten at 25-0.

WU advances to the semifinals, where it plays No. 4 seed Ohio Wesleyan at 9 p.m. Friday in Delaware. The Bishops slipped past No. 5 seed Denison, 67-63.

In other games, Wooster struggled past Case Western Reserve, 61-52, and Kenyon fought off Allegheny, 77-68, to set up a Kenyon-Wooster semifinal at 6:45 p.m. Friday. The championship is at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Tuesday’s mauling of Earlham was no surprise.

“We knew we’d be able to score points because of our size,” explained junior center Chris Wolfe, who poured in a career-high 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the field and 2-of-2 from the foul line.

It was a shocker, though, how early the Tigers reached the century mark - with 8:57 remaining. Perhaps more of a stunner was that WU played a zone the entire second half. If it would have remained in its high-pressure, man-to-man defense, it might have scored 140 or more.

As it was, the Tigers set a handful of NCAC tournament records:

Most points in a game, breaking the mark of 109 recorded by Wittenberg against Case Western Reserve in 1991;

Most points in a half with 66. The previous high of 58 was tallied by Allegheny against CWRU in 1990.

Victory margin (61). Wooster held the mark of 51 against Oberlin in 1991;

Rebounds (64). Allegheny had 53 vs. Oberlin in 1988.

And, senior forward Matt Croci tied the three-point record with six. Allegheny’s Perry Junius had six against Wittenberg in 1990.

Of course, breaking records is the norm when the Tigers play Earlham. In the last meeting on Feb. 9, WU shook the Quakers by 75 points, 117-42, the biggest margin in school history.

And Witt nearly KO’ed its single-game scoring record of 127 points, set against Shenandoah in December.

With nine minutes remaining, that mark appeared sure of falling. After taking a 66-34 cushion to intermission, the Tigers ripped off a 22-4 run over the first 5 1/2 minutes of the second half. Just about every player got into the act. Croci, who finished with 20 points, buried two of his treys during the stretch and Aaron Perry and John Burns added one apiece.

The starters took a seat with 16:15 left, but the second wave still outscored Earlham’s best, 16-12, to the 9:00 mark for a 100-50 advantage.

“You’ve got to keep in mind that it was Earlham, but still it was good offensively for us, to get more confidence and play a little looser going into the weekend,” Wolfe said.

Wittenberg’s big men couldn’t have looked more confident. Wolfe and Luke Ragan (13 points), combined to hit 14 of 16 shots, with Ragan draining all five of his attempts.

“Nobody guarded them,” WU Coach Bill Brown said simply.

Brown was pleased to see the Tigers play unselfishly when there were so many opportunities to be selfish against an Earlham squad that played defense about every fourth minute.

Croci, who broke from his shooting slump by going 7 of 12, including 6 of 11 from three-point range, admitted he hurried a few flings the second half because he knew he would soon be done for the day, but he also had four assists and no turnovers. Perry and backup point guard Brian Whalen dished out five assists without a miscue.

The Tigers only committed nine turnovers to Earlham’s 17 and outrebounded the Quakers, 64-32. Aaron Smith led the way with 10 rebounds to go with his 15 points. Kevin Spriggs added 11 points before fouling out after just 10 minutes on the floor.

Spriggs’ exit wasn’t as humbling, however, as Anthony Robinson failing to score; one of only two Tigers, the other being freshman reserve Chad Metzger, to be blanked of the 16 who saw action.

Robinson admitted he took quite a teasing from his teammates about the goose egg, but he didn’t go down without a comeback.

“My job is to distribute the ball,” he said with a sly smile.

The Tigers also shot well, hitting 57 percent of their shots while holding Earlham to 32 percent.

The bright spot for the Quakers was freshman guard Matt Hall, who led all scorers with 25 points on 9 of 11 from the field. He missed the earlier 75-point rout while recovering from mononucleosis. South product Kawambee Gaines chipped in 11 for Earlham.

“Everything goes their way,” Hall said of the Tigers. “They’re good inside and they’re a threat outside.”

Coach Tony Gary agreed.

“It’s like me trying to play Michael Jordan,” he said. “No matter what I do, he’s going to get 100 against me.”

And sometimes a lot more.

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Autistic teen at home on the golf course

From ESPN.com

Matthew Ross never spoke and barely made any sounds as a young child.

The one exception, according to his mother, Susan, was when they would drive by a golf course. That’s when a 4-year-old Matthew would start making noise. Finally, Susan asked him if that’s where he wanted to go and Matthew started nodding his head.

So Susan took her son to meet a local golf pro and Matthew’s life changed forever. When he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism, soon thereafter, a day on the links became the best therapy.

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Daily Tournament Fix — Feb. 22

Here’s your daily tournament fix for Sunday, Feb. 22:

Today’s games: None.

A great effort: The Shawnee High School girls basketball team gave Division II eighth-ranked Kenton Ridge all they could handle in a 60-47 loss on Saturday in a D-II sectional tournament second round game.

The Braves won three of their last four games to finish the regular season. They kept it close against the Cougars until late in the fourth quarter.

“We couldn’t be more proud of them,” said Shawnee coach Lee Ann Ballard. “It makes things very bright for our future. We thanked the seniors and told them they played a great game and told the young ones to use this as a springboard into the off-season. It shows what we could become.”

Saturday’s game was all about heart for the Braves against a team that beat them by 22 earlier this season.

“That’s what we tried to pound in their head all week,” Ballard said. “As coaches, we have to pump them up and keep them positive and make them believe in what they’re doing. I felt like we did as good a job as possible of preparing them for what they’d see and we saw everything. We didn’t get surprised by anything. We held our own.”

Sickness takes over: Carroll rebounded from a poor performance in a 37-30 win over Urbana in a sectional first round game and team illnesses during the week to beat Greenon 50-33.

Both the Patriots and Greenon struggled with illnesses all week.

“We had our long halftime speech all week long,” said Carroll coach Rob Berry. “We had about 6-7 girls who were sick, and I know Greenon did, too. Luckily, we had about 15 at practice on Friday. We came out in the first period with a little more authority. We came out and had better shot selection, made a 3-pointer and caused them to make some turnovers and finished off some steals. It was a good effort early on.”

Monday lookahead: Three area teams are in action on Monday. SE will play New Miami in D-IV sectional action at Monroe High School, while Northwestern and Graham each play in the D-II sectional at Vandalia Butler.

Boys update: The boys tournament starts Monday, but Springfield-area teams don’t begin play until Tuesday. Catholic Central and Cedarville both play at Vandalia Butler, while Tecumseh will play at UD Arena.

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On this date in area sports history…

On this date 13 years ago, Catholic Central’s Jason Collier scored 33 points as the Irish dismantled Newton 74-50 in a first round D-IV tournament game at Vandalia Butler.

The Irish went on to win the state title that season.

Published in the Feb. 23, 1996 edition of the News-Sun:

TRI-VILLAGE HAS NO ANSWER FOR COLLIER

By Cindy Horner, News-Sun Sports Writer

VANDALIA — How do you guard a seven-footer?

Tri-Village would really like to know because the Patriots couldn’t find way to do it Thursday night in the Division IV sectional tournamet at Vandalia-Butler’s Student Activity Center.

Catholic Central’s Jason Collier, the seven-footer, was hitting layups, tip-ins, alleyoops, slam dunks and just about anything else, racking up a game-high 33 points in leading the Irish to a 74-50 victory over Tri-Village in the first round of the tournament in front of about 2,000 fans.

“You just have to keep bodies on him and see if you can get some hands in his face,” said Tri-Village Coach Tony Thomas, whose team finishes at 11-10. “But once the ball was in the air to him, we really couldn’t do a lot with him. He’s just such a force at this level. I thought we got a charge on him one time, but it happened so quickly that I don’t think the officials saw it. Plus it was just our little 5-10 guy and he went unnoticed against Collier.”

Collier pumped in 10 points in the first quarter to help the Irish pull away 18-10 with a minute left, then made it 21-13 at the end of the quarter after Jon Powell hit a three-pointer at the buzzer. The Patriots would never be a threat again after Central turned in a great second quarter.

The Irish scored 15 points, while holding Tri-Village to just three behind a good half-court defense that forced 13 first-half turnovers. The Patriots were only averaging 11 turnovers per game.

“The key to winning any ball game is always the defense,” said Jon Powell, who tossed in 12 points on the night. “We played well in the halfcourt defense. Sometimes it confuses opponents because we can disguise it as a man or a 2-3 matchup.

“We just wanted to get this game out of the way,” Powell added. “We were definitely ready to start tournament play, but it took us a while to get into the game.”

The Irish, now 18-3, will play either Covington or Franklin-Monroe in the sectional finals at 5 p.m. Friday, March 1, at the University of Dayton Arena. Collier, who also led the team in rebounding with 17, said it took a while to get used to the floor at Vandalia.

“I felt like I was running through mud when the game first started,” Collier said. “We just haven’t played here that much. I don’t know what it is, it just seems different. It must be the dimensions or something. We’re just glad that the tournament has started now. Our short-term goal is to just beat the next team we play.”

That is regardless of what type of defense throws at Central, if it is in fact a defense.

“They started playing a 1-3-1 against us and it caused us some trouble at first, but we’re working on that a little more along with junk defenses,” Collier said. “It’s almost a given anymore that we’ll see some weird defense. It’s always fun to see what a team will use against us.”

The Irish slowed down a little in the second half and went outside a little more. Jason Ronai, who scored 10 points on the night, hit two three-pointers in the third and Tony Silvers hit two, one in the third and another in the fouth quarter. Central’s biggest lead was of 29 at 62-33 with just over four minutes remaining, but Tri-Village shaved a few points off at the closing.

“Our goal was to win every quarter,” Catholic Central Coach Tony Ricciuto said. “We just wanted to work on staying patient, moving the ball around and maintaining a certain intensity. You just have to hope that it all blends together. I honestly worry more about the mental aspect than I do the physical. You just have to hope that the kids go out and react to all the different things that teams throw up against them.”

CENTRAL (74) _ Ronai 3 1-2 10, Collier 15 3-3 33, Silvers 2 0-1 6, Yirak 1 0-0 2, Powell 5 0-0 12, Talbott 4 0-0 8, Shutte 1 0-03. Totals: 30 4-6 74.

TRI-VILLIAGE (50) _ Burns 2 1-3 5, Leverette 3 2-2 11, Miller 3 4-6 11, Deaton 6 3-3 15, Wilcox 1 0-0 2, Skidmore 1 2-2 4, Falknor 0 2-3 2. Totals: 16 14-19 50.

Central 21 36 59 74

Tri-Villiage 13 16 33 50

Three-point goals: Central 7 (Ronai 3, Silvers 2, Powell 2), Tri Village 4 ( Leverette 3, Miller)

Records: Central 18-3, Tri-Villiage 11-10

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Live updates from the Shawnee-Indian Lake boys game

9:05: Shawnee 80, Indian Lake 58.

There’s now many scenarios for Shawnee to win the CBC title. The most likely one is Shawnee needs to beat Graham on Tuesday to earn a share the title. Graham is the CBC Mad River Division champ.

9 p.m.: Starters are out with 2:25 left in the game. Shawnee’s up 75-55.

8:55: Shawnee 71, Indian Lake 49. Just over four minutes left. This is the most points the Braves have scored this season, and they’re adding to the total. P.J. Howell has a season-best 26 points.

8:48: Shawnee is pouring it on now, up 60-42 with 54 seconds left in the third quarter. P.J. Howell has 22 points so far. Justin Williams has 13.

8:35: Shawnee has extended its lead to 49-36 with 5:13 left in the third quarter.

8:20 p.m.: Shawnee’s up 36-29 at halftime. P.J. Howell has 15 points, and he’s only missed two shots from the field. Justin Williams has eight points.

Stacy Jones has 11 points for Indian Lake. He scored eight of those points in the first quarter.

Shawnee has a big advantage in rebounds: 12 to 7.

Not many people here to see the game tonight. But that’s why we now have live-blogging, right?

8 p.m.: After one quarter, the Shawnee boys basketball team leads Indian Lake 20-16. P.J. Howell has nine points for the Braves.

This game is important in the Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division. The Braves need to win this game to keep pace with the division leader, Kenton Ridge.

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Cedarville, Witt pick up big wins

Wittenberg secured a first-round home game in the NCAC tournament by beating Kenyon 68-44 on Saturday. The Tigers will now host Kenyon at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The Cedarville men clinched at least a share of the AMC title and also earned an automatic berth in the NAIA tournament by beating Roberts Wesleyan 71-66 on Saturday.

The Cedarville women also clinched an NAIA tournament berth by beating Roberts Wesleyan 80-54.

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Watch Nate Miller in action

You can see a brief clip of South grad Nate Miller in action with Bowling Green in the first scene from this video:

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South grad Miller reaches milestone

sns022308spnatemiller4.JPG

South High School grad Nate Miller reached a career milestone on Saturday, Feb. 21, in a 71-66 overtime loss to Canisius in an ESPNU Bracketbuster contest.

Miller scored 22 points in the game to become the 37th player in school history with 1,000 points. He’s also the 14th to have 1,000 points and 500 rebounds and just the fourth with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 125 steals.

Click here for both a story and an audio interview with Miller after the game.

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Live updates from Kenton Ridge-Shawnee girls hoops game

3:10: The Braves pulled to within four points late in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t get any closer as KR beat Shawnee 60-47.

Marta Lockwood had 17 points for Shawnee.

Saira House had 21 points, Lonnie Lassitter had 11 points and Alicia Ware added 10.

2:50: After three quarters, KR leads 44-37. The Braves tied the game at 34-all, but the Cougars went on a 10-3 run to end the quarter. Saira House has 13 points for the Cougars. Lockwood has 14 for the Braves.

2:18: At halftime, KR leads 28-27.

Shawnee’s playing outstanding basketball. They’re handling KR’s pressure and doing whatever it takes to stay in the game. Marta Lockwood has 10 points, including two 3-pointers for the Braves.

2:00: After one quarter, KR leads 10-9. Shawnee took its first lead of the game at 9-8 with a minute remaining.

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Live updates from Greenon-Carroll girls hoops game

1:20: Carroll wins 50-33. Allie Turner had a game-high 23 points for Greenon. Kelley Austria had 16 points for Carroll.

12:59: After three quarters, Carroll leads 36-18.

12:35: A whopping 10 points total were scored in the second quarter. Carroll leads 22-11.

12:14: After one quarter, Carroll leads 17-6. Kelley Austria has nine points for the Patriots. Allie Turner has five of Greenon’s six points. They’re struggling to handle the ball against Carroll’s 2-2-1 trapping press.

The good news for the Knights is they’re already in the single bonus.

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Daily Tournament Fix — Feb. 21

Here’s your daily tournament fix for Saturday, Feb. 21:

Today’s games: D-I — Tecumseh vs. Fairmont, 1:30 p.m., at Troy High School; D-II — Greenon vs. Carroll, Noon, and Kenton Ridge vs. Shawnee, 1:30, at Vandalia Butler High School; D-III — Greeneview vs. Waynesville, 4:30, at Wilmington High School, Triad vs. Anna, Noon, Twin Valley South High School; D-IV — Mechanicsburg vs. Houston, 1:30 p.m., and Catholic Central vs. Riverside, 4:30 p.m. at Sidney High School; Cedarville vs. Arcanum, 3:30 p.m., Brookville High School.

Short Takes: Tecumseh’s Jill Steinbrunner is fifth in the CBC in assists with 4.2 per game, while senior Brooke Hayden is fifth in blocks at 1.9. … Fairmont won a share of the GWOC Central Division with Beavercreek. It was the Firebirds’ first conference title since 2006. The squads only losses are to Beavercreek and defending D-I state champ Mount Notre Dame — twice. … Greenon’s Allie Turner leads the CBC in scoring at 29.4 points per game. Teammate Kyra Dorney leads the CBC in rebounding at 10.2 per game. … Kenton Ridge has fallen to Carroll and Tipp City in the sectional finals in back-to-back seasons. They’re hoping to make their first District game since the 2006 season. … Nine of the 11 teams in the D-III sectional at Twin Valley South. Triad’s reward for going 10-5 at the time of the tourney draw? A No. 9 seed. They play Anna, which beat Tri-County North 55-33.

Live blogs: We’ll be live-blogging both the Greenon/Carroll girls game, as well as the Shawnee/Kenton Ridge game from the D-II Vandalia-Butler sectional.

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On this date in area sports history…

On this date 17 years ago, Feb. 21, 1992, the News-Sun published a story about pastor Dave Dernlan, who coached wrestlers in a converted garage in downtown West Liberty in his spare time.

His sons — Jeff, Steve, Matt and Tim — collected nine state titles in seven years.

Published in the Feb. 21, 1992 edition of the News-Sun:

PASTOR GOES TO MAT TO PROMOTE WRESTLING, LOVE AND FRIENDSHIPS

by Rob Oller, News-Sun Sports Writer

WEST LIBERTY - There are no stained glass windows, only greasy panes streaked by years of grime.

No paintings of Jesus, but posters of other heavyweights adorn the walls.

The participants in this weeknight gathering spend much of the time on their knees, but not in prayer.

It’s a service of sorts at a service station.

Dave Dernlan, 45, considers the five hours he spends a week with high school wrestlers at Dick’s Garage in downtown West Liberty to be almost as important as his”other” job - pastor at Grace Chapel, a non-denominational church in this rural town.

In fact, the 1 1/2-hour sessions held on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings - Dave leads a Bible study and prayer meeting on Wednesdays at the church or there’d be wrestling then, too - are the closest some of these athletes get to a church.

Stories have already been written on”the Garage,” a large, square room where owner Dick McDaniel, a mechanic, used to house his tools until he and Dernlan converted it into a wrestling practice site in 1985.

“My oldest son (Jeff) said he wanted to win a state championship, so we set this up and it just grew,” said Dernlan, who has watched his four sons - Jeff, Steve, Matt and Tim - collect nine state titles in seven years.

“Some nights we have 30 kids here. They come from Columbus, Lebanon, Dayton, Versailles,” Dernlan said.

“We’ve even had some St. Ed’s kids here,” he added, referring to Cleveland powerhouse Lakewood St. Edward.

On a Monday night last week, a special guest made an appearance - Ken Chertow, a Penn State graduate, Ohio State assistant wrestling coach and friend of Jeff Dernlan who competed for the United States in the 114.5 weight class at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.

The wrestling here is brutal, tougher than most high school team practices, which explains why the best come.

“Every year we have anywhere from three to five state champions and 15 place winners,” Dernlan said.

Impressive, but the pastor would trade all the victories for one save.

“The idea is to build friendships so we can impact their life for the Lord. That’s our primary concern, to be their friend and build bridges into their life,” Dernlan said.

The Dernlans have all served as construction workers on that bridge. They continue doing so at Liberty College in Virginia, where Jeff is an assistant coach, Steve is a junior and Matt a freshman.

Tim, the youngest, is a West Liberty-Salem junior who furiously takes on all comers here, then jokes with them after the drills.

“This is a good opportunity to meet new friends. In a tournament, you wrestle a guy and that’s it. Here, you get to know them,” said Tim, a two-time state champion at 103 and 20-1 this season at 112.

Super Bowl victory interviews aren’t the only time champions credit God for their success.

After winning his state titles, Dernlan said he pursued excellence to fulfill the gift God gave him.

In the Garage, he doesn’t stop and preach between practice partners.

“When it comes up I talk about it, but you can’t force it,” he said.

Dave agreed: “We establish friendships with the kids and that’s not going to change, no matter what.”

“He likes to help people out with their wrestling and their problems,” Tim said of his father.

Brett Henderson, a 125-pound junior and state runner-up at Graham with a 19-4 record this season, has visited the Garage since the seventh grade.

“I just think of (Dave Dernlan) as another guy,” Henderson said.”He doesn’t act any different than any other coach.”

Except for the language.

“We all try to watch our language around him, and when somebody says something, he gets corrected,” Henderson said.

“In seven years there’s probably been one cuss word. They know the flavor of the room,” Dernlan said.”We try to work harder than anyone in the state, and we do it clean.”

Tressa Lavender, who drives her son Chad the 50 minutes from Casstown, Ohio, to West Liberty three times a week, appreciates the clean, businesslike atmosphere of the Garage.

“I trust (Dave) a lot,” she said.”I just hope he keeps it going another year after Tim leaves.”

Chad, a sophomore at Miami East would be crushed if the Garage closed shop before he becomes a senior.

“If I have any problems I talk to (Dernlan) about anything,” said Lavender, who is 26-3.”He teaches me a lot and doesn’t stay on just one person.”

Asked whether he ever thinks of Dernlan as a pastor, Lavender replied,”Not really. I think of him as a coach, mainly.”

Dernlan wouldn’t want it any other way. The idea is not to scare kids off with religion, but to love and encourage them, gaining their trust along the way.

“Try to be their friend, then if the Lord gives us opportunities to share about him, we take full advantage of that,” Dernlan explained.

Maybe the Garage isn’t church, but it’s a sanctuary all the same.

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Daily Tournament Fix — Feb. 20

Here’s your daily tournament fix for Thursday, Feb. 20:

Tonight’s games: None. The games will resume tomorrow, Feb. 21, with Mechanicsburg, Catholic Central, Cedarville, Tecumseh, Greenon, Kenton Ridge and Shawnee all in action on Saturday.

Similar styles: Eighth-seeded Catholic Central (9-11) will face off with seventh-seeded Riverside, which was 6-6 at the time of the draw, in a first round D-IV game at Sidney High School at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

“They’re a lot like us,” said Irish coach David Schlicher. “They’ve got two post players and a good wing. It’s going to an evenly-matched game.”

Schlicher said getting a tournament win would be huge for his program.

“It would be huge, but I don’t think we’ve had a signature win yet that I think we can have,” Schlicher said. “We’ve been a little more consistent. We’ve got to score high-40s or low-50s to have a chance.”

A tough challenge: Greenon will face a tough task in their second round tournament game at D-II Vandalia Butler against Carroll at Noon on Saturday.

“We’re going to have to play well,” said Greenon coach Gary Falkenbach. “They’re so defense-minded. They’re going to try to hold you under 40 points. They play well in the half court. I’m anxious to play. I want to see how we do against the competition.”

The Patriots are 14-7 this season, despite losing two seniors who both went on to play D-I college basketball. They have a tough freshman point guard in Kelley Austria, who leads the team with 9.8 points per game. They’ve also got seven seniors who have played in all kinds of big games in their careers, including the D-II regional finals last season.

“They know how to win big games,” Falkenbach said. “They’re right there with Alter and C-J all the time.”

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On this date in area sports history…

On this date 10 years ago, Feb. 20, 1999, the Indian Lake wrestling team beat the reigning D-II state champs Graham in the sectional finals 191.5 to 188.5.

The Falcons, under coach Jeff Jordan, have won the state title every season since 2001. The Falcons haven’t lost a sectional final since.

Published in the Feb. 21, 1999 edition of the Springfield News-Sun:

INDIAN LAKE TOPPLES GRAHAM

REIGNING STATE CHAMP BEATEN OUT IN SECTIONAL.

By Chris Freeman, News-Sun Sports Editor

WEST LIBERTY — For years, opponents have taken their best shots at Graham’s wrestling team, trying to knock the Falcons out of the top spot at the sectional tournament.

They took their best cradles, front headlocks, firemans and whizzers, too, but none had been able to dethrone the defending state champions.

Saturday night, Jack Beuschlein changed all that.

The junior 275-pounder from Indian Lake claimed the West-Libery Salem Division II sectional crown with a pin over Dayton Christian’s Aaron Akins to give the Lakers the team championship over Graham, the school’s first sectional title since the 1984-85 season.

“Nobody likes Graham — that’s not exactly a secret,” Beuschlein said.”We wanted to beat them. I’m just real glad I was able to help the team accomplish that.”

Beuschlein’s win gave the Lakers 191.5 team points to edge Graham’s 188.5. Both schools will send 10 wrestlers on the district meet at Wilmington next weekend.

Benjamin Logan was third with 128 points. Urbana finished fifth, Kenton Ridge sixth, Bellefontaine seventh and Greenon 10th.

The finals became a showcase for the Lakers and Falcons, with Graham holding a half-point lead over Indian Lake. Each team would win six of the 10 championship and consolation finals, but the Lakers were able to get two pins, a technical fall and a major decision along the way for bonus points, while Graham scored two technical falls and a major decision.

“Indian Lake can get a lot of pins and they wrestled well,” Graham coach Ron McCunn said. “This is a tough tournament. The way you draw pin points and bonuses can determine the outcome.”

The two swapped the lead throughout the finals, with Graham holding a three-point edge going into the heavyweight match. That meant Beuschlein just needed a win to secure the team title for Indian Lake.

He picked up a pair of takedowns to edge to a 5-1 lead in the second period, then was able to turn the bigger Akins and settle for the pin in 3:36. Beuschlein leapt up and pointed to the Graham crowd, then was mobbed by teammates after his hand was raised in victory.

“Our coach told us all week we knew how good we were and we could beat Graham,” Beuschlein said.”Today, he kept reminding us we’re good. And we were.”

“It’s fantastic,” Indian Lake Coach Bill Fulton said.”We’re real happy. Graham is the top gun, and we’re out to be the top gun. It’s nice, but now we’ve got to continue. We can’t rest on our laurels. We want a district title.”

Indian Lake got three other sectional titles along the way, with Josh Klofta pinning to claim the 130-pound crown, Anthony Jenkins racking up a tech fall in the 140 final and Philip Mackesy pinning Kenton Ridge’s Rick Glass to win at 145.

Graham won five sectional titles on the night, led by sophomore Josh Wooton at 103. Wooton used a strong upper body attack to wear down Indian Lake’s Ty Klofta by a 9-3 count. The pair met in the season-opening Graham Invitational, with Wooton beating the freshman with a pin.

“Josh, he’s ready for the (state) tournament,” McCunn said.”(Brad) Trostel is ready. (Justin) Knull is ready. They’re sound.”

Trostel won the 119 title with a major decision over Benjamin Logan’s Kyle Seeley, while Knull dominated Indian Lake’s Eric Everhart with a tech fall in the 160 final. Evan Garver claimed the 152 title by decision, and Jeff Rice earned a tech fall over Indian Lake’s Mikal Dodds at 215.

Ben Logan qualified eight wrestlers to the district, led by titlist Adam Cronkleton at 112, though he was given everything he could handle in an 8-2 win in the final over Graham freshman Bryce Markley.

Kenton Ridge was just as excited with its day as junior Nick Harshbarger won the title at 171 pounds with a pin of Ben Logan’s Dusty Stout. Five of the seven Cougars advanced.

“My first-round kid weighed less than me, but I knew I was OK then,” Harshbarger said.”I was nervous after that, but this feels great.”

In a sectional that stayed mostly to form _ just eight of the 47 seeds through 215 did not get out _ the lone surprise was Bellefontaine sophomore Brett Linkinhoker being upset by Valley View’s Travis Parker in the consolation semifinal at 160, keeping Linkinhoker from qualifying.

Bellefontaine did provide the most thrilling match, though, in the 189-pound final. Senior Garth Price was taken to his back three times in the first period and fell behind, 11-0,before rallying for a 14-11 victory.

Urbana’s ray of sunshine came at 125 pounds, where Nathan Snapp upset top-seeded Clayton Errett of Graham in the final, 10-8. Snapp used a five-point move in the second period to take the lead.

Division I

XENIA — North’s Brent Upshaw and Jason Smith each punched their tickets to the district meet with wins at the Xenia sectional.

Smith reached the finals at 140 before falling to Tecumseh’s Jeremy Snyder, whiile Upshaw placed third at 135.

Tecumseh finished fifth in the team standings, with North 10th and South 12th out of 13 teams. Wayne won the sectional going away, with Vandalia-Butler second and Piqua third.

Division III

CAMDEN — Catholic Central’s Eric Wagner claimed the sectional title at 171 pounds to lead five Irish district qualifiers at the Preble Shawnee sectional.

Wagner, ranked third in the Brakeman report, pounded Tri-County North’s Brad Statzer, ranked 20th, with a 26-11 tech fall in the finals. Phil Moorman placed third at 152 for the Irish while Nick Heinzen (112), Dave Lohrer (160) and Ken Bohn (275) all took fourth to qualify for the Xenia district next wekend. Central placed sixth in the team standings. Oakwood won the sectional, with Tri-County North second.

COVINGTON — Nick Hoffer and Brad Flora secured sectional titles as Mechanicsburg qualified six wrestlers to the district meet at the Covington sectional.

Hoffer, who was stunningly bounced from the sectional last year, won at 152 while Flora cruised to the 112 title. Travis Johnson (103), Steve Showalter (130), Bill Kiser (135) and Brad Ferryman (215) all finished fourth.

West Liberty-Salem took third in the team standings while Mechanicsburg was fourth and Triad ninth. Versailles won the sectional title, with Carlisle second..

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Florida stops drug-testing program

From the Associated Press:

Maybe Florida’s pilot steroid testing program scared high school athletes away from performance-enhancing drugs.

Or maybe performance-enhancing drugs were never a major issue in the state’s schools. Whatever the case, the testing program has been killed, at least for now, but not just because it found only one steroid user among 600 teens tested.

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Out of tragedy, sportsmanship has a shining moment

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

At first, Johntell Franklin just wanted to watch his friends play basketball.

“I wanted to go and support my team,” said Franklin, an 18-year-old senior at Milwaukee Madison High School. “I’m a captain. I set an example.”

A somber cloud hung over the Knights as they played DeKalb, Ill., High School on Saturday, Feb. 7. News spread quickly that Franklin’s mother, Carlitha, had died earlier that day after a five-year battle with cervical cancer. She was 39.

As it turned out, Franklin wound up teaching everyone in the Madison gymnasium a lesson - about friendship, about the value of sports, about themselves.

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Where are they now: Artie Taylor

The colorfully-clothed Artie Taylor, a former men’s basketball assistant coach to Bill Brown at Wittenberg, is in his second season as head coach at Ohio Dominican University in Columbus.

The Panthers went 19-11 in his first season, and they are 14-15 this season.

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Daily Tournament Fix — Feb. 19

Here’s your daily tournament fix for Thursday, Feb. 19:

Tonight’s games: D-II — None.

Wednesday’s results: WLS fell to Versailles in a Division III first round tournament game at Twin Valley South, while Graham beat Ben Logan in their third game of the year in a D-II game at Vandalia.

A big win: After two tough losses to Ben Logan in the CBC Mad River Division, Graham finally got them when in mattered most — in the D-II tournament.

“It’s just awesome,” said Graham coach Christie Dodane. “It feels awesome. We were down 11 in the third quarter. After having previously losing twice, the kids could’ve rolled over and they didn’t.”

“I knew that we could,” Dodane continued. “It’s nice to see them come through.”

In their last game at home against Ben Logan, Graham saw the Raiders nail seven 3-pointers. Taking that away proved to be the difference on Wednesday.

They’ll face Indian Lake (15-5) in the second round, another Mad River Division team they’ve played twice this season. On Dec. 18, they beat the Lakers 63-53, but fell 61-55 on Jan. 23.

Key player: Darcie Zirkle, Graham. She came off the bench for 15 points, nailing three 3-pointers for the Falcons.

A tough start: West Liberty-Salem struggled from the opening tip against Versailles. They trailed 10-2 early and couldn’t get back to within striking distance.

“We didn’t execute offensively, we didn’t get very many shots and turned the ball over,” said WLS coach Dennis McIntosh. “They took advantage of it. We kept it at 6-2 quite awhile and you think if we got it within two or back to even, maybe we could’ve made it a little different, but they’ve just go so many players. We just couldn’t execute on offense or get any shots off. We knew with their pressure, Haleigh was going to have to handle the ball a lot today and that keeps us from getting her the ball off of screens that we like.”

Versailles nabbed the early lead and never let up, especially on defense. They made WL-S work for every shot and every position on the floor, bumping every cutter each time they cut through the lane.

“Once we got the lead, we got our confidence going and got our defense going,” said Versailles coach Jacki Stonebraker. “I told the girls ‘The defense is going to fuel the offense.’ That’s exactly what they did. Our defense was stellar. You can’t play better defense than that.”

Tough post:Megan Campbell had 23 points, mostly in the paint, for Versailles. It seemed like every time she touched the ball, it was going in the hoop.

“She was huge for us tonight,” Stonebraker said. “We got tons of touches in her hands and if she wasn’t getting the ball, she was getting tons of rebounds.She played phenomenal.”

No title reminders: Stonebraker didn’t remind her team about trying to defend last year’s state title before they’re first sectional game.

“We don’t talk about the state title too much,” Stonebraker said.”That was last year. It’s in the past. These girls want to make a name for themselves this year. What I did tell them is that Twin Valley South is our home away from home. We play three games here a season for the last four years. We can’t take it for granted that we’re going to win, but we feel like we’re at home here.”

Saturday lookahead: After taking two days off, there are a bunch of tournament games coming up on Saturday, including the start of the D-IV tournaments at Sidney and Brookville. Mechanicsburg, Catholic Central, Cedarville, Tecumseh, Greenon, Kenton Ridge and Shawnee will all be in action on Saturday.

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On this date in area sports history …

Six years ago on this date, Feb. 19, 2003, the South boys basketball team stomped Miamisburg in the first round of the sectional tournament. Complete story on the jump.

Published Feb. 20, 2003

SOUTH PILLAGES VIKINGS

By BRIAN PLASTERS, News-Sun Sports Writer

FAIRBORN — South boys basketball coach Larry Ham says his team is “tournament ready.”

On Wednesday night at the Ervin J. Nutter Center, Miamisburg had zero room to argue.

South used 20 points and 19 rebounds from Nate Miller and a game-high 23 points from Isiah Carson to defeat the Vikings 91-43 in the first round of the Division I sectional.

“This is what we wait for every year,” Carson said. “This is when the hard work pays off.”

Besides being a sectional win, it was also the 200th career win for Ham.

The Wildcats (16-3) now advance to face Xenia in the sectional semifinals Feb. 28 at 8 p.m. South defeated the Buccaneers 48-45 at Xenia earlier this season.

Entering the game, Miamisburg coach Frank Back wanted to play conservatively and make the Wildcats shoot over the Vikings’ 2-3 zone.

To a point that worked, as South hit just 3 of 12 3-pointers. But the Wildcats held a commanding 63-39 rebounding edge, giving them an almost unlimited supply of second chance points in the paint.

“Our hopes were we could keep (South) off the boards and slow down the transition, and obviously that didn’t work tonight,” Back said.

It also didn’t help that Miamisburg (10-11) only shot 26.3 percent from the floor, including 7 of 26 from behind the arc.

“They wanted to live and die by the 3, and we wanted to pressure that,” Carson said.

In the first half, Miamisburg connected on six 3-pointers, keeping the game respectable at 39-25. But South shifted to a stronger man-to-man defense in the second half, and the Vikings hit only one more trey the rest of the game.

“At halftime we said `Here’s the deal, no more 3’s,’ ” Ham said. “We just decided to play straight up man-to-man defense.

With an 11-day layoff between games and only one day of practice this week, the Wildcats had every chance to say they were rusty. But Miller had another option.

“We still shot every day, even though we didn’t have school,” he said. “We’ve been mad (that we didn’t get to play.) We’re basketball die-hards. We just want to play whenever we can.”

After the starters got their three quarters, the second-string Wildcats limited the Vikings to 14 points in the final eight minutes, maintaining a 35- to 45-point lead before settling on the final margin.

Ham was just as pleased with the play of bench players Jason Allen and Tyrice White as he was with the victory. The two players were promoted from the junior varsity and both provided quality minutes throughout the game.

White scored 10 points and Allen picked up two rebounds.

“Those two kids are really going to have to step up. That’s why we wanted to give those kids a lot of minutes early,” Ham said.

South athletic director Greg Newland said tickets to both the boys and girls upcoming sectional games will be on sale from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the South athletic office. All tickets are $5.

First, however, is a regular season game at Troy tonight that has major implications for the Greater Western Ohio Conference Eastern Division title.

SOUTH (91) — Ball 2 0-0 6, Jones 3 0-0 6, Vance 1 0-0 3, Miller 9 2-5 20, Thomas 4 3-4 11, Carson 9 5-8 23, White 4 2-4 10, Grant 6 0-0 12. Totals: 38 12-21 91.

MIAMISBURG (43) — Schomburg 3 1-2 10, Kierstead 3 1-2 8, Blevins 0 0-1 0, Mangen 1 0-0 3, Kitchen 1 1-2 4, Wells 1 0-0 2, Soriano 0 2-2 2, Whipps 5 1-2 12, Simmons 1 0-0 2. Totals: 15 6-11 43.

South 19 39 64 91

Miamisburg 10 25 30 43

3-point goals: South 3 (Ball 2, Vance), Miamisburg 7 (Schomburg 3, Kierstead, Mangen, Kitchen, Whipps).

Records: South 16-3, Miamisburg 10-11.

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Live updates WLS-Versailles girls hoops game

7:11: Versailles wins 49-35. It was an even fourth quarter, but West Liberty-Salem just couldn’t muster enough points to get back into the ballgame.

6:55: After three quarters, Versailles leads 40-28. WLS went on an 11-4 run to pull within nine, but Versailles outscored them 6-3 the rest of the quarter.

6:33: At halftime, Versailles leads 30-14. They held WLS to just eight points in the quarter. Megan Campbell has 16 at halftime for Versailles, and had 10 points in the quarter. They’re shooting 70 percent from the floor.

6:18: After one quarter, Versailles leads 12-6. Versailles is doing a great job being patient on offense. They’re possessions are lasting 45 seconds to a minute each, mostly resulting in layups. The Tigers are also dominating the offensive glass, scoring four points off offensive rebounds.

West Liberty-Salem was stuck on two points for nearly five minutes until Peterson hit two buckets in the final minute.

6:07: Game is ready to tip-off. Haleigh Hickenbottom, Danielle King, Becka Peterson, Christine Park and Brook Mayse will start for West Liberty-Salem.

5:39: We’re 20 minutes from tip-off here at Twin Valley South for the Division III tournament game between eighth-ranked West Liberty-Salem and defending state champs.

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Watch this amazing shot from a Cincinnati prep game

From the Cincinnati Enquirer:

You might be seeing the incredible full-court shot from this week’s Northwest-Walnut Hills game on ESPN’s “SportsCenter.” But don’t wait. You can watch it here right now.

Northwest junior Cameron Bryant made the shot with one second left to tie the game and send it into overtime.

After a Walnut Hills player missed a free throw, Bryant grabbed the rebound, turned and flung the ball with one hand.

It swished the net.

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A new way of looking at basketball statistics

If you’re a fan of Moneyball and The Blind Side, and the author of those two books, Michael Lewis, read this story in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine on the Houston Rockets’ Shane Battier and the new way some are approaching statistics and player evaluation in the NBA.

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Athletes with legal guardians left on the sidelines

LANCASTER — Somewhere among Fisher Catholic’s 75 sophomores is a girl who has been told she isn’t entitled to the same rights as the rest of her schoolmates.

Confidentiality restrictions prevented Jim Silcott from revealing the girl’s name, but the Fisher Catholic principal was free to describe her plight: Now living with legal guardians, the sophomore moved to Ohio in 2008 and left her parents behind. She has voiced a desire to participate in sports, Silcott said, but the Ohio High School Athletic Association, in no uncertain terms, has told her ‘No.’

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Brawl erupts at prep hoops game in Alabama

From the Birmingham (Ala.) News:

MONTGOMERY — The AHSAA Class 5A Boys State Basketball Playoffs Round 2 game ended today with minutes remaining in the fourth period when a fight erupted, spilled into the stands and forced a forfeit.

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Daily Tournament Fix — Feb. 18

Here’s your daily preview of tournament games for tonight, Feb. 18:

Tonight’s games: D-II — Graham vs. Benjamin Logan at Vandalia Butler, 7:30 p.m.; D-III — West Liberty-Salem vs. Versailles, 6 p.m. at Twin Valley South.

Short Takes: Last season, Versailles beat WLS 38-15 in a D-III sectional final game en route to winning the state title. … Ben Logan and Graham met twice in the regular season. The Raiders won both games, including the second game 62-60 on a last second shot in double OT. … The Falcons have lost two in a row after winning four straight. … Tiffany Rader (14.4) and Abby Small (12.7) each average double figures for the Raiders.

Player to watch: Haleigh Hickenbottom, West Liberty-Salem. The Tigers’ senior guard has been a key cog in four straight OHC titles. She provides leadership that makes the Tigers go. Her teammates look to her in big situations, and will definitely do so tonight.

Tuesday’s results: The KR girls took it to Bellefontaine, but Urbana and Springfield couldn’t pull off upsets against Carroll and Lebanon.

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Inspring prep hoops story

Check out this story from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel about a Wisconsin basketball player who lost his mom to cancer and what his opponents and teammates did to honor her.

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On this date in area sports history …

Seven years ago on this date, Feb. 18, 2002, Southeastern looked ahead to the postseason after a 20-0 regular season in boys basketball. Complete story on the jump:

Published Feb. 18, 2002

SE READY FOR SECOND SEASON

CEDARVILLE ALSO IN TOURNEY ACTION TONIGHT

By KERMIT ROWE, News-Sun Sports Editor

Southeastern coach Aaron Perry probably summed up the transition from regular season to postseason best moments after his team had wrapped up a perfect 20-0 season with a 72-60 win over Mechanicsburg this past Tuesday in South Charleston.

“Twenty-and-0 is nice tonight,” said Perry, “but when they tip it off next Saturday, everybody is going to be 0-0.”

And so we head into this area’s prep version of March Madness, even if it is not March yet. Two area teams, Cedarville and Northeastern, will tip it off tonight. Cedarville will meet Miami Valley, which caused a controversy when it was voted the Vandalia Butler Division IV sectional fourth seed despite playing a weaker schedule. We’ll see tonight at 8 who should have gotten it.

Northeastern, meanwhile, draws the unenviable assignment of top-seeded Miami East at the University of Dayton Division III sectional (7:30 tipoff).

For Southeastern, it was the first perfect boys hoops season for that district since 1946 when the school was called South Charleston High School and everyone in town was in a celebrating mood. But now it is over, and it is back to work.

The top-ranked and first-seeded Trojans will play their first sectional game against either Middletown Christian or Mississinawa Valley at Vandalia Butler Saturday at 5:30 p.m. The Trojans have bad memories of sectional openers, getting upset by Newton last season, says Perry.

“We’re a completely different team than last year,” said Perry. “This year we are loaded with senior leadership. We’ll be ready.”

So will Greenon, seeded second at Division II Troy, despite a 42-35 loss to Miami East Friday night in a battle for the Central Buckeye Conference Mad River Division title. There is always the second season.

“We weren’t displeased with our draw,” said Greenon coach Bill Smith. “We felt good that people thought enough of us to give us the second seed. In our bracket, we have three teams that beat us. If we’re going to get down the tournament trail, we’re going to have to play good basketball. Whoever comes out of the tournament is hot at the right time.”

Josh Elliott of Greenon wasn’t worried how the loss to Miami East might affect the confidence of his team.

“It shouldn’t be too bad,” he said. “We’ve got whole week to rest. I guess we’re going to practice at Wittenberg Wednesday to get ready. It’s a whole new season.”

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KR eighth; WLS 10th in girls state poll

The Kenton Ridge High School girls basketball team was ranked No. 8 in the final Division II state poll released Tuesday, Feb. 17. The West Liberty-Salem girls were ranked No. 10 in D-III.

See the complete poll after the jump.

How a state panel of sports writers and broadcasters rates Ohio high school girls basketball teams in the sixth and final weekly Associated Press poll of 2009, by OHSAA divisions, with won-lost record and total points (first-place votes in parentheses):

DIVISION I

1, Cin. Mt. Notre Dame (19) 18-1 263

2, Dublin Coffman (7) 20-0 247

3, Cin. Winton Woods 20-0 201

4, Dresden Tri-Valley 21-0 150

5, W. Chester Lakota W. 18-2 149

6, Delaware Hayes 20-0 129

7, Perrysburg 19-0 112

8, Warren Howland (1) 19-0 82

9, Twinsburg 16-3 52

10, Xenia 18-1 39

Others receiving 12 or more points: 11, Tol. Start 20. 12, Can. McKinley (1) 19. 13, Kettering Fairmont 15. 14, Dublin Scioto 14.

DIVISION II

1, Tipp City Tippecanoe (18) 20-0 263

2, Tiffin Columbian (3) 18-0 227

3, Chillicothe Unioto (2) 20-0 187

4, Lima Bath (1) 17-1 175

5, Kettering Alter (3) 18-2 167

6, Akr. Hoban (1) 17-2 125

7, Warsaw River View 18-2 117

8, KENTON RIDGE 18-2 67

9, Can. S. 19-1 63

10, Geneva 17-2 28

Others receiving 12 or more points: 11, Wapakoneta 23. 12, Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit 19. 13, Salem 17. 14, Shaker Hts. Hathaway Brown 15. 15, Washington C.H. Miami Trace 13.

DIVISION III

1, Marion Pleasant (13) 20-0 261

2, S. Euclid Regina (14) 19-0 256

3, Smithville 19-0 204

4, Findlay Liberty-Benton 18-1 168

5, Oak Hill 17-1 160

6, Millbury Lake 18-0 148

7, Mt. Blanchard Riverdale 18-1 110

8, Andover Pymatuning Valley (1) 19-0 65

9, Genoa Area 15-2 50

10, WEST LIBERTY-SALEM 19-1 41

Others receiving 12 or more points: 11, Amanda-Clearcreek 14.

DIVISION IV

1, Convoy Crestview (15) 18-0 255

2, Berlin Hiland (12) 19-1 253

3, New Bremen (1) 18-1 215

4, Cols. Africentric 16-4 139

5, Delphos St. John’s 16-3 124

6, New Riegel 17-1 112

7, Waterford 18-2 96

8, Shadyside 17-3 79

9, Pettisville 15-3 57

9, Canal Winchester Harvest Prep 17-3 57

Others receiving 12 or more points: 11, Cle. Hts. Lutheran E. 31. 12, Leipsic 24. 13, Carey 17. 14, Troy Christian 16. 15, Delphos Jefferson 15. 16, Ft. Recovery 14.

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Graham band has fans dancing

DanceDance.JPEG

The Graham High School band is one of my favorites in the entire area.

Along with Kenton Ridge, Urbana, Shawnee (led by track coach Mike Garberich) and Cedarville, the Dancing Band from Falconland is always a treat to see perform at halftime of football games or during basketball games.

The Graham band is always playing the latest pop songs — and that’s why I like them so much. On Friday, Feb. 13, the Falcons band played both Coldplay’s ‘Viva La Vida’ and Finger Eleven’s ‘Paralyzer’.

Click the link below for a video of one young fan enjoying the Falcon band.

GrahamDancer.mov

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Coaches now allowed to stand in high school volleyball

From the National Federation of State High School Associations:

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (January 23, 2009) - One of several new rules changes adopted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Volleyball Rules Committee will permit head coaches to stand during play. The changes, which were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors, will take effect with the 2009-10 season.

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Daily Tournament Fix — Feb. 17

Here’s your daily preview of tournament games for tonight, Feb. 17:

Tonight’s games: D-I — Lebanon vs. Springfield at Trotwood-Madison, 7 p.m.; D-II — Carroll vs. Urbana, 6 p.m. and Kenton Ridge vs. Bellefontaine, 7:30 p.m. at Vandalia Butler.

Short Takes: Lebanon is 3-4 in the month of February, grabbing wins over Norwood, Cin. Taft and West Carrollton. They lost five straight in January. … Both Lebanon and Springfield finished last in their divisions in the Greater Western Ohio Conference. … The Wildcats have lost six straight. … Maranda Boddie-Cannon leads the GWOC in blocks at 2.6 per game and is third in rebounding with 9.1 per game. … Kenton Ridge’s only losses came to Tippecanoe this season. … Saira House and Mariah Harris combined for 10 steals a game. … Kelsey Eastham averages 14.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game for Urbana. … Carroll advanced to the D-II regional finals last season. … The Patriots graduated two Division I college players in Brogan Berry (Harvard) and Shante Jones (Iowa), but return seven experienced varsity players.

Player to watch: Carli Swartz, Kenton Ridge. Sophomore is averaging 10 points per game and is shooting 48.5 percent from the field. She’s also grabbing 5.7 rebounds a game. She’s a steady force for the Cougars under the basket, and if she gets it going along with House and Harris, KR will be tough to guard.

Monday’s results: Southeastern took care of Middletown Christian, but Northeastern couldn’t hang with Middletown Madison.

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On this date in area sports history …

Eight years ago on this date, Feb. 17, 2001, the Wittenberg men’s basketball team ended Wooster’s 44-game home winning streak. Complete story on the jump.

WITTENBERG POWERS UP FOR NCAC TITLE

ENDS WOOSTER’S HOME WIN STREAK

By KEITH WALTHER, News-Sun Sports Writer

WOOSTER — This was smash-mouth football, basketball-style. Pure power in the paint.

The Wittenberg Tigers had their way with top-ranked Wooster Saturday night, using a 58-25 rebounding margin to blow away the Scots, 94-80, and claim the North Coast Athletic Conference regular-season title.

Adding to the memories was the fact that the victory snaps the longest home win streak in all of college basketball (44 games) and halts Wooster’s run of three consecutive NCAC titles. And Wittenberg, the last team to beat the Scots in Wooster, 66-53, on Jan. 18. 1997, will have the homecourt advantage throughout next week’s NCAC Tournament, which begins Tuesday.

If there was any doubt the Tigers are for real, it was erased on this night as they dominated play throughout and left the capacity Timken Gymnasium crowd of 3,400 in a state of stunned silence.

“They’re good _ they are very good,” said Wooster forward Matt Smith of the Tigers.

Kevin Longley led the way for the Tigers, 21-2 and 15-1 NCAC, with 18 points and 17 rebounds _ one off his career high. Fellow big man Chris Fillmore had 18 points _ including Witt’s first eight markers _ and senior Ryan Taylor pumped in 17.

No one all season long has been able to stop our inside people and when they are playing well, we are tough to beat,'' Taylor said.It’s been a long road the last four years with a lot of disappointment. But we got it done tonight and it’s a great, great feeling.”

We just came in here extremely confident,'' Longley said.They were the No. 1 team, but we thought we had the better team. They would have only one post player in there at times and our eyes would light up. I knew I could score every time. Everyone just went after it (on the boards). We knew we could pound them inside.”

Meanwhile, freshman point guard Mark Borland was getting it done on the perimeter, running the Witt show to perfection. The 5-foot-8 sparkplug tallied 17 points, dished out five assists and held Wooster’s all-conference guard Antwyan Reynolds to 5 of 19 shooting (13 points).

We were not able to defend them at the basket ... and Borland had a great game for them. His penetration really hurt us,'' said Wooster Coach Steve Moore, whose team fell to 21-3 and 14-2, with both league losses coming to the Tigers.Overall, I thought Wittenberg just played an outstanding game.”

One statistic, in particular, reached out and grabbed Wittenberg Coach Bill Brown’s attention _ the Tigers recorded 23 offensive boards.

We did a tremendous job going after the ball. We have four guys with nice size we can rotate in and we have the utmost confidence in all of them,'' Brown said.Wooster got into a little bit of foul trouble and they got tired, too.”

In all, Wittenberg’s forwards and centers compiled 73 points and 46 rebounds in the game. But, it took them awhile to wear the Scots down.

In fact, at the onset, it appeared as if Wooster was well on its way to avenging its 90-83 loss at Wittenberg on Jan. 20. The Scots held a 17-8 lead seven minutes into the contest and still led, 33-26, with eight minutes left in the half when the Tigers began to flex their muscles inside.

A driving hoop by Borland sparked a 10-2 Wittenberg run, giving the Tigers a 36-35 lead with 5:27 left. But the Scots surged back to regain the lead, 44-38, after a Steve Thompson steal and lay-up with 3:01 left in the half.

From that point, however, it was all Wittenberg.

The Tigers closed the half with an 8-0 burst and then opened the second half with another 8-0 run that gave them a 54-44 advantage with 18:11 to play and prompted the Wittenberg faithful that had made the long trip north to chant to the Wooster student section, “Why so quiet?”

And it was … but the Tigers were just beginning to make big noise on the court.

After the Scots answered with five straight points, Witt went on another 8-0 run to go up, 62-49. Later, a trey from the left baseline by Taylor extended the gap to 74-60 with 8:58 remaining _ and the Scots’ home streak was in peril.

The law of averages was on our side,'' Brown said of Wooster's streak.At some point, they had to start thinking that maybe this was the night it would end.”

It would be.

Another Taylor three-pointer from the same spot on the floor pushed the Tigers’ lead to 20 points, 87-67, with 5:55 left. From there, the Tigers simply ran the clock out.

It's really exciting because, obviously, Wooster is a nearly impossible place to play and win,'' Borland said.So ending their streak adds a little more meaning to our NCAC championship.”

But Borland, Brown and the rest of the Tigers say they have no plans to rest on their laurels.

Certainly this is a great win for us,'' Brown said.But our next goal is to win the conference tournament championship. Yes, we want to be in the NCAA Tournament, but I won’t address that right now. That is not our mindset. Our focus is going to be on the conference tournament.”

Though few would say it aloud, the Tigers seem well aware that Saturday’s victory would seemingly seal at at-large NCAA bid.

I would think they would be in now,'' said Smith, who led all scorers with 21 points.And I hope that both of us get in and are able to represent our conference.”

We still have one more big one _ the conference tournament,'' Taylor said.That’s the one that gets you the automatic bid so you don’t have to worry about anything. But yeah, I would think it would be hard to keep us out now.”

WITTENBERG (94) _ R. Taylor 6-10 2-2 17, Longley 9-14 0-0 18, Fillmore 6-9 6-6 18, Rustad 0-4 0-0 0, Borland 5-11 7-10 17, Mossing 0-3 4-6 4, Krauss 0-2 0-0 0, Emmons 0-0 0-0 0, Harris 2-3 3-5 7, Walker 1-6 3-3 5, Gratsch 3-3 2-4 8. Totals: 32-65 27-36 94.

WOOSTER (80) _ Smith 7-12 4-4 21, Thompson 6-11 0-0 15, Nelson 5-10 1-2 11, Reynolds 5-19 1-2 13, Gaubatz 2-6 6-6 11, Mitchell 2-5 0-0 4, Sistrunk 1-1 0-0 2, Carlisle 1-6 1-3 3. Totals: 29-70 13-17 80.

Halftime: Wittenberg, 46-44. Three-point goals: Wittenberg 3-10 (R. Taylor 3-3, Mossing 0-3, Rustad 0-2, Borland 0-1, Krauss 0-1), Wooster 9-25 (Smith 3-5, Thompson 3-5, Reynolds 2-10, Gaubatz 1-2, Nelson 0-2, Mitchell 0-1). Shooting percentages: Wittenberg .492, Wooster .414. Rebounds: Wittenberg 58 (Longley 17), Wooster 25 (Gaubatz 5, Nelson 5). Total fouls: Wittenberg 24, Wooster 28. Fouled out: Sistrunk. Technical fouls: None. Assists: Wittenberg 9 (Borland 5), Wooster 16 (Reynolds 6). Turnovers: Wittenberg 14, Wooster 5. Officials: John Jasin, Bob Morris, Greg Zink. Records: Wittenberg 21-2, 15-1 NCAC; Wooster 21-3, 14-2. A: 3,400.

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CBC Kenton Trail boys race still wide-open

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SPRINGFIELD — Tippecanoe trailed just once — at 2-0 early in the first quarter — in their victory over Shawnee on Monday, Feb. 16.

The loss puts Shawnee in a first-place tie with Kenton Ridge in the Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division with three games to play.

“We didn’t shoot it well and they put us in situations where we had kids shooting the ball who normally don’t shoot it as much,” said Shawnee coach Chris McGuire. “We shot a low percentage, in the 20s. You’ve got to score some points. At the same time, we were bad defensively, out of position a lot of the time. I give them all the credit. They just took it to us and we had nothing to counter it.”

The Braves have conference games remaining against Stebbins, Indian Lake and Graham. Kenton Ridge has games against Stebbins, Bellefontaine and Northwestern. If they falter in a big way, Tippecanoe and Tecumseh are each still alive to gain a possible share of the title.

It was the first of four games this week for the Braves. They travel to Catholic Central today before they finish off their CBC schedule.

“That’s tough when you have all these games, but that’s what good teams do — they rise to the occasion,” McGuire said. “If we’re a good team, we’re going to show it this week.”

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Live updates from Shawnee-Tipp boys hoops

9:15: It’s over. Tippecanoe wins 68-45.

9:10: With 2:39 remaining, Tippecanoe leads 62-36.

9:00: After three quarters, Tippecanoe leads 48-28. The Red Devils went on a 6-0 run to start the quarter, taking a 37-15 lead. Brian Marshall’s old-fashioned three-point play to end the quarter put Tipp back up 20.

8:35: At halftime, Tippecanoe leads 31-15. Justin Williams scored all six points in the quarter for the Braves, including just one field goal. The Braves pulled to within eight at 23-15, but Williams acquired his third foul at the 3:06 mark. Without him on the floor, the Red Devils went on an 8-0 run to end the period.

8:19: After one quarter, the Red Devils lead 16-9. Justin Williams has seven of the Braves’ nine points. It’s not the same team we saw against Southeastern last Tuesday.They were smooth and crisp on offense against the Trojans, but tonight they’re less careful with the basketball and are missing easy layups.

8:04: They’re introducing the starting lineups for this key CBC Kenton Trail Division clash. A victory for Shawnee gives them a one-game lead over Kenton Ridge with three games to play. A Tippecanoe win keeps both themselves and Tecumseh alive in the CBC Kenton Trail.

We’ll be updating the score after each quarter.

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Graham still No. 1, Southeastern No. 3 in latest poll

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Unbeaten Graham is a unanimous No. 1 in Division II, and Southeastern stays at No. 3 in Division IV in the latest Associated Press boys basketball poll released Monday, Feb. 16.

The Falcons are one of four unbeaten teams left in the state.

Complete poll on the jump.

How a state panel of sports writers and broadcasters rates Ohio high school boys basketball teams in the sixth of seven weekly Associated Press polls of 2009, by OHSAA divisions, with won-lost record and total points (first-place votes in parentheses):

DIVISION I

1, Cols. Northland (16) 18-1 267

2, Cin. Princeton (8) 16-1 245

3, Middletown (2) 16-1 180

4, Cle. Glenville 15-1 157

5, Can. Timken (1) 17-1 149

6, Cin. Moeller 16-2 146

7, Warren Harding (1) 14-2 98

8, Barberton 16-1 87

9, Dublin Scioto 17-1 36

10, Can. Glenoak 13-4 34

Others receiving 12 or more points: 11, Trotwood-Madison 31. 12, Lorain Admiral King (1) 28. 13, Cin. La Salle 27. 14, Centerville 13. 15, Garfield Hts. 12.

DIVISION II

1, St. Paris Graham (29) 17-0 290

2, Circleville Logan Elm 17-1 236

3, Cin. Indian Hill 16-1 183

4, Akr. SVSM 14-3 180

5, Cle. Benedictine 13-4 124

6, Wilmington 16-2 117

7, Dover 16-2 116

8, Cols. DeSales 15-3 101

9, Day. Thurgood Marshall 15-4 69

10, Chillicothe 14-3 46

Others receiving 12 or more points: 11, St. Bernard Roger Bacon 44. 12, Day. Dunbar 25. 13, Poland Seminary 17. 14, Minerva 13. 15, Cin. Taft 12.

DIVISION III

1, Smithville (25) 17-0 283

2, Findlay Liberty-Benton (3) 15-1 244

3, Casstown Miami E. (1) 16-1 212

4, Anna 17-2 186

5, Ottawa-Glandorf 15-2 163

6, Kirtland 15-1 126

7, Piketon 16-2 84

8, St. Henry 16-2 81

9, Cle. Cent. Cath. 14-3 49

10, Cuyahoga Falls CVCA 14-3 30

Others receiving 12 or more points: 11, Middletown Madison 29. 12, Seaman N. Adams 21. 13, Beverly Ft. Frye 17.

DIVISION IV

1, New Knoxville (24) 18-0 285

2, Berlin Hiland (5) 18-0 263

3, S. Charleston SE 17-1 202

4, Oak Hill 17-2 175

5, Cle. Hts. Lutheran E. 14-2 160

6, Bedford Chanel 12-3 120

7, Newark Cath. 15-3 87

8, Cin. Seven Hills 14-3 57

Day. Jefferson 15-4 57

10, Plymouth 16-1 42

Others receiving 12 or more points: 11, Malvern 41. 12, Delphos St. John’s 29. 13, Worthington Christian 26. 14, Pandora-Gilboa 15. 15, Pettisville 12.

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Witt men get back on track with victory

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After two losses last week to Ohio Wesleyan and Wooster, the Wittenberg men’s basketball team rebounded with an 80-69 non-conference victory over Indiana University-East on Monday, Feb. 16.

Chris Sullivan led the Tigers with 20 points.

The Tigers now sit at 12-11 with two regular-season games to play. They visit Wabash on Wednesday and host Kenyon on Senior Day on Saturday.

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Oscar Robertson, high school teammates finally get their due

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From the Indianapolis Star:

INDIANAPOLIS — OscarRobertson still sees the dirt particles flying around in his mind. The skinny teenager who walked to Indianapolis’ Lockefield Dustbowl, eagerly hoping for a chance to compete on the hard-clay court against those big names from Crispus Attucks High School, will always be a part of him. Sometimes, Robertson recalls, he was even left out of the pickup games. Advertisement Quantcast

Yet it was here, in the early 1950s, that Robertson evolved into the formidable basketball player America remembers — skilled, fearless, versatile. And it was here that Robertson, his friends and future teammates unwittingly began the fight to leave this city’s segregated past, literally, in the dust.

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Daily Tourney Fix — Feb. 16

Throughout the prep boys and girls basketball tournament, we’ll be providing a daily look at games and results throughout the area. This week we’ll look at the sectional girls tournaments, and starting next week, we’ll cover both tournaments.

Tonight’s Games: D-IV — Southeastern (16-4) vs. Middletown Christian (10-10) at Lemon-Monroe High School; D-III — Northeastern (10-10) vs. Middletown Madison (15-5) at Wilmington High School.

Short Takes: Southeastern has won nine of their last 11 games in a row. Of their four losses, two came to West Liberty-Salem and another came to Kenton Ridge — both of which are ranked in the state. … Northeastern has won 10 games for the first time since the 1995-1996 season. Coach Kari Kitchen was in eighth grade at the time. … Middletown Madison has had two five-game winning streaks this season. They’ve won four of their last five, suffering a 58-55 defeat to D-III Wilmington top-seed Waynesville.

Player to watch: Amber Hayslip, SE. The Trojans senior is averaging 10 points and nine rebounds this season. She’s already signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Cedarville University.

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Shinguard rule tweaked in high school soccer.

From the National Federation of State High School Associations

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (February 13, 2009) - In an ongoing focus on risk minimization in high school soccer, an addition to the shinguard policy has been approved.

A year after requiring shinguards to meet National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) standards, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Soccer Rules Committee will now require the front of the shinguard to be permanently marked with the NOCSAE seal and height range, effective in fall 2012.

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On this date in area sports history …

Nine years ago on this date, Feb. 16, 2000, Earlham beat the Wittenberg men for the first time ever in Springfield. Complete story on the jump.

WITTENBERG SHOOK BY QUAKERS

By Ken Paxson, News-Sun Sports Writer

Home is usually very sweet for Wittenberg, but these days things are even going sour on the Tigers’ home floor.

Earlham, which entered Wednesday’s game 0-14 at the HPER Center, handed the Tigers their 26th home loss in the last 17 years, 71-60, in front of about 800 astonished fans.

The win also gave the Quakers, who toppled Wittenberg, 95-88, in triple overtime on Feb. 2, an unprecedented season sweep of the Tigers, who hadn’t lost at home to Earlham since an 86-81 defeat on Dec. 2, 1955.

After staring the season 13-2, Wittenberg has lost four of its last eight games.

“The last couple of weeks we just haven’t been ourselves,” said WU freshman forward B.J. Harris, who turned 19 on Wednesday. “When we get down it’s like we don’t have any more fire. It’s hard to even talk about right now.”

Losing to Earlham did more than embarrass the Tigers, it dropped them into third in the North Coast Athletic Conference standings with just one game left in the regular season. Wittenberg, 17-6 and 11-4 in the NCAC, hosts first-place Wooster, 21-2 and 15-0, Saturday afternoon.

Wabash, 17-6 and 12-3, took advantage of Earlham’s upset and now owns sole possession of second place after a 71-68 win over Ohio Wesleyan on Wednesday.

The top four seeds will host tournament quarterfinal games Tuesday, with the semifinals and final at Wooster on Feb. 25-26, respectively.

The winner of the NCAC tourney gets an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament.

As of right now, third-place Wittenberg would host sixth-place Allegheny — an 81-72 winner over Hiram Wednesday — in the quarters, but the postseason was the last thing on anyone’s mind after losing to Earlham.

Harris hopes that playing arch-rival Wooster will get the Tigers back on track. The Scots ripped Wittenberg, 81-62, in Wooster on Jan. 22.

“Man, if us playing Wooster on our home court after getting beat so bad up there doesn’t bring fire to everybody’s eyes … I wouldn’t even be looking to the postseason,” he said. “It’s got to start Saturday. It’s got to start somewhere.”

Getting started wasn’t a problem for the Tigers Wednesday, as they hit their first three shots and took a 6-0 lead after three minutes.

That, though, is when Wittenberg’s engine began to sputter.

The Wright brothers — guards Jamar and Curtis — got the Quakers, 9-14 and 9-6 in the NCAC, revved up and Earlham quickly erased the lead and pulled away.

Curtis Wright led the emotionally charged Quakers with 10 points and three steals in the first half and Jamar Wright added six points as Earlham shot to a 34-24 halftime advantage.

The duo combined for eight assists and Curtis led the Quakers with 19 points, which helped make up for the lack of production from forward Nathan Stoops, who torched the Tigers for 25 points in their earlier meeting.

Stoops had 12 points Wednesday.

“Beating Wittenberg twice in one year is amazing,” Curtis Wright said. “It all comes down to how much hard work we put into it and how much heart we have.”

Heart and desire appeared to be lacking in the Tigers, who could get no closer than eight points in the second half.

Center Chris Fillmore paced Wittenberg with 17 points and forward Ryan Taylor added 12, but the Tigers haven’t shown the same drive since losing starting forward Kevin Longley and backup point guard Kyle Krauss to ankle injuries on Feb. 5

“They followed their game plan and wanted it a whole lot more than us,” said WU Coach Bill Brown, who hopes to have Longley and Krauss back Tuesday. “When adversity hits, we’re in trouble. We haven’t handled the adversity we’ve faced in the last two weeks with any toughness at all.”

Earlham 71, Wittenberg 60

EARLHAM (71) — Hathaway 5-11 0-1 14, Stoops 3-9 4-5 12, Suttle 2-5 0-0 4, C. Wright 6-11 4-4 19, J. Wright 5-9 0-0 10, Elsworth 1-4 0-0 3, Brett 0-0 2-2 3, O’Reilly 2-4 0-0 4. Totals: 25-54 10-12 71.

WITTENBERG (60) — Taylor 4-12 3-4 12, Harris 3-8 2-3 8, Fillmore 6-10 5-5 17, Stahl 3-8 0-0 1, Stafford 2-6 0-0 4, Rustad 1-3 2-4 4, Mossing 0-2 2-2 2, Gratsch 2-5 2-2 6. Totals: 21-54 16-20 60.

Halftime: Earlham, 34-24. Three-point goals: Earlham 11-28 (Hathaway 4-10, Stoops 2-7, Suttle 0-1, C. Wright 3-4, J. Wright 0-2, Elsworth 1-3, Beck 1-1), Wittenberg 2-14 (Taylor 1-6, Fillmore 0-1, Stahl 1-4, Stafford 0-2, Mossing 0-1). Shooting percentages: Earlham .463, Wittenberg .389. Assists: Earlham 13 (C. Wright, J. Wright 4), Wittenberg 7 (Stahl, Stafford, Rustad 2). Turnovers: Earlham 9, Wittenberg 12. Personal fouls: Earlham 19, Wittenberg 16. Technical Fouls: None. Fouled out: None. Records: Earlham 9-14, 9-6 NCAC; Wittenberg 17-6, 11-4. Officials: Frank Vitt, Dave Danhoff, Kyle Ingram. A: 824.

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Cedarville’s Rose on a block roll

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From Cedarville University’s Web site:

CEDARVILLE, Ohio - Daniel Rose, who was given a rare starting role on Senior Night, produced 21 points, 11 rebounds, and seven blocked shots to lead NAIA Division II No. 3 Cedarville to a 76-58 victory over American Mideast Conference foe Point Park in the regular season home finale.

It was only the third start of the season for the 6-foot-10 center, but Rose followed up his school-record 11-block performance in the previous game with seven more rejections as well as season-highs for points and rebounds. His 79 blocks are just one shy of the single-season CU mark of 80 set by fellow Jamaican Michael Minto 20 years ago.

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Horse-collar tackle to be penalized in high school football

From the National Federation of State High School Associations:

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (February 13, 2009) - The horse-collar tackle has been added to the list of illegal personal contact fouls in high school football.

This addition to Rule 9-4-3 was one of 10 rules changes approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Football Rules Committee at its January 24-25 meeting in Indianapolis. The rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

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On this date in area sports history …

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Twelve years ago on this date, Feb. 15, 1997, Wayne Embry was inducted into the Tecumseh High School Athletic Hall of Fame. Complete story on the jump.

Published Feb. 16, 1997

SMILES GREET EMBRY’S RETURN.

By Chris Freeman, News-Sun Sports Editor

NEW CARLISLE — As four people became the newest members of the Tecumseh Athletic Hall of Fame Saturday, there were plenty of smiles to go around.

Wayne Embry, a star basketball player who went on to a pro career in the NBA before moving into the front office, slowly worked his way around the room, meeting new people, seeing some faces for the first time in four decades.

There were plenty of handshakes to go around, with Embry’s large hands usually engulfing those of the person he was talking to. And there were stories to recall. Many, many stories.

Larry Owen, a standout baseball player who went on to his own pro career, was walking along another side of the room, greeting friends and acquaintances with a warm smile. And more stories.

But as both men reflected on their success on and off the playing field, they recalled the lessons learned in high school as the most important part of their upbringing.

“The coaching I got here, and not just in baseball but in football and basketball, too, that instilled the competitveness and work ethic I would need to play beyond here,” Owen said.

“Those years are very memorable, not only for what we were able to do on the court, but I attribute a lot of the success I had to the disciplines I learned here,” Embry added. “It made me focused and drove me forward.”

While both men, inducted Saturday along with long-time boosters Carl and Betty Roller, stood together in the cafeteria Saturday, it was a more familiar scene for Owen than Embry.

Owen was in the same place last year, one of the speakers who helped induct his old baseball coach, Bob Davis.

“This is a great honor, but last year, being able to help induct Bob Davis, (was) as much fun as this is,” Owen said.

For Embry, the trip into the high school was the first time in decades that he was back in his alma mater — though the territory was still familiar to him.

“(The Cleveland Cavaliers) used to train at (Wright State’s) Nutter Center, so I’d take some people by here and show them where I went to school and where I grew up,” said Embry, now the general manager of the Cavs. “It’s good. There’s some people here I haven’t seen for 40 years or so. We’ve had reunions, but they’ve always fallen on days I couldn’t come down, like my kids’ graduation.”

Embry, who graduated in 1954, was a good basketball player at Tecumseh who grew into a great basketball player at Miami and a five-time all-star in the NBA.

He said plenty has changed about the game since his days at Tecumseh.

“If I was going to offer any advice to young players today, and I do because that’s my job, I’d say that young players today need to spend more time on the fundamentals, which we did,” Embry said. “We were taught skills and fundamentals very early on.”

For his time at Tecumseh, Embry’s favorite recollections are about people.

“My classmates, my teammates, teachers, coaches … this is a memorable experience,” he said.

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Wooster sweeps season series from Witt

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Wooster just closed out a 67-53 victory over Wittenberg at Pam Evans Smith Arena on Saturday, Feb. 14.

The Tigers trailed by 15 at halftime and got as close as six points in the second half, but the Scots nailed a succession of 3-point daggers in the final minutes to build a comfortable cushion at the end.

There were no theatrics at the end of the game, as there were the last time at Wooster. Everyone shook hands and departed the court peacefully.

The loss drops the Tigers to 11-11 and 8-6 in the North Coast Athletic Conference. They are still tied for fourth with Kenyon, which also lost Saturday.

Wooster remains tied in first place with Ohio Wesleyan with two league games to go.

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Bertemes: It takes more than 5 players to win a title

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P.J. Bertemes doesn’t always start the seniors on Senior Night, but he did Friday in Southeastern’s 80-41 victory over Triad. He felt this senior class deserved it, and Daniel Black, Jared Toops, Alex Egbert and Jimmy Muncy got the start.

Black responded with 18 points, and Toops, who normally starts anyway, scored 17. The only senior not to play was Eli Pavlatos, who’s out for the season with a knee injury.

Southeastern’s seniors have sometimes had to take smaller roles to the juniors and sophomores, but Bertemes knows how important they are.

“That’s one of the things about being a team,” he said. “There are certain guys on every team who get their names in the paper every day or get constant pats on the back because they’re in the spotlight, but you don’t win championships with five guys.

“It takes a whole group of kids, and we have 20 in the program right now. Every day in practice, these guys are pushing our first five. They’re ready to jump right in if there’s a foul-trouble situation or if there’s an injury or a sickness. Guys that aren’t in the spotlight are very, very important. and any coach will tell you that.”

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On this date in area sports history …

Fifteen years ago on this date, Feb. 14, 1996, the Wittenberg women’s basketball team’s 53-game winning streak in North Coast Athletic Conference regular-season play ended.

Complete story on the jump.

STREAK AT END

WITT WOMEN DROP FIRST NCAC GAME IN THREE SEASONS

DELAWARE, Ohio — The streak is over.

Wittenberg’s 53-game North Coast Athletic Conference regular season winning streak came to an end Wednesday night with a 69-61 loss to host Ohio Wesleyan at Branch Rickey Arena.

The Tigers had already clinched their third straight NCAC regular season title, but the loss finished Witt’s chances of finishing unbeaten in the conference three consecutive years.

Wittenberg’s last NCAC regular season loss was 60-57, also to Ohio Wesleyan, in Springfield on Jan. 27, 1993.

Wittenberg, 18-6 overall and 15-1 in the NCAC, led 45-41 with 12:43 left in the game. But Ohio Wesleyan, 14-8 and 10-5, went on a 10-0 run, including six points by Tracy Scott in a little over a minute, and took a 51-45 lead at the 9:29 mark.

Mechelle Pothast, who led the Tigers with 18 points, hit a pair of three-point goals to tie the game at 51, but the Battling Bishops followed with a 9-2 run for a 60-53 lead with 4:48 left. Wittenberg could get no closer than five after that.

Backup point guard Jana Bostelman, a freshman, had a season-high 14 points for the Tigers.

WITTENBERG (61) — Pothast 7-17 0-0 18, Trigg 2-5 0-0 4, Jurewicz 2-5 1-2 5, Bonometti 1-5 0-0 2, Darling 2-2 0-0 4, Bobst 3-5 0-0 6, Bostelman 5-11 3-3 14, Kolbe 3-7 2-3 8. Totals: 25-57 6-8 61.

OHIO WESLEYAN (69) — Scott 3-6 3-3 9, Hampshire 7-7 1-2 15, Quatman 4-11 0-2 8, Culwell 6-17 5-7 17, Wilson 1-9 0-0 2, Labuda 2-4 0-0 4, Santa 0-1 0-0 0, Cooley 2-2 0-1 4, Greene 5-10 0-0 10. Totals: 30-67 9-15 69.

Halftime: Ohio Wesleyan, 30-28. Three-point goals: Wittenberg 5-21 (Pothast 4, Bostelman), Ohio Wesleyan 0-10. Rebounds: Wittenberg 31 (Trigg 11), Ohio Wesleyan 43 (Quatman 13). Shooting percentages: Wittenberg .439, Ohio Wesleyan .448. Assists: Wittenberg 14 (Bostelman 4), Ohio Wesleyan 19 (Scott 4, Quatman 4, Culwell 4). Turnovers: Wittenberg 25, Ohio Wesleyan 19. Fouled out: None. Technical Fouls: None. Records: Wittenberg 18-6, 15-1 NCAC; Ohio Wesleyan 14-8, 10-5. A: 221.

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More from Graham’s senior night

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ST. PARIS — There was little doubt that Graham High School’s three senior boys basketball players — Josh Schuler, Ben Rosenberger and Austin Jones — were going to jeopardize their perfect regular season mark against Northwestern.

Especially on Senior Night.

The game was never in doubt as the Falcons jumped out to a 13-0 lead en route to a 101-41 victory.

Through Friday’s game, Jones and Schuler have gone 72-18 in their careers. Rosenberger, who transferred from Fairmont last year, has helped the Falcons go 43-1 over the last two seasons.

Check out excerpts from postgame audio interviews from all three players:

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Ben_Rosenberger.mp3

Josh_Schuler.mp3

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Live updates from Northwestern-Graham boys hoops

9:39: Graham wins 101-41.

9:31: Graham leads 89-39 with two minutes to go. Schuler, Jones and Rosenberger got a standing ovation when they stepped off the floor for the final time at Graham High School.

8:52: Graham leads 45-12 at the half.

8:29: After one quarter, Graham leads 24-5. The Falcons jumped out to an early 13-0 lead and haven’t let up.

Schuler has 16 points for the Falcons.

7:54: We’re about 15 minutes from tipoff here at Graham High School. The gym is packed for Senior Night.

Starters for each squad —

Graham: Josh Schuler, Ben Rosenberger, Austin Jones, Ryan Zook, Ethan Ward.

Northwestern: Jaden Jenkins, Levi Burns, Tony Carson, Mitchell Wolfarth, Ryan Pearson.

We’ll be updating the score after each quarter.

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Witt’s Murray comes from an athletic family

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Wittenberg’s lone senior, Kevin Murray, has a younger brother and sister, twins, who are also college athletes. The Murray siblings keep their parents Kevin and Rhonda, of Carmel, Ind., busy, though at least it helps that Kevin plays a winter sport.

Ryan Murray appeared in nine games as a sophomore tight end at the University of Pennsylvania last fall.

Rebecca Murray, Ryan’s twin sister, is a sophomore middle hitter at the University of Connecticut. She finished second on the team in kills in 2008.

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Scorekeepers fight at high school game in Massachusetts

From the Boston Herald:

WATERTOWN - A hotly contested Middlesex League boys basketball game between Lexington and Watertown turned ugly last night when a dispute at the scorer’s table led to a bloody encounter.

With 5:30 remaining and Lexington clinging to a slim lead, Lexington scorekeeper Nick Santosuosso took exception to getting water thrown on him by Watertown’s Josh Bellini and landed a punch, opening a cut over Bellini’s left eye, in front of spectators watching the game.

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Lady Jackets perform ‘role call’

Check out how the Cedarville University women’s team get prepared for games from this blog entry from sophomore Stefanie Rodgers:

Recently we’ve made a little change in our pre-game preparation as a team. Previously, right before a game the team would sing one of Coach Martin’s favorite songs, and although we would go crazy, it wasn’t exactly our style. We have slowly strayed from that pre-game ritual and have now indulged in what we call “role call.” Lacie Condon starts a beat for us, we get some hand claps in there and one by one we rattle off/chant a few lines that briefly describe each of us. Some of us still struggle with keeping the beat and rhythm but it has proven to be, at the very least, an entertaining activity for all of us.

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On this date in area sports history…

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On this date eight years ago, Feb. 13, 2001, the Southeastern boys basketball team beat Cedarville 82-79 in double overtime to win the final Kenton Trace Conference title.

This season, the Trojans, ranked third in D-IV, will go for their third outright title this decade tonight against Triad.

Published in the Feb. 14, 2001 edition of the News-Sun:

TROJANS GO DOUBLE OT, WRAP UP KTC

By GREG BILLING, News-Sun Sports Writer

SOUTH CHARLESTON — Southeastern Coach Aaron Perry never won a Kenton Trace Conference title as a player for the Trojans, but the way Tuesday night’s game with Cedarville played out, he and Indians Coach P.J. Bertemes might as well have suited up.

In a game that was as physical (66 fouls were called and seven players fouled out) as it was hard-fought (no team led by more than eight from the fourth quarter on), Southeastern pulled out an 82-79 victory in double overtime to capture the final conference title in KTC history.

Southeastern finished the regular season 18-2 and 11-1 KTC, while Cedarville went 18-2 and 10-2. Both teams join the Ohio Heritage Conference next season.

“This is a classic game,” said Southeastern junior Brian Cooper, who scored seven of the first eight points in the second overtime as his team never trailed in either extra period.

The Trojans — who were up by eight entering the fourth quarter — led by as many as six in the second overtime. Down 78-72 with 1:07 left, Cedarville clawed back into the game despite seeing four of its five starters foul out in the fourth quarter.

Cedarville senior Kevin Donahue, the only starter remaining, pulled the Indians to 81-79 with 3.4 seconds left in the second OT on a putback. Sophomore teammate John Kragel _ who stepped up big in the second half _ fouled Cooper on the inbounds pass. Cooper _ who finished with a game-high 37 points and 16 rebounds _ made one of two, and Cooper then blocked Donahue’s three-point heave from half court at the buzzer.

“This is what it should have come down to,” said Perry, who guided Southeastern to its first KTC title since the 1996-97 season and third overall. “I don’t think the fans were disappointed tonight.”

Well, except those who didn’t have tickets and were turned away. In front of about 985 fans crammed into Southeastern’s gym, the Trojans survived everything the Indians threw at them _ but just barely.

In the fourth quarter, Cooper tied the game at 61-61 on a pair of free throws with 22.1 seconds left. Kragel had a chance to win it, but his three-point attempt bounced off the rim. The buzzer sounded with a loose-ball scramble.

In the first overtime, Cooper made it a 71-69 Trojans ’ advantage with 10.9 seconds left. But Donahue drove the lane and rolled in a layup with 2.5 seconds left as Southeastern barely had a chance to inbound the ball.

“I was shocked Cedarville’s other four players took care of the starter’s work,” said Southeastern junior Mark Waddle.

Cedarville — which was called for 39 fouls to Southeastern’s 27 — lost starters Jeff Moore, Nick Trimbach, Adam Schlappi and Nate Martindale in the fourth quarter. Those four combined for 30 points, but more importantly, their leadership was missed in the overtime periods.

“It wasn’t the officials, it was us,” Cedarville’s Bertemes said. “We have to have those guys on the floor.”

Southeastern did lose Waddle and Josh Banion to fouls in the first overtime, but kept its three remaining starters in the game _ especially Cooper, who picked up his fourth foul with 6:37 left in the fourth quarter.

“He uses his head,” Bertemes said. “He knew there wasn’t much of a chance for them to win if he wasn’t in there. He’s a smart kid.”

Cooper had plenty of help as Waddle added 20 points and Keith Clark 18.

“This is sweet,” Clark said of giving Perry his first KTC title. “We should have blown them out (with their starters gone), but give them credit. They hung in there.”

Trimbach and Donahue led the Indians with 17 points each, while Kragel added 15 _ including 10 in the fourth quarter.

Cedarville — ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press state poll in Division IV — had its 10 game-winning streak snapped. Fifth-ranked Southeastern won its eighth straight and also avenged a 48-44 loss at Cedarville on Jan. 12.

Winning the KTC crown only made it sweeter.

CEDARVILLE (79) _ Trimbach 6 4-7 17, Moore 0 4-4 4, Donahue 6 5-8 17, Schlappi 3 1-1 7, Martindale 1 0-0 2, Willis 2 2-7 6, Harding 3 0-0 6, Kragel 4 5-8 15, Yoakum 2 0-0 4, Rost 0 1-2 1. Totals: 27 22-37 79.

SOUTHEASTERN (82) _ Banion 1 2-6 4, Clark 7 4-9 18, Waddle 6 8-11 20, Bruns 0 2-3 2, Cooper 11 15-18 37, Graves 0 0-2 0, Rice 0 1-2 1. Totals: 25 32-51 82.

Cedarville17 26 36 61 71 79

Southeastern14 28 44 61 71 82

Three-point goals: Cedarville 3 (Kragel 2, Trimbach), Southeastern 0

Records: Cedarville 18-2, 10-2 KTC; Southeastern 18-2, 11-1

Reserves: Southeastern 61 (Krabach 10), Cedarville 45

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Wittenberg to host Pink Zone event on Saturday

From Wittenberg women’s basketball coach Sarah Jurewicz’s blog:

On Saturday, February 14, we will be hosting our Pink Zone event during our game against Wooster. The Pink Zone event is sponsored by the WBCA and is celebrated nationwide by a variety of colleges and high schools.

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CU women’s squad ready to make run at NAIA tournament

CEDARVILLE — Cedarville University women’s basketball coach Kirk Martin loves the energy his team showing through 23 games this season.

“I noticed in practice yesterday there was a lot of smiling and giggling. A lot of energy going on,” Martin said today, Feb. 12. “We were happy to get through the doldrums of January and into February.”

The Yellow Jackets, ranked 18th in NAIA Division II, are 16-7 and 7-3 in the American Mideast Conference. They’re hoping to earn a bid into the NAIA D-II tournament by either finishing in the top two in the AMC regular season, or winning the AMC postseason tournament.

Shawnee State (25-0, 11-0 AMC) is the favorite to win the AMC regular season title with four games to play.

Walsh (17-9, 10-2) is second in the league with two games to play. Daemen (18-6, 8-3) is one-game back with four games to play, including games with both Shawnee State and Walsh.

The Yellow Jackets will need to win its five remaining conference games and hope Walsh and Daemen can each drop two of its final games to earn one of the conference’s two regular season automatic berths. If not, they can play their way into the tournament by winning the AMC postseason tournament.

But they’ll have to win on the road to grab the second automatic bid. They host Carlow and Point Park on Friday and Saturday, before traveling to Ursuline (Ohio), Houghton (NY) and Roberts Wesleyan (NY) next week.

“That’s going to be extremely challenging, especially for a young team,” Martin said.

But he feels good about the direction his team is headed.

“We have a lot at stake and we seem to have a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities,” Martin said. “We’re poised to finish strong. I feel good about us, which some coaches will tell you sometimes that’s not a good feeling, but I like where we are.

For more on the Cedarville women’s team, check out the Lady Jacket basketball blog of sophomore Stefanie Rodgers.

The games are also available to both watch or listen online here.

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Bizarre finish in California boys basketball game disputed

From the Sacramento Bee:

In the final seconds and with a five-point lead, No. 7 Bella Vista appeared to be headed for another Capital Athletic League boys basketball victory Friday night at Rio Americano High School.

Then all hell broke loose with 12.3 seconds to play.

The result: The Raiders walked away with a 68-62 win after Rio’s Zach Nathanson made 17 of 18 foul shots. Those shots came moments after a Rio Americano player fouled a Bella Vista player and was ejected.

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Cedarville men’s coach treats team to ice cream

From junior guard Haddon Anderson’s blog on Cedarville University’s Web site:

“After losing two in row, we were able to rebound this past week with two road wins. We did have an interesting start to the week as we didn’t really practice on Monday. After our consecutive losses, Coach Estepp decided that we weren’t going to fix our struggles in one day and he just held a team meeting.

However, it was no ordinary meeting. Upon his arrival, he carried in ice cream and Hershey’s syrup. Everyone looked around at each other wondering if this was really happening. Laughter began circulating throughout the room and Coach told us to enjoy. So, we ate ice cream and talked about how we can make our team better, and then watched highlights from the season.”

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Witt’s streak of winning seasons in jeopardy

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North Carolina, Kentucky, UCLA … Wittenberg?

You wouldn’t think a Division III school would have much to brag about when compared to the titans of college basketball, but Wittenberg currently holds a rather remarkable record. It has the longest active streak of winning (40 years) and non-losing seasons (52) in all divisions of NCAA basketball.

Wittenberg coach Bill Brown said he hasn’t focused on keeping those streaks alive. He said he has mentioned it to the team three times this season. His more important goals have to do with this season and this season only.

Still he conceded that the streaks are “pretty spectacular.”

And both of those streaks are in danger this season.

“We just try not to dwell on that stuff,” Wittenberg’s lone senior Kevin Murray said. “We try to dwell on getting better every day.”

The Tigers are 11-10 with four regular-season games and at least one tournament game to play. Their remaining schedule includes some big hurdles, starting with Wooster (16-6) on Saturday. They host Indiana University-East (21-7) on Monday and finish with two NCAC games against teams they have already beaten: Wabash (9-12) and Kenyon (14-8).

At this point, it looks as if the Tigers would play Kenyon again in the first round of the NCAC tournament.

If the Tigers can post another winning season or at least a .500 record, they will keep alive the possibility of surpassing UCLA’s streak of 54 straight winning seasons (1949-2002) and Kentucky’s streak of 60 straight non-losing seasons (1928-52, 1954-88).

The longest active streak of winning seasons (38) and non-losing seasons (39) in Division I belongs to Syracuse. In Division II, Norfolk State owns the record for most consecutive winning and non-losing seasons (35 from 1963-97).

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Mechanicsburg AD Dingey resigns

MECHANICSBURG — After two years at Mechanicsburg, Dave Dingey has resigned as athletic director.

Dingey said not spending enough time with his family as the main reason for his departure.

The resignation will be effective June 30, Mechanicsburg superintendent Mike Nutter said. They’ll likely hire a replacement in July or August.

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Wesleyan, Wooster still on top of NCAC

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On Wednesday, Wooster survived a scare, and Ohio Wesleyan proved its first victory this season over Wittenberg wasn’t a fluke.

From The Daily Record in Wooster:

WOOSTER — That huge sigh of relief heard Wednesday was that of the College of Wooster men’s basketball team.

Trailing by five points with under a minute to go in regulation, the Fighting Scots hit a pair of key shots to force overtime and had enough energy to outlast Denison in a pair of extra sessions en route to a 102-92 North Coast Athletic Conference win at Timken Gymnasium.

From the Delaware Gazette:

Mike DeWitt admitted he was concerned with his Battling Bishop squad going into last night’s key North Coast Athletic Conference matchup with longtime rival Wittenberg.

Not to worry.

Ohio Wesleyan hit nine of its first 12 shots as the Battling Bishops raced out to a 22-0 lead on senior wing Kyle Holliday’s three-point basket eight minutes into the second half en route to an 83-59 victory over the Tigers in front of 1,020 fans at Branch Rickey Arena.

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Graham’s Taylor could have ended up at Moeller

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From JJ Huddle.com

You know those emails you don’t read and throw in the trash? Might want to double-check them. Had Cincinnati Moeller’s wrestling coaches done so, Graham standout senior David Taylor might be a Crusader today.

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On this date in area sports history …

Fifteen years ago on this date, Feb. 12, 1994, the Southeastern girls basketball team clinched its seventh straight Kenton Trace Conference crown and won its 64th straight regular-season game.

Complete story on the jump.

SOUTHEASTERN TOPS GREENEVIEW TO CLINCH ANOTHER KTC CROWN

Staff Reports

JAMESTOWN - Southeastern clinched its seventh straight Kenton Trace Conference title with a 37-31 victory over Greeneview Saturday afternoon.

The Trojans, 18-0 and 13-0 in the KTC, have been undefeated in the league for seven straight years. They have won 64 straight and 137 out of their last 138 regular-season games.

“This is one that’s really important after you stop and think of what we graduated and after losing Amanda Stewart,” said Southeastern Coach Kirk Martin, in his eighth season. “I think this particular title just speaks for the tenacity of this group. They never cease to amaze me.

“We trailed at the end of the first three quarters and shot a season low 27 percent from the field,” Martin continued. “I believe this was the first time in seven years that we didn’t score 40 points in a game. But, these girls still had enough fire in them to pull together when they needed to. They played an outstanding second half and I’m as proud of this group and this title as any title we’ve won so far. Greeneview has a fine club.”

The game was close all the way until the final quarter. Southeastern’s offense and defense stepped it up a notch and outscored the Rams 13-6 to seal the win.

Kacey Gordin led the team in scoring with 13 points and Sarah Luginbill had 10 steals.

Greeneview is 17-2 and 11-2 in the KTC, with both of its losses to Southeastern. The Trojans won 47-31 on Dec. 9 in South Charleston.

The Rams were led by Kelly Swearingen’s 13 points.

SOUTHEASTERN (37) - Stewart 2 4-6 8, McKee 1 2-3 4, Luginbill 2 2-3 6, South 2 0-1 4, Gordin 5 0-0 13, Kennedy 1 0-0 2. Totals: 13 8-13 37.

GREENEVIEW (31) - Finch 1 3-5 5, Payton 1 1-2 3, Staup 2 0-2 4, Polk 0 0-1 0, Reed 3 0-0 6, Swearingen 5 2-4 13. Totals: 12 6-14 31.

Southeastern 12 16 24 37 Greeneview 14 18 25 31 Three-point goals: Southeastern 3 (Gordin) Greeneview 1 (Swearingen)

Records: Southeastern 18-0, 13-0 KTC; Greeneview 17-2, 11-2

Reserves: Greeneview, 26-19

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A legend calls it quits

Even if you hate Brett Favre - and the drama that followed him last season - there’s no denying what he accomplished for the Green Bay Packers.

He willed his team to victories with backyard football plays and the strongest arm since Unitas. He put the Packers back on the map while winning three MVP awards and a Super Bowl. He never saw a game he couldn’t win and took risks as a quarterback that no one else would take. That’s what made him great.

I’ll never forget watching Favre’s first game against the Bengals in 1992. Once Don Majikowski got hurt, I remember thinking there was no way my favorite team would lose. I was wrong.

Check out this interview with Favre after the game:

I’ll also never forget the time I saw Favre play against the Bengals in Cincinnati in November of 2005. He nearly brought the Packers back to win, but didn’t thanks to this guy.

If this is the end (like Michael Jordan, you can never tell with Favre), Favre will be missed. It won’t be long before he’s being inducted into Canton.

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On this date in area sports history …

Sixteen years ago on this date, Feb. 11, 1993, the Southeastern girls basketball team won the Kenton Trace Conference title, its sixth in a row. The Trojans would win the state title three years later.

Complete story on the jump.

SOUTHEASTERN NETS ANOTHER KTC TITLE

By Jeff Pinkleton, News-Sun Special Writer

SOUTH CHARLESTON - Southeastern knew it was in for a battle Thursday night. But the opposition wasn’t what the Trojans expected.

“We needed a hacksaw to get that thing down,” said senior Sheila Flint, who scored a game-high 27 points, referring to the difficult net-trimming ceremony after the Trojans ripped up Greeneview, 55-25, to claim the Kenton Trace Conference girls basketball title.

But Southeastern, which started slow before kicking into gear with a 19-3 run to decide things before halftime, just couldn’t shake that net. After six consective KTC titles, you’d think the Trojans, top-ranked in the Division IV state poll, would have the routine down.

“We certainly did struggle, there’s no doubt about it,” Coach Kirk Martin said about his team’s time-consuming nylon cutting.

The Trojans, who remained unbeaten at 19-0 and 11-0 KTC, struggled with the nets a bit during the game, too. They connected on a mere 6 of 21 free throws.

“We have tried talking about it, not talking about it, laughing about it, running when they miss and we have got to do something about it,” he said. “When you move into the tournament there are those games when you have to hit them.”

Carrie Ferguson chipped in 12 points, 16 rebounds and five assists for Southeastern.

Rams Coach Ken Esselstein thought his players couldn’t get into its rhythm offensively.

“We started playing helter skelter and they made us unsure of ourselves all night,” said the first-year coach, whose team fell to 15-4 and 10-2.

Flint’s play helped make the Rams look uncertain.

Flint, who plans to attend UNLV, grabbed seven boards and scored 17 of her points in the second half, en route to scoring more than the entire Ram squad.

“If you have an awesome forward or center and the guards can’t get (the ball) to them, they aren’t squat,” said a humble Flint, who doesn’t run to the scorer’s table after games to see her stats.

“I’m never aware of (statistics), until somebody comes up to me afterwards,” she said.

Will the Trojans get a shot at cutting nets in Columbus?

Ferguson was hesitant to say how far the Trojans will go, but did make one declaration.

“We are cutting more nets.”

If so, they might consider using a chainsaw.

GREENEVIEW (25) - Dodge 2 0-0 4, Finch 1 1-2 3, Harlow 2 0-0 4, Stoneburner 2 0-0 6, Swearingen 4 0-0 8. Totals: 11 1-2 25.

SOUTHEASTERN (55) - McKee 1 0-2 2, South 0 0-1 0, Rockfield 0 0-2 0, Luginbill 3 0-0 7, Ferguson 5 2-8 12, Gordin 1 0-1 2, Stewart 1 3-4 5, Flint 13 1-3 27. Totals: 24 6-21 55.

Greeneview 6 10 16 25

Southeastern 14 24 42 55

Three point goals: Greeneview 2 (Stoneburner 2), Southeastern 1 (Luginbill)

Records: Greeneview 15-4, 10-2 KTC; Southeastern 19-0, 11-0

Reserves: Greeneview, 35-33

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Witt in rare role as spoiler

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It’s not the position he’s used to, Wittenberg men’s basketball coach Bill Brown said, but it’s a reality he can’t ignore.

Used to playing for league titles, the Tigers will play the role of spoiler in the last two weeks. Being two games down with four to play, they aren’t mathematically eliminated, but even if they beat Ohio Wesleyan on Wednesday and Wooster on Saturday, they will still trail those teams by a game.

Then Wittenberg would need both OWU and Wooster to suffer an unlikely loss in one of their three remaining games.

What Wittenberg can shoot for is a first-round home game in the NCAC tournament.

“Our overall mindset is the tournament is wide open,” Brown said. “We have to keep focused on trying in the limited amount of time we have to practice at this time of the year to keep improving, both individually and collectively, because we still believe the tournament is wide open.”

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Witt trainer raising money for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Wittenberg head trainer Ellen Crosbie is training for her second marathon in support of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Her husband was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma last March.

On Saturday, at the 7:30 p.m. Wittenberg-Wooster game in Springfield, she will be selling raffle tickets in support of the cause, and the winner gets what she describes as a “Valentine’s gift.”

“Take a chance for your loved one,” she said.

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Ticket info for Witt-Wooster released

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From Wittenberg’s Web site:

The Wittenberg University Tigers and the College of Wooster Fighting Scots, two of most successful men’s basketball programs in all of NCAA Division III, will renew their spirited North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) rivalry at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14, in Wittenberg’s Pam Evans Smith Arena, and tickets are once again in demand.

Because Wittenberg officials anticipate another large and enthusiastic crowd - likely made larger by the Wittenberg’s first-ever Take A Kid To The Game Day, organized by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee - it is necessary to make several changes to the Department of Athletics’ standard ticket policy.

Complete press release here.

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State bowling records unavailable

SPRINGFIELD — The Kenton Ridge boys bowling team rolled a tremendous series as a team on Monday, Feb. 9, beating Tippecanoe 3,254-2,395.

After the match, the Cougars thought they may have bowled a state record for total pins by a team in a match. However, it turns out there is no way to tell if the score was, in fact, a state record.

Ohio High School Bowling executive director Greg Coulas said per Ohio rules, a conference can choose to bowl two regular games and two baker games, or two regular games and four baker games. He said they’ve got state records for the state championship, but not regular season matches.

He said the series, however, may be a CBC record.

“That kind of performance is very, very newsworthy,” Coulas said. “But we’ve had reports of bigger scores. It’s not quantifiable because the number of baker games rolled in each conference is different.”

Regardless, the Cougars are faring well heading into tonight’s big match against defending D-II state champion Stebbins.

“All the boys shot real well,” said KR coach Flip Lucas. “They all bowled tremendous last night. I just hope we can repeat it to have a chance against Stebbins.”

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Analyzing the NCAC race

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With four games left, the most likely scenario in the North Coast Athletic Conference men’s basketball race is either Wooster or Ohio Wesleyan winning or tying for the title.

Three other teams, including Wittenberg, are within two games of the lead. The Tigers play both first-place teams this week.

Complete look at the five teams still in contention on the jump.

Wooster (15-6, 10-2 NCAC) — Remaining league games: Denison, at Witt, at Allegheny, Earlham.

Ohio Wesleyan (14-6, 10-2 NCAC) — Remaining league games: Witt, Earlham, at Oberlin, Allegheny.

Hiram (14-7, 9-3 NCAC) — Remaining league games: Allegheny, at Denison, at Kenyon, Oberlin. Kenyon (14-7, 8-4 NCAC) — Remaining league games: Oberlin, at Allegheny, Hiram, at Wittenberg.

Wittenberg (11-9, 8-4 NCAC) — Remaining league games: at Ohio Wesleyan, Wooster, at Wabash, Kenyon.

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Witt sponsoring ‘Take a kid to the game day’

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SPRINGFIELD — Wittenberg University is sponsoring its first-ever ‘Take a Kid to the Game Day’ for its men’s basketball game against Wooster on Feb. 14.

All children ages 18-and-under will receive free admission to the game with the purchase on one $8 ticket by their parent.

The event will also feature NCAA mascot, JJ Jumper, and the second annual Pink Zone, which raises breast cancer awareness.

For more on this event, click here.

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On this date in area sports history…

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On this date six years ago, Feb. 10, 2003, Jasmine House scored a career-high 51 points as the Kenton Ridge girls basketball team wrapped up their second straight CBC Mad River Division title with a 103-81 victory over Benjamin Logan.

House eventually went on to play at both the University of Toledo and Urbana University. Click the jump for the complete story.

Published in the Feb. 11, 2003 edition of the News-Sun:

KR FINDS MAD RIVER TITLE IS IN THE HOUSE

JUNIOR’S 51 POINTS SPARKS COUGARS WIN

RUSHSYLVANIA — Junior Jasmine House had the best game of her career at the right time as the junior scored a career-high 51 points and pulled down a game-high 16 rebounds to help Kenton Ridge defeat host Benjamin Logan 103-81 and win the Central Buckeye Conference Mad River Division girls basketball title Monday night.

Senior Jami Finney poured in 22 points and Stephanie Bennett scored 21 points, including four 3-pointers, to give the junior 73 3-pointers on the season.

“Jasmine played well tonight and Bennett and Finney had their 20 and they all played well this season,” praised Kenton Ridge coach Ed Foulk.

Kenton Ridge jumped out to a 24-14 lead after the first period and extended that lead to a 49-30 halftime margin.

The Cougars kept up the man-to-man defensive pressure in the second half and the Raiders never recovered as Kenton Ridge won its second straight Mad River Division crown.

“A division title is one of our first goals of the season,” commented Foulk who added that he believes his squad is ready for tournament time. “We have been improving as the season has gone along and we are peaking at the right time.”

The Cougars (19-1, 10-0) will face Eaton in the first round of the Division II sectional at Vandalia Butler at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Ashley Cummins scored 19 points, Margo Burnside had 18 and Brittany McDonald added 15 for Benjamin Logan (14-6, 8-2), which finished the regular season second in the Mad River.

KENTON RIDGE (103) — House 19 13-15 51, Finney 10 0-3 22, Kel. Beers 1 0-1 2, Bennett 7 3-4 21, Binz 1 0-0 2, Ken. Beers 0 5-6 5. Totals: 38 21-29 103.

BENJAMIN LOGAN (81) — Burnside 8 2-3 18, Ford 1 1-2 4, K. Clem 2 0-0 5, McDonald 6 0-0 15, Cummins 8 3-4 19, Woodward 3 0-0 6, Bednarki 2 1-4 5, McKirahan 1 0-0 2, J. Clem 2 3-4 7. Totals: 33 10-17 81.

Kenton Ridge 24 49 81 103

Benjamin Logan 14 30 57 81

Three-point goals: Kenton Ridge 6 (Bennett 4, Finney 2), Benjamin Logan 5 (McDonald 3, K. Clem, Ford).

Records: Kenton Ridge 19-1, 10-0 CBC Mad River; Benjamin Logan 14-6, 8-2.

Reserves: Kenton Ridge 46 (Morris 17), Benjamin Logan 38.

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KR, Urbana in tough tourney bracket

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It was no secret what the teams not named Graham were planning to do heading into the Division II sectional at Troy High School tournament draw on Sunday, Feb. 8

They all wanted to stay away from D-II top-ranked Graham.

After Kenton Ridge’s 67-36 CBC victory on Monday, Feb. 9, Cougars coach Kris Spriggs and Urbana coach Jeremy Dixon talked about their team’s tournament draw.

10 of the 12 teams in the bracket are CBC league members, so its easy to know who you may or may not want to play.

Spriggs said he was sure most of the top teams would avoid the Falcons.

The Cougars drew the second seed and have a first-round bye. They’ll face either Bellefontaine or Milton-Union in a second round game.

“You’re familiar with everybody,” Spriggs said. “You’ve got a good idea of what you’re facing going in. The bottom line is that you have to beat somebody.

Five of the six teams in the Troy lower bracket all have winning records.

Dixon said he was surprised the bottom bracket wasn’t seeds two through seven. The No. 7 seed Indian Lake chose to jump in the top bracket with Graham.

The Hillclimbers face Tippecanoe in a first-round game.

“I knew it could be a tough half,” Dixon said. “It was what I thought would happen.”

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Live updates from Urbana-KR boys hoops

9:15: KR wins 67-36.

8:54: After three quarters, KR leads 46-27.

8:38: At the half, KR leads 29-9. The Cougars are playing tenacious defense. Urbana had just four points in the quarter until Anthony Marino’s layup at the buzzer.

8:16: After one quarter, KR leads 14-3. Kyle Morris has six points, nailing two 3-pointers for KR. Urbana’s getting good looks, but can’t buy a bucket.

8:15 p.m.: I got here right at tipoff. Lots to do in the office tonight.

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Graham boys No. 1, Trojan move up to third

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SPRINGFIELD — Graham is still the unanimous No. 1 team in Division II, while Southeastern moved up one spot to third in D-IV in the fifth weekly Associated Press boys basketball state poll.

Click the jump for the complete poll.

AP STATE POLL

How a state panel of sports writers and broadcasters rates Ohio high school boys basketball teams in the fifth of seven weekly Associated Press polls of 2009, by OHSAA divisions, with won-lost record and total points (first-place votes in parentheses):

DIVISION I

1, Cols. Northland (10) 15-1 253

2, Cin. Princeton (7) 14-1 233

3, Cle. Glenville (5) 13-0 205

4, Warren Harding (3) 13-1 183

5, Middletown (1) 14-1 121

6, Cin. Moeller 14-2 119

7, Can. Timken (1) 14-1 108

8, Barberton 14-1 54

9, Trotwood-Madison 15-2 46

10, Lima Sr. 13-2 44

Others receiving 12 or more points: 11, Can. GlenOak 34. 12, Dublin Scioto 33. 13, Cin. LaSalle 31. 14, Lorain Admiral King (2) 30. 15, Garfield Hts. 19. 16, Sylvania Southview 17. 17, Centerville 14.

DIVISION II

1, GRAHAM (29) 16-0 290

2, Circleville Logan Elm 14-1 219

3, Wilmington 15-1 197

4, Cin. Indian Hill 14-1 170

5, Akr. SVSM 13-3 142

6, Cle. Benedictine 12-4 137

7, Dover 14-2 93

8, Cols. DeSales 13-3 79

9, Day. Thurgood Marshall 13-4 65

10, Day. Dunbar 9-5 33

Others receiving 12 or more points: 11, Chillicothe 32. 12, St. Bernard Roger Bacon 30. 13, Poland Seminary 17. 14, Kettering Alter 15. 15, Minerva 14.

DIVISION III

1, Smithville (25) 16-0 284

2, Findlay Liberty-Benton (2) 13-1 224

3, Casstown Miami E. (1) 13-1 169

4, Anna 15-2 165

5, Ottawa-Glandorf 14-2 146

6, St. Henry (1) 15-1 137

7, Kirtland 13-1 128

8, Cle. Cent. Cath. 13-2 81

9, Piketon 14-2 46

10, W. Salem NW 14-2 44

Others receiving 12 or more points: 11, Cuyahoga Falls CVCA 27. 12, Middletown Madison 24. 13, Beverly Ft. Frye 22. 14, Seaman N. Adams 21. 15, Milan Edison 18.

DIVISION IV

1, New Knoxville (22) 16-0 281

2, Berlin Hiland (6) 16-0 265

3, SOUTHEASTERN 14-1 202

4, Oak Hill 14-2 158

5, Cle. Hts. Lutheran E. 13-2 138

6, Bedford Chanel (1) 10-3 105

7, Delphos St. John’s 12-3 104

8, Newark Cath. 13-3 81

9, Cin. Seven Hills 12-3 50

10, Day. Jefferson 13-4 47

Others receiving 12 or more points: 11, Plymouth 40. 12, Malvern 32. 13, Worthington Christian 27. 14, Pettisville 18. 15, McDonald 13.

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Big week for KR bowling

The Kenton Ridge bowling team has a big week ahead of them. They’re currently 12-0 and face a big match against Stebbins at Northridge Lanes at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

Victories over Tippecanoe, Tecumseh and the Indians this week — two of which were rescheduled matches — will give the Cougars its first perfect regular season in boys bowling. They also host the CBC tournament on Friday.

They even got a shout out from the Dayton Daily News’ Chick Ludwig in his ‘Pounding the prep pavement’ column:

Rock ‘n’ roll

The Super Bowl of boys bowling takes place at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 10, when 10-2 Stebbins visits 12-0 Kenton Ridge in a Central Buckeye Conference showdown at Northridge Lanes in Springfield.

Stebbins, led by Chase Carter, is the defending state champion. Kenton Ridge, paced by “Mr. 300” Ryan Dobie, has its eye on the prize in ‘09.

Quote machine

“These are easily two of the better high school bowling programs in Ohio. We had our way with Kenton Ridge for two seasons, but right now they are on fire. They want what we achieved (state title) last year. Kenton Ridge may be the best team in the state.” — Stebbins coach Don Brown

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Weird happenings at the boys tourney draw

There were all kinds of shenanigans in the prep boys basketball tournament draw this year — outside of Graham getting the No. 1 seed in the Division II Troy sectional.

Four teams in the D-II sectional at Lebanon High School passed a combined 18 times, including 13 straight.

The D-IV Piqua bracket was forced to be redrawn after an administrative error forced coaches to return a second time for the draw.

For the complete brackets, click here.

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On this date in area sports history…

On this day 15 years ago, Feb. 9, 1994, the Wittenberg men’s basketball team beat Earlham by 75 points, garnering the largest victory in school history.

According to the Wittenberg record book, the 1993-1994 team — which advanced to the NCAA D-III national semifinals — scored 2,789 points in a season, still the most by any time in school history.

Published in the Feb. 10, 1994 edition of the Springfield News-Sun:

BROKEN RECORDS MARK TIGERS WIN

WITT BURIES EARLHAM, 117-42

By Rob Oller, Sports Writer

SPRINGFIELD — Wittenberg wanted a challenging game. Instead, it played kick the can.

Earlham supplied the equipment.

The Tigers went looking for their record-tying 21st consecutive win before 1,068 at the HPER Center on Wednesday. They found it with a marginal victory - a margin of 75, the biggest spread in school history.

Earlham provided little more than warm bodies as Wittenberg dismantled the Quakers, 117-42, to remain atop the North Coast Athletic Conference standings at 21-0 overall and 13-0 in the league.

Kenyon, which earned a 90-83 overtime win over Ohio Wesleyan on Wednesday, is a game back in second. The Lords host Wittenberg next Wednesday and should provide the Tigers with the tougher competition they want.

Playing Earlham — and likely Oberlin on Saturday — equals little resistence.

The Quakers dropped to 2-19 and 2-12. The biggest question surrounding them is … who did they beat?

“Honestly, I would rather have a one-point game, but it was fun to have the extras,” said a smiling Aaron Perry, who led six Tigers in double figures with 24 points.

A quick list of the extras:

The Tigers used 16 players, and 13 scored, as the starters sat out the final 12:17.

Wittenberg’s 13 three-pointers broke the record of 11, which had been reached twice before. Also, the Tigers’ 32 attempts shattered the school mark by eight.

The starters used a 14-0 run to go up 40-13 with 5:36 left in the half. Not to be topped, the second team had a 15-0 run midway through the second half for a 101-31 lead.

Luke Ragan, who considers a free throw a long shot, attempted not one, but two three-pointers. Both clanked off the rim but Ragan shrugged it off. “I’m trying to expand my game,” the senior forward quipped.

Matt Croci became Wittenberg’s single-season three-point leader with 62, breaking Steve Allison’s mark by one.

The 21 straight victories ties the 1962-63 and 1988-89 squads for most consecutive wins. That mark should fall on Saturday.

The 75-point margin was the largest ever, breaking the 72-point cushion in last year’s 113-41 blowout over Oberlin.

Otherwise, it was a typical Wittenberg-Earlham game. The Tigers score. Earlham turns it over. Repeat. The Quakers committed 29 turnovers, while Witt had a season-low six.

So overwhelming was Witt’s performance that one of the Quakers’ own players - South product Kawambee Gaines - admitted he wouldn’t mind playing in Springfield more often.

“All the comments I heard on the floor were their guys telling me I should have come here,” Gaines remarked. “They said I could have gotten a ring here.”

Gaines, who led Earlham with 13 points, also confirmed he’s still looking to transfer, and Wittenberg is in the picture.

“I wouldn’t mind coming here,” he said.

At 21-0, who wouldn’t?

Wittenberg Coach Bill Brown used the night as an opportunity to tinker with full and halfcourt zone pressure. It worked as Earlham shot just 32 percent from the field and 19 percent (3 of 16) from three-point range.

“It’s so difficult simulating pressure and good zone defense in practice. This was experimenting,” Brown explained.

Earlham Coach Tony Gary didn’t appreciate being the guinea pig.

“They’re a much better team than us and would beat us 10 times out of 10 … so he didn’t need to press us with his starters the first eight minutes of the second half,” Gary said.

Actually, it was more like four minutes, and it was a soft press, and, well, the Tigers aren’t overly concerned with keeping the score close - ever.

“You’ve got to make it fun against this kind of competition,” Ragan said. “You’ve got to keep mentally tough.”

That didn’t seem to be a problem against Earlham. The Tigers started by pounding the ball inside to Aaron Smith, who scored all of his 13 points the first half, then fired away from the perimeter after intermission, at one point hitting six straight treys. Perry buried four in a row. He finished 8 of 13 from the field, including 6 of 10 from outside the arc.

“We were getting great looks at the basket,” Perry said, adding that he was surprised Earlham never came out of its zone.

Joining Perry in double figures were Croci with 17, Smith and John Burns with 13 apiece, Chris Wolfe with 12 and Mark Balusik with 10. Smith also ripped down a season-high 12 boards as the Tigers gained a huge 44-28 advantage on the glass.

Brown was proud of his players for staying focused.

“This game could have gotten sloppy,” he said.

Instead, it just got easy.

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Graham’s Cupps on tourney draw

Graham High School boys basketball coach Brook Cupps expected a lot of the teams in the area to stay away from his team come tournament time.

His team earned the No. 1 seed in Division II Troy upper bracket sectional. No other team in their side of the bracket has a winning record — which means the lower bracket is stacked with good teams, including No. 2 Kenton Ridge and third-seed Shawnee, both 11-2.

“It will be interesting,” Cupps said. “There will be some great games down there.”

The Falcons played their closest game of the season on Saturday, beating Urbana by just nine points. It was the first time any team had played the Falcons to within 10 points. Their closest game to that point was a 19-point win over Urbana in December.

“They did a nice job,” said Graham coach Brook Cupps. “We didn’t play very well. A lot of that was what Urbana was doing to us. We didn’t change what we were doing. We didn’t have a lot of intensity for most of the game. You’re going to have games like that. That’s why it’s so hard to go undefeated.

“We have a good group of upperclassmen who have a lot of experience,” Cupps continued. “They get it, they just have to be reminded of it.”

The Falcons aren’t looking ahead, but knew they’d play either Taft, Roger Bacon or Indian Hill in the district tournament. Bacon jumped to a different bracket, meaning it will likely be Taft or Indian Hill.

“All three of those teams are very good,” Cupps said. “The D-II district game in Southwest Ohio is the toughest in the state. If you win that, you have a legitimate chance to get to the state tournament. In my opinion, it’s the best Division II area in the state because you’ve got Cincy and Columbus coming together. We’ve got to get a lot better.”

Click the jump for the complete tournament draw.

DIVISION I

At UD Arena

DAYTON 1 SECTIONAL

Monday, Feb. 23

5:30 p.m. (upper bracket) — Springboro (No. 7 seed) vs. Fairborn (No. 13); 7 p.m. (upper bracket) — Belmont (No. 20) vs. Wayne (No. 3); 8:30 p.m. (lower bracket) - Trotwood-Madison (No. 2) vs. Piqua (No. 19)

Tuesday, Mar. 3

7 p.m.(upper bracket) — Beavercreek (No. 18) vs. Wayne/Belmont winner; 8:30 p.m. — Lebanon (No. 10) vs. Springboro/Fairborn winner.

Wednesday, Mar. 4

5:30 p.m. — Troy (No. 17) vs. Trotwood-Madison/Piqua winner; 7 p.m. (lower bracket) — Springfield (No. 12) vs. Vandalia Butler (No. 16).

DAYTON 2 SECTIONAL

Tuesday, Feb. 24

5:30 p.m. (upper bracket) — Centerville (No. 1) vs. Stebbins (No. 22); 7 p.m. (upper bracket) — Northmont (No. 8) vs. Tecumseh (No. 14); 8:30 p.m. (lower bracket) — Fairmont (No. 4) vs. Xenia (No. 15).

Wednesday, Mar. 4 8:30 p.m. (lower bracket) — Meadowdale (No. 5) vs. Sidney (No. 9)

Thursday, Mar. 5

5:30 p.m. (lower bracket) — West Carrollton (No. 6) vs. Fairmont/Xenia winner; 7 p.m. (upper bracket) — Greenville (No. 11) vs. Northmont/Tecumseh winner; 8:30 p.m. — Miamisburg (No. 21) vs. Centerville/Stebbins winner.

AT CINTAS CENTER (XAVIER UNIVERSITY), LAKOTA WEST HIGH SCHOOL AND MASON HIGH SCHOOL

SECTION 1

Monday, Feb. 23

At Lakota West

6 p.m. (upper bracket) — Fairfield (No. 28) vs. Amelia (No. 31); 7:30 p.m. (upper bracket) — Cin. Western Hills (No. 23) vs Hamilton (No. 25).

Wednesday, Feb 25

At Mason

7:30 p.m. (lower bracket) — Cin. Turpin (No. 33) vs. Cin. LaSalle (No. 3)

Friday, Feb. 27

At Cintas Center

6 p.m. (upper bracket) — Princeton (No. 1) vs. Fairfield/Amelia winner; 7:45 p.m. (upper bracket) - Cin. Withrow (No. 24) vs. Hamilton/Cin. Western Hills winner

Sunday, Mar. 1

At Cintas Center

2 p.m. (lower bracket) — Cin. Walnut Hills (No. 10) vs. Milford (No. 15); 3:45 p.m. (lower bracket) — Cin. Oak Hills (No. 20) vs. Cin. LaSalle/Cin. Turpin winner.

SECTION 2

Wednesday, Feb. 25

At Lakota West

6 p.m. (upper bracket)— Lakota East (No. 14) vs. Northwest (No. 32); 7:30 p.m. (upper bracket) — Glen Este (No. 30) vs. Sycamore (No. 26).

Thursday, Feb. 26

At Lakota West

6 p.m. (lower bracket) — Western Brown (No. 19) vs. Colerain (No. 22); 7:30 p.m. (lower bracket) — Kings (No. 27) vs. Mt. Healthy (No. 29).

Monday, Mar. 2

At Cintas Center

6 p.m. (upper bracket) — Edgewood (No. 18) vs. Lakota West/Northwest winner; 7:45 p.m. (upper bracket) — Cin. Moeller (No. 4) vs. Glen Este/Sycamore winner.

Tuesday, Mar. 3

At Cintas Center

6 p.m. (lower bracket) — Cin. St. Xavier (No. 11) vs. Colerain/Western Brown winner; 7:45 p.m. (lower bracket) — Middletown (No. 2) vs. Kings/Mt. Healthy winner.

AT UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI AND MASON HIGH SCHOOL

Tuesday, Feb. 24

At Mason

6 p.m. (upper bracket) — Cin. Elder (No. 12) vs. Oxford Talawanda (No. 16); 7:30 p.m. (upper bracket) — Lakota West (No. 8) vs. Cin. Hughes (No. 17).

Wednesday, Feb. 25

At Mason

6 p.m. (lower bracket) — Cin. Anderson (No. 13) vs. Cin. Winton Woods (No. 22)

Saturday, Feb. 28

At UC

3 p.m. (upper bracket) — Mason (No. 7) vs. Cin. Elder/Oxford Talawanda winner; 4:30 p.m. (upper bracket) — Cin. Woodward (No. 9) vs. Lakota West/Cin. Hughes winner.

Tuesday, Mar. 3

At UC

6 p.m. (lower bracket) — Cin. Aiken (No. 9) vs. Harrison (No. 34); 7:30 p.m. (lower bracket) - Loveland (No. 5) vs. Cin. Anderson/Cin. Winton Woods winner.

DIVISION II

AT LEBANON HIGH SCHOOL

Friday, Feb. 27

6 p.m. (upper bracket) — Valley View (No. 11) vs. Chaminade Julienne (No.6); 7:30 p.m. (upper bracket) — Franklin (No. 8) vs. Hamilton Ross (No. 10).

Saturday, Feb. 28

5:30 p.m. (lower bracket) — Carroll (No. 9) vs. Oakwood (No. 7); 7 p.m. (lower bracket) — Dunbar (No. 3) vs. Monroe (No. 13); 8:30 p.m. — Bellbrook (No. 5) vs. Little Miami (No. 12).

Tuesday, Mar. 3

6 p.m. (upper bracket) — Marshall (No. 2) vs. Valley View/Chaminade Julienne winner; 7:30 p.m. (upper bracket) — Alter (No. 4) vs. Franklin/Hamilton Ross winner. Wednesday, Mar. 4

6 p.m. (lower bracket) — Wilmington (No. 1) vs. Bellbrook/Little Miami winner; 7:30 p.m. (lower bracket) — Oakwood/Carroll winner vs. Dunbar/Monroe winner.

AT TROY HIGH SCHOOL

Friday, Feb. 27

6 p.m. (upper bracket) — Eaton (No. 8) vs. Indian Lake (No. 7); 7:45 p.m. (upper bracket) — Benjamin Logan (No. 11) vs. Graham (No. 1).

Saturday, Feb. 28

6 p.m (lower bracket) — Bellefontaine (No. 6) vs. Milton-Union (No. 10); 7:45 p.m. (lower bracket) — Tippecanoe (No. 4) vs. Urbana (No. 5).

Monday, Mar. 2

6 p.m. (upper bracket) — Greenon (No. 12) vs. Graham/Benjamin Logan winner; 7:30 p.m. (upper bracket) — Northwestern (No. 9) vs. Eaton/Indian Lake winner.

Wednesday, Mar. 4

6 p.m. (lower bracket) — Springfield Shawnee (No. 3) vs. Tippecanoe/Urbana winner; 7:30 p.m. — Kenton Ridge (No. 2) vs. Bellefontaine/Milton-Union winner.

AT FAIRFIELD AND PRINCETON H.S.

Friday, Feb. 27

At Princeton

6 p.m. (upper bracket) — Cin. Taft (No. 3) vs New Richmond (No. 13); 7:30 p.m. (upper bracket)— Batavia (No. 11) vs. Indian Hill (No. 2). Saturday, Feb. 28

At Princeton

3 p.m. (lower bracket) — Norwood (No. 9) vs. Clermont Northeastern (No. 4): 4:30 p.m.(lower bracket) — Bethel-Tate (No. 7) vs. Finneytown (No. 8); 6 p.m. (lower bracket) — Cin. Roger Bacon (No. 1) vs. Wyoming (No. 12).

Tuesday, Mar. 3

At Fairfield

7 p.m. (upper bracket) — Taylor (No. 10) vs. Cin. Taft/New Richmond winner; 8:30 p.m. (upper bracket) — Cin. McNicholas (No. 5) vs. Batavia/Indian Hill winer Wednesday, Mar. 4

At Fairfield

7 p.m. (lower bracket) — Goshen (No. 6) vs. Norwood/Clermont Northeastern winner; 8:30 p.m. (lower bracket) — Bethel-Tate/Finneytown winner vs. Cin. Roger Bacon/Wyoming winner.

DIVISION III

AT UD ARENA AND FAIRMONT HIGH SCHOOL

SECTION I

Wednesday, Feb. 25

At Fairmont

6 p.m. (upper bracket) — Hamilton Badin (No. 9) vs. Clinton-Massie (No. 19); 7:30 p.m. — Middletown Madison (No. 5) vs. Tri-County North (No. 20)

At UD

6 p.m. (lower bracket) — Anna (No.1) vs. National Trail (No. 23); 7:30 p.m. (lower bracket) — Carlisle (No. 7) vs. Northeastern (No. 17).

Friday, Feb. 27

At UD

5 p.m. (lower bracket) — Greeneview (No. 13) vs. Carlisle/Northeastern winner; 6:30 p.m. (lower bracket) — West Liberty-Salem (No. 22) vs. Anna/National Trail winner; 8 p.m. (upper bracket) — Versailles (No. 8) vs. Middletown Madison/Tri-County North winner; 9:30 p.m. (upper bracket) — Brookville (No. 6) vs. Hamilton Badin/Clinton-Massie winner.

SECTION II

Thursday, Feb. 26

At UD

5:30 p.m. (upper bracket) — Twin Valley South (No. 14) vs. Preble Shawnee (No. 16); 7 p.m. (upper bracket) — Stivers (No. 12) vs. Fenwick (No. 15); 8:30 p.m. (lower bracket) — Dayton Christian (No. 3) vs. Dixie (No. 21).

Monday, Mar. 2

At UD

5:30 p.m. (lower bracket) — Arcanum (No. 11) vs. Northridge (No. 10); 7 p.m. (upper bracket) — Waynesville (No. 4) vs. Stivers/Fenwick winner; 8:30 p.m. (upper bracket) — Miami East (No. 2) vs. Twin Valley South/Preble Shawnee winner.

DIVISION IV

AT VANDALIA BUTLER HIGH SCHOOL

Tuesday, Feb. 24

6 p.m. (upper bracket) — Springfield Catholic (No. 10) vs. Franklin-Monroe (No. 5); 7:30 p.m. (upper bracket) — Jefferson (No. 1) vs. Cedarville (No. 11).

Wednesday, Feb. 25

6 p.m. (upper bracket) — Springfield Emmanuel Christian (No. 6) vs. Mississinawa Valley (No. 7); 7:30 p.m. (lower bracket) — Southeastern (No. 2) vs. Newton (No. 13).

Saturday, Feb. 28

Noon (lower bracket) — Tri-Village (No. 4) vs. Yellow Springs (No. 8); 1:30 p.m. (lower bracket) — Xenia Christian (No. 12) vs. Bethel (No. 3); 3 p.m. (upper bracket) —Ansonia (No. 9) vs. Franklin-Monroe/Springfield Catholic Central winner; 5 p.m. (upper bracket) — Jefferson/Cedarville winner vs. Mississinawa Valley/Springfield Emmanuel Christian winner.

Tuesday, Mar. 3

6 p.m. (lower bracket) - Miami Valley (No. 14) vs. Southeastern/Newton winner.

AT PIQUA HIGH SCHOOL

Friday, Feb. 27

6 p.m. (upper bracket) — Houston (No. 5) vs. Mechanicsburg (No. 7); 7:30 p.m. (upper bracket) — Lehman Catholic (No. 1) vs. Triad (No. 13).

Saturday, Feb. 28

2 p.m. (lower bracket) — Riverside (No. 6) vs. Troy Christian (No. 10); 6 p.m. (lower bracket) — Covington (No. 8) vs. Bradford (No. 11); 7:30 p.m. (lower bracket) — Fort Loramie (No. 3) vs. Fairlawn (No. 12).

Tuesday, Mar. 3

6 p.m. (upper bracket) — Jackson Center (No. 2) vs. Houston/Mechanicsburg winner; 7:30 p.m. (upper bracket) — Botkins (No. 9) vs. Lehman Catholic/Triad winner.

Wednesday, Mar. 4

6 p.m. (lower bracket) — Russia (No. 4) vs. Riverside/Troy Christian winner; 7:30 p.m. (lower bracket) — Covington/Bradford winner vs. Fort Loramie/Fairlawn winner.

AT LOVELAND HIGH SCHOOL

Thursday, Feb, 26

6:30 p.m. (upper bracket) — Cin. Christian (No. 5) vs. Middletown Christian (No. 6); 8 p.m. (upper bracket) — Cin. Hillcrest (No. 8) vs. New Miami (No. 11).

Friday, Feb. 27

6:30 p.m. (lower bracket) — Miami Valley Chrisitan (No. 12) vs. Georgetown (No. 7); 8 p.m. (lower bracket) — Cin. Country Day (No. 5) vs St. Bernard (No. 10).

Monday, Mar. 2

6:30 p.m. (upper bracket) — Cin. Seven Hills (No.1) vs. Cin. Hillcrest/New Miami winner; 8 p.m. — Cin. Summit Country Day (No. 4) vs. Cin. Christian/Middletown Christian winner.

Tuesday, Mar. 3

6:30 p.m. (lower bracket) — Fayetteville (No. 9) vs. Cin. Country Day/St. Bernard winner; 8 p.m. — Lockland (No. 2) vs. Miami Valley Christian/Georgetown winner.

AT COLDWATER HIGH SCHOOL

Tuesday, Mar. 3

6:15 p.m. — Waynesfield-Goshen vs. Lima Perry; 8:30 p.m. — New Bremen vs. Minster

Friday, Mar. 6

6:15 p.m. — New Knoxville (No. 1) vs. Lima Perry/Waynesfield-Goshen winner; 8:30 p.m — Fort Recovery (No. 2) vs. New Bremen/Minster winner.

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Band and basketball

sns020909spmattharner.jpg

CEDARVILLE — John Harner never misses one of his son, Matt’s basketballl games — especially at Cedarville’s Callan Athletic Center.

John is the pep band leader at Cedarville University, while his son Matt stars on the Yellow Jackets’ NAIA Division II fourth-ranked men’s basketball squad.

John Harner said his seat on ‘the edge of the floor’ is a great place to watch his son play.

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On this date in area sports history

On this day 17 years ago, Feb. 8, 1992, Harmony Township’s Bobby Bowsher almost came back to win the Dayton ARCA 200 at Daytona International Speedway, but lost to Jimmy Horton by 0.16 seconds.

Bowsher went on to win the ARCA RE/MAX series championship in 1992 and 1994. He’s the son of the late Jack Bowsher, an ARCA legend. Click the jump for the complete story.

Published in the Feb. 9, 1992 edition of the News-Sun:

HORTON NIPS BOWSHER AT DAYTONA

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Bobby Bowsher ran out of real estate and time Saturday.

Bowsher, of Harmony, Ohio, made a late push in his Ford Thunderbird, but lost by just 0.16 seconds to Jimmy Horton in the Daytona ARCA 200 at Daytona International Speedway.

Horton, from Lebanon, N.J.,drove a Chevrolet Lumina purchased over the winter from NASCAR Winston Cup star Darrell Waltrip, to his seventh superspeedway victory in the late model stock car series, matching his 1990 victory on the 2 1/2-mile oval.

Only the late Grant Adcox, with eight, has won more superspeedway events in ARCA’s Super Car Series.

Horton led three times for 25 of the 80 laps, including the final 10, to nip Bowsher who was second in the ARCA point standings last season. Defending ARCA Super Car champion Bill Venturini was third in a Chevy, followed by the Oldsmobile Cutlass of defending race champion Ben Hess and the Buick Regal of Clifford Allison, the best ARCA finish for the younger brother of Winston Cup star Davey Allison.

The race was slowed by seven caution periods for 35 laps. There were several crashes, but no injuries were reported.

The most spectacular wreck was a six-car incident on lap 24 during which the Pontiac Grand Prix driven by Andy Genzman flipped several times end-over-end, then burst into flame. Genzman was able to jump out of the car and dash to safety as soon as it stopped moving.

Horton gave up a four-second lead when he pitted for fresh tires on lap 53 and fell back to 12th place.

“It was our second pit stop and it was a gamble,” Horton said. “We wanted to put fresh tires on because we knew they were going to be on us before long. We were just hoping we could get bck to the front by the end.”

The 35-year-old driver did just that. He was third, trailing only leader Charlie Glotzbach and Bowsher on lap 66 when the sixth caution flag came out after Alan Pruitt hit the wall in turn 4.

The green flag waved again for the start of lap 71 and Horton quickly moved past Bowsher on the high side between turns 1 and 2, then went beneath Glotzbach on the long back straightaway to take the lead.

A blown engine in Bobby Massey’s car brought out the final yellow flag for laps 77 through 79.

When the green flag came out again for the one-lap sprint to the finish, Horton moved away to a five-length lead, then held on as Bowsher came on strong off the fourth turn but was unable to try a pass.

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It’s easy to fall in love with MMA

sns020809spmma.jpg

I can understand why MMA is becoming one of the most popular sports in the world.

It’s the theatrics and the action inside the cage that make people fall in love with MMA.

It took me awhile to warm up to the sport. I just thought it was no holds barred fighting in a cage. I was wrong.

Watching New Carlisle’s Todd Smart and Enon’s Warren Roberds — both extremely talented athletes — fight last December, I saw just what it took to become an MMA fighter and what it takes to both lose and win in the cage.

And then I watched my first UFC pay-per-view in December. I was hooked. It’s a sport I’ll definitely keep following.

We’ve got some big time MMA connections to Springfield as well.

North grad Dann Stupp is the founder of MMAJunkie.com, one of the best MMA web sites in the nation.

Springfield native Jan Finney is a professional MMA fighter in the female ranks.

Here are links to a series I wrote on MMA, which was published this weekend in the News-Sun:

MMA: Ready to Rumble

MMA could be ‘world’s most popular sport’

Amateur career a helpful training ground in MMA

Ohio regulations keep MMA amateurs safe

Check out this video about MMA from the National Geographic Channel:

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Trojans capture share of OHC title

SOUTH CHARLESTON — It had been seven years since Southeastern last won the Ohio Heritage Conference title in boys’ basketball.

But that drought is over. The Trojans beat Catholic Central 61-45, earning a share of the OHC title.

They host Triad on Friday, Feb. 13 with a chance to earn the title outright.

The Trojans also face two tough non-conference road games against Shawnee on Feb. 10 and Madison Plains on Feb. 17.

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Giving Wayne some props

Last night, I have to say I was pretty impressed with the Wayne High School basketball game, especially coach Travis Trice, Sr.

He’s got the Warriors’ program on the right track. He’s got a strong nucleus and lots of young players. They played a variety of halfcourt zone defense and traps that befuddled Springfield’s squad. It also helps they’ve got the athletes to play fast.

But even more impressive is the Warriors’ basketball website, WayneHoops.com, which does live webcasts of each and every game.

Every school needs a website like Wayne.

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On this date in area sports history…

On this date 10 years ago, Feb. 7, 1999, the News-Sun published a series of stories on th 10th anniversary of Wittenberg University leaving the Ohio Athletic Conference for the North Coast Athletic Conference.

This year, the NCAC is celebrating its 25th year. Click the jump for the full series.

Published in the Feb. 7, 1999 edition of the Springfield News-Sun:

WITT FANS HAVE MADE CHANGE TO NCAC

By Ron Ware, News-Sun Sports Writer

The wind-chill was near zero. Sidewalks were impassable. The sheriff was advising motorists to stay off the streets.

Yet, just as they have for nearly every home basketball and football game for more than 20 years, Milton and Marti Ogden were perched behind the Wittenberg bench, cheering on their beloved Tigers.

Like many longtime WU followers, the Springfield couple longs for the days when the Tigers played in the Ohio Athletic Conference — days when late arrivals might have trouble finding a seat in old Wittenberg Fieldhouse, in stark contrast to the spacious HPER Center that remained nearly desolate at tip-off on this bleak night.

But the Ogdens, who attended Wittenberg in the mid-1950s, say fans have gradually warmed to the rivalries in the North Coast Athletic Conference, a sentiment echoed by current and former Tiger coaches.

“I think the people still come that always did,” said Milton Ogden, decked out in a red Wittenberg sweatshirt adorned with a button reading, It’s Hard to Be Humble When You’re a Tiger. “I hated to lose the OAC, and I think everybody did. But we’re in the NCAC now, and there are some good rivalries developing in the NCAC.

“I kind of miss the OAC, though.”

“But,” his wife interjected, “I understood why they did it.”

Why they did it, as former WU president William Kinnison explained in making his historic decision 10 years ago, was to position Wittenberg with other highly selective liberal arts colleges. Judging from the school’s enrollment figures, the move was a success.

There was much less of a consensus a decade ago.

“Probably we felt at the time Kinnison was de-emphasizing sports,” Milton Ogden said.

Ron Ames, a 50-year-old Springfielder who has been attending WU football and basketball games since 1957, is such a big Tiger fan, he had his wife mail him newspaper clippings during his military hitch in Vietnam. He, too, was skeptical of the move.

“I was a little bit upset when they switched, because we had good rivalries with some of the teams, and we were in a pretty good area where we could get to see some of the (away) games,” he said. “That’s the only bad thing about the NCAC, that the schools are so spread out.

“The competition (in football and men’s basketball) at first was a step down. But overall, throughout the league, I think it has come up.”

Lifelong Springfielder Larry Spicer, a 1977 WU grad, literally grew up watching the Tigers. Both parents worked at the school, and his father, Eldon, started taking him to games when he was 2.

But even though he’s still a regular, he says the school’s fan base is eroding and that the rivalries aren’t what they used to be.

“From my standpoint, the OAC top to bottom was a stronger conference,” he said. “The games were more exciting. The games were more intense. Obviously, it’s been 10 years and some of the memories have faded, but I don’t think it’s the same as what it was.

“I think we have de-emphasized athletics to a certain extent. What we’re not seeing is the fan loyalty that we used to. You can come to games and see the same people all the time. It’s not the crowds, it’s not the fan loyalty, it’s not as intense as it used to be. Wittenberg used to be the thing to do in Springfield on a night they were playing.”

Wittenberg coaches, though, say they feel fans and alumni gradually have taken to the NCAC.

“I think most definitely,” said men’s basketball coach Bill Brown, in his sixth season. “I’d have to think there’s been a tradeoff — where it used to be Witt-Otterbein or Witt-Capital (as the big games), now it’s Witt and Wooster or Witt-Allegheny.”

“I think they have warmed to the move,” agreed women’s basketball coach Pam Evans-Smith, in her 13th season. “They’re supportive of Wittenberg and Wittenberg’s tradition of a winning attitude. I think they’ve warmed to it very well. I think the fans and alumni are very loyal at Wittenberg.”

As men’s basketball and football coach, respectively, at the time of the move, Dan Hipsher and Doug Neibuhr felt the brunt of fan dissatisfaction first-hand. But both said attitudes began changing once fans grew accustomed to the other NCAC teams.

“In my time there, especially the first two years, everybody wanted to be back in the OAC,” said Hipsher, who coached the Tigers their first four seasons in the NCAC and is now at Akron. “I don’t think you ever replace Wittenberg-Otterbein and Wittenberg-Capital. Everybody wanted to see those games, so I tried to play those teams as much as I could. …

“But I felt over the four years people were evolving and that they also saw the teams that were going to be strong rivalries in the NCAC.”

Neibuhr, who coached the football team from 1989-95 before returning to Millikin, his alma mater, experienced much the same thing in football.

“I think probably so, particularly the latter years I was there,” he said. “The last three or four years when our games with Allegheny and Ohio Wesleyan were so important, I think the townspeople were truly excited about that, too. I think the rivalries did pick up.

“But I certainly can understand how people felt at the time I came to Wittenberg. The involvement with the OAC was a lifelong involvement for a lot of people. There were a lot of great rivalries and friendships created in those years. I can see why some of the people were disappointed to see it end.”

From their seats in the sixth row at the HPER Center, Milton and Marti Ogden see it, too.

“But now,” Marti Ogden said, “we’re NCAC fans.”

A BRAVE ACT

WITTENBERG’S MOVE INTO THE NCAC 10 YEARS AGO WAS CONSIDERED A GAMBLE.

HAS IT PAID OFF?

By Ron Ware, News-Sun Sports Writer

Ask William Kinnison to highlight the major accomplishments of his 21-year tenure as Wittenberg University’s president, and he’ll point with a blend of pride and modesty to the school’s academic reputation, its financial well-being and its ability to continue attracting top students.

But Kinnison, himself an authority on local history, knows he’ll also be remembered for his “brave act” of 10 years ago — one that in the minds of many alumni and townspeople appeared sheer folly.

Wittenberg’s decade of membership in the North Coast Athletic Conference has seen the Tigers foster new rivalries, if not fully replace the old ones, and claim an unprecedented number of league championships. And it’s allowed the 2,100-student institution to position itself with other academically prestigious liberal arts schools _ the most critical element in Kinnison’s willingness to forsake a 74-year bond with the Ohio Athletic Conference.

Ten years later, WU administrators and even some of his most ardent critics describe the decision as a stroke of genius. As many colleges struggle with declining enrollment, Wittenberg’s numbers have seldom been better. And the move into the NCAC, says Kinnison’s successor, Baird Tipson, is a significant part of the reason for the school’s robust health.

To provide perspective on Wittenberg’s 10th anniversary in the North Coast, the Springfield News-Sun spoke with a wide range of current and former administrators and coaches as well as other longtime followers of the program.

The questions were obvious:

  • Has Wittenberg gotten out of the affiliation what it expected?

  • How does the 15-year-old NCAC, a mere tyke compared to the granddaddy of small-college athletic conferences, stack up against the 97-year-old OAC?

  • Have Wittenberg fans, once aghast at the thought of leaving the OAC, warmed to the NCAC?

The answers may be surprising.

“Say what you will about him,” said longtime football coach and athletic director Dave Maurer, who often did just that during his stormy relationship with his former boss. “But I don’t have any qualms saying Kinnison has done a great job in this area and that area.”

That’s not to say Maurer, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, and legions of other WU supporters wouldn’t love to see the school back in the OAC, which even Kinnison acknowledges as “probably the best football-basketball conference in the country.”

But to attract the quantity and quality of student it desires, it was imperative, Kinnison said, that Wittenberg align itself with similar institutions committed to similar goals — diversified athletic programs, equity among sports and equity among men’s and women’s sports.


Five years before Wittenberg was invited into the NCAC, Denison, Kenyon, Oberlin, Ohio Wesleyan and Wooster all bolted from the OAC, joining with Allegheny and Case Western Reserve to form the new league. Ironically, Kinnison was the chief mediator in trying to keep the OAC together, arguing that with its large membership base (then 14 schools), the conference could be a leader in women’s sports and the “minor” men’s sports, just as it was in football and basketball.

“When (keeping the OAC) fell apart,” said Kinnison, who served as Wittenberg’s president from 1974-95, “(the NCAC) really was the place for us.”

When the North Coast decided to expand for the 1989-90 school year, Wittenberg — shunned the first time — jumped at the opportunity, as did Earlham, which extended the league from Ohio and Pennsylvania into Indiana. Membership remained unchanged until last year, when Case announced it was leaving to compete solely in the University Athletic Association and both Hiram and Wabash were added, all effective next fall, leaving the NCAC at a record-high 10 schools.

“In looking back, I think it’s worked out pretty much the way the NCAC presidents envisioned it,” said Kinnison, a 1954 WU graduate and lifelong Springfield resident. “I think they got a couple of surprises along the way. You’re always going to have certain schools that struggle in certain sports.

“But I think for Wittenberg, it’s met all of our institutional objectives _ which was parity for women’s sports and parity of all sports. Because the Ohio Conference was very much a football-basketball conference.”

Still, Kinnison — widely accused of de-emphasizing athletics in the early 1980s when he implemented a controversial financial aid policy that discriminated against athletes and fired Maurer as athletic director, citing philosophic differences — admits he felt the heat. His announcement on June 3, 1988, that Wittenberg would join the NCAC was met with instant ridicule by alumni, fans and newspaper columnists.

“I think it was a very brave act,” he said, “on the part of the school from top to bottom — to recognize that for positioning ourselves in the market, this is where we belonged.”

A decade later, he should feel vindicated, Tipson says.

“My perception is Bill had a vision for Wittenberg that included it becoming a member of Phi Beta Kappa and raising its visibility as a very strong national liberal arts college,” he said. “I think when people look back on his presidency, that is what people will see as his major accomplishments. And athletics is a big part of that.

“It certainly looks to me like a decision that would be very easy to make today. With hindsight, it looks like a very good decision.”

Ken Benne, dean of admission and financial aid, understood the public outcry as well as anyone. A WU administrator since 1972, he played football for the Tigers from 1964-67 under the late Bill Edwards.

Yet he insists Wittenberg would not have been as successful in attracting students had it remained in the OAC.

“I can honestly say no, because we had to become more than an Ohio-based market to survive,” he said. “When you look at the number of our students who are involved in intercollegiate sports (nearly 1 in 4), athletics is a critical factor in choosing a school.”

Benne is so convinced of the wisdom of the move that he said he’s certain the remaining OAC schools wish they could follow suit.

“I don’t think anybody here has regrets, and I say that in a positive way,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any hard feelings. If you asked anybody in the Ohio Conference if they would make the move if they had the opportunity, they’d be foolish not to take advantage of it.”

It’s possible, Benne says, to quantify what entering the North Coast has meant to Wittenberg in terms of attracting students. It’s far more difficult to analyze what it’s signified athletically.


Wittenberg has won 34 team championships since joining the NCAC, including three this past fall, compared to 22 in its final 10 years in the OAC. But comparisons can be misleading, simply because the NCAC offers a whopping 22 sports. The OAC didn’t recognize women’s sports, for instance, until 1984-85.

The Tigers have had far more All-Americans in the past decade than ever before, but that’s largely because of the proliferation of sports and of All-American teams.

And while Wittenberg has captured just one NCAC all-sports trophy after winning the OAC men’s title three of its last five years in the conference, the OAC kept (and continues to keep) men’s and women’s standings separate, nullifying comparisons.

Interest also is difficult to gauge. As with most Division III schools, Wittenberg’s attendances figures are estimates, not actual counts, making comparisons there difficult, too.

But make no mistake, Tipson says.

“We’re not talking about wimpy athletic programs,” he said, perhaps not realizing just how many NCAA team championships the conference has won since Wittenberg entered the league _ 23, compared to the OAC’s seven in that time.

“I have been told the NCAC stands for the Nice Clothes Athletic Conference,” he continued, smiling. “And we do have a disproportionate number of white, suburban kids. It’s not gritty and blue collar the way some people perceive the Ohio Conference. But we have our share of strong athletic programs.”

Eighteen of the NCAC’s national championships in the past decade have come in swimming — Kenyon has won 19 men’s and 15 women’s titles in a row — but the conference also has claimed titles in football (by Allegheny in 1990), men’s soccer (by Ohio Wesleyan in 1998) and three in women’s tennis (by Kenyon in 1993, ‘95 and ‘97). Additionally, Ohio Wesleyan won the men’s basketball title in 1988, the season before Wittenberg entered the league.

The Ohio Conference’s championships in that time include four by Mount Union in football (1993, ‘96, ‘97 and ‘98), two by Capital in women’s basketball (in 1994 and ‘95) and one by Ohio Northern in men’s basketball (1993).

Although Wittenberg hasn’t contributed to the NCAC’s total, Carl Schraibman, WU’s athletic director since 1992, points to the Tigers’ gradual rise in the conference all-sports standings as evidence of a strong, broad-based athletic program.

“I think if you look across the board at the 22 sports, we’ve been well-represented in the NCAAs,” he said. “And I think that’s the measure you look at.”

He’s especially proud of the fact Wittenberg’s varsity athletes annually compile a grade-point average virtually identical to that of the student body as a whole.

“Our success in athletics has not hurt but, in fact, (has) maintained the academic expectations of the university,” he said.


The move into the North Coast undoubtedly helped boost certain sports, coaches say — especially on the women’s side. And even in sports in which the Ohio Conference traditionally is strong, leaving for the NCAC provided a bonus in some cases. Wittenberg’s two football playoff trips in the past four years may not have happened if the Tigers were still in the OAC, battling Mount Union for a postseason berth.

“In some sports, it was a major boon,” said Pam Evans-Smith, a 1982 WU grad who has served as women’s basketball coach since 1986 and associate athletic director since 1996. “Other sports, I think they were resistant at first, but I think they’ve found their niche (in the NCAC). I don’t think it was bad for athletics.”

Linda Arena and Steve Dawson — the only other head coaches still remaining from the OAC days — agree, to a point.

“The conference is pretty strong in some sports and not others,” said Dawson, who has coached men’s soccer since 1982 and also served as men’s swimming coach from 1982-91. “That is pretty evident. The NCAC is not the OAC.

“The football and basketball coaches may not like me to say it, but that conference is a basketball-football conference. This is a soccer, swimming, lacrosse and tennis conference. That’s what they’re strong in.”

Arena, who served as Wittenberg’s first full-time women’s athletic director from 1982-92 and continues to coach field hockey, said the move into the North Coast generally has helped women’s sports. But Wittenberg already had taken significant steps to boost its women’s program, she noted.

“It wasn’t as important as getting full-time coaches or getting equitable budgets,” she said. “It certainly was secondary to that. Its impact was, I think, in publicity. In sports like (field) hockey and lacrosse, it’s hard to recruit if you’re not a conference sport. It hurt softball (which didn’t become an NCAC sport until last year).

“In terms of competition, (women’s) basketball is stronger in the OAC. But they don’t have hockey. I think it’s fair to say the move helped some (sports) and may have hindered or stymied the growth in others.

“It wasn’t that the NCAC saved women’s sports. They were on their way.”

Joe Fincham and Bill Brown, who coach Wittenberg’s most visible men’s sports, say the conference affiliation is not an obstacle in building a top-notch program.

And there’s evidence to back that. Fincham’s football team reached the national quarterfinals this past fall before suffering a two-point loss at Mount Union, which went on to claim its fourth title of the decade. And Brown’s basketball team placed third in the nation in 1993-94.

“I think every conference has its pluses and minuses,” said Fincham, who joined the football staff in 1990 and just completed his third season as head coach. “And I know in talking to people, some folks think the OAC is a better football conference. I don’t know. I really don’t. I’ve never competed in the OAC.

“But everybody has their doormats. I mean, I grew up across from Marietta when people were wearing bags on their heads to their games (in the early 1980s). So the situation we’ve had with one or two schools isn’t unique.

“But I think we have a good, competitive league. We have four or five teams that are pretty darn good. Are we as good as the OAC? I don’t know. But we’re a very competitive league.”

Brown, in his sixth season as men’s basketball coach at his alma mater, has continued to play at least two OAC schools each season (the Tigers are 20-10 against the OAC since leaving the conference, although that includes a 7-0 mark the first season; they’re 5-5 over the past four seasons). He said he’s grown weary of hearing about the OAC’s supposed superiority.

“In my opinion, in the years I have been here, the top 50 percent of both leagues is identical (in caliber),” said Brown, who also has coached at Wooster and Kenyon. “The bottom three in our league are not as competitive as (Nos.) 8, 9 and 10 in their league. What’s in the middle changes from year to year, so that’s more difficult to get a handle on.

“Top to bottom, the OAC is probably more competitive than the NCAC. But at the top, neither has to take a back seat to the other.”

But Capital Coach Damon Goodwin, a WU assistant under Hipsher and Brown from 1989-94, said it didn’t take him long to realize there are few pushovers in the OAC.

“I don’t think I realized the difference (in the conferences) when I was at Wittenberg,” he said. “I do now. I think in our league, the (Nos.) 8, 9 and 10 teams are very competitive. I really don’t think that’s the way it is in the North Coast. They have three or four very solid teams. But there’s a big drop from the top half to the bottom half.”

Wittenberg’s series history against some of its NCAC rivals tends to bear that out. The Tigers have beaten Denison 49 of the past 50 games, Oberlin 28 straight, Earlham 29 straight and Ohio Wesleyan 36 straight (even sweeping the Bishops the season they won the national championship).


The main problem with the NCAC, in the view of Maurer, is that a few schools simply refuse or have been unable to elevate some sports to a competitive level.

He recalls Oberlin and Kenyon struggling in football as far back as 25-30 years ago in the OAC, when they did not play a full conference schedule and thus were ineligible for the championship. Kenyon has had trouble sustaining its success, but it did share the NCAC football title in 1989. Oberlin, however, has won only three games this decade, going through four coaches.

“I had full understanding of what our administration was attempting to do (when it entered the NCAC),” said Maurer, who guided Wittenberg to the 1973 and ‘75 Division III football titles and also coached golf, swimming and track during his 40 years at the school. “I could see that, the objectives Kinnison laid out. Fine.

“But what you ended up with was a conference in the sports of football and basketball that weren’t nearly as competitive as the OAC. Some schools worked hard to upgrade their sports and others, frankly, I don’t think they gave a damn.”

Wittenberg administrators prefer to take Benne’s stance.

“The best thing about leaving the other conference is we still like them and respect and get along with them,” he said. “We’re in the conference we should be in, but we’re still able to play schools from the other conference, like Baldwin-Wallace in football.

“I think we have the best of both worlds.”

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Highlights of Leech’s 52-point night

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North High School grad Tryvan Leech scored 52 points against Wheeling Jesuit on Jan. 22.

It was the highest point total of any player in D-II this season.

It also made West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference commissioner Will Prewitt remember a performance by another Springfield native — South grad Ajamu Gaines, who scored 31 points in the first half for the University of Charleston against Salem.

It’s also gave Leech reason to tease his teammates, most of whom call West Virginia home.

“That was pretty weird,” Leech said. “I’ve been running my mouth about Springfield. I rub it in the West Virginia guys’ face a little bit.”

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Live updates from Springfield-Wayne boys hoops

9:45: It’s over. Wayne wins 75-40. Trice had 19 for the Warriors.

9:30: After three quarters, Wayne leads 63-35. Freeman has 11 for the ‘Cats, while Robert Moss has 10 points.

9:04: At the half, Wayne leads 42-23. Trice has 17 at half for the Warriors.

Freeman has nine for Springfield and Robert Moss has eight points.

8:50: Springfield assistant AD Greg Newland just worked crowd control, breaking up a fight in the Springfield student section.

8:46: After the first quarter, Wayne leads 17-10.

Travis Trice has nine points for Wayne, all-3-pointers. Akeem Freeman has nine points for the Wildcats.

Springfield led 8-5 midway through the first quarter, but Wayne used a 1-3-1 halfcourt trap to force the ‘Cats into all kinds of careless turnovers. They outscored them 12-2 to end the quarter.

8:20: We’re 20 minutes late, but we’re about five minutes away from tip here at Springfield High School.

Here’s the starters for each team —

Springfield: Akeem Freeman, Letrell Leslie, Robert Moss, Trey Depriest, Zack Burks.

Wayne: Brandon Williams, Travis Trice, Lamar Mallory, Dominique Fowler, Markus Crider.

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Tigers hoops team is maturing fast

The Wittenberg men’s basketball team is in the midst of a 3-game road trip which will take them to Richmond, Ind., Meadville, Pa. and Columbus.

But even though the Tigers have a young squad, by this point in the season, Brown believes they’ve matured.

“We have little experience, but we took a trip to Seattle which was an extended road trip for sure and we took trips to Cedarville and Wooster,” Brown said. “I don’t think its probably accurate to call these people freshmen any more.”

Defense and rebounding is key on the road, Brown said.

“You have to play good offense and make shots,” Brown said, “but in a foreign environment, if you go in thinking defense and rebounding, which can be fairly constant I would hope regardless of the environment, and mental and physical toughness as being the keys to winning on the road, that’s where it’s at.”

“We really need to believe in defense and rebounding,” Brown continued. “We have to refuse to not play with great effort. We have to refuse not to play some of our best basketball individually and collectively.”

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Tecumseh’s Jones honored

Tecumseh football player Jordan Jones, a defensive end and guard, was named an Old Spice Red Zone Player of the Year.

Jones was one of 50 football players across the nation honored by as a top player. Jones had his picture in the Thursday, Feb. 5, edition of USA Today.

Over 9,000 players were nominated. Jones was named Central Buckeye Conference Kenton Trail Division Athlete of the Year. He was also named to the Division II All-Ohio second team.

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On this date in area sports history…

On this date five years ago, Feb. 6, 2004, the News-Sun published a story on how the 3-point line has kept young players from learning how to rebound.

Published in the Feb. 6, 2004 edition of the News-Sun:

WANTED: WINDEX WARRIORS

EMPHASIS ON HITTING THE GLASS DOWN AS MORE 3-POINTERS ARE LAUNCHED

By BRIAN PLASTERS, News-Sun Sports Writer

The call of the 3-point line is strong _ often too strong to ignore.

Starting at an early age, potential basketball stars dribble outside the 3-point line, turn around and launch up a long trey.

“The younger kids see that line out there and they automatically go out there and shoot it,” Southeastern coach Aaron Perry said.

The development of the 3-point shot has detracted from the emphasis on rebounding.

Either teams have one main rebounder _ consider South’s Nate Miller and Southeastern’s Matt Poole, who gobble up prodigious amounts of boards _ or teams rely heavily on the 3-point shot, spreading rebounds around to all corners of the court.

With their eyes on the larger prize, more players than ever are launching shots outside the 3-point arc. It’s not just the guards, either, it’s the big men, as well.

A quick tour through the News-Sun’s weekly statistics shows twice as many players are chucking up 3-pointers _ successfully _ than working underneath for the rebounds. In this week’s statistics report, 23 local players qualified for the 3-point shooting requirement (two attempts per game with 30 percent made), while 13 grabbed more than the minimum of seven rebounds.

“(Rebounding’s) something that’s a lost art, and I think it’s gotta be taught,” Mechanicsburg coach Darren Long said. “It’s gotta be a mindset for the kids in the younger ages, and they have to understand it’s just as important to rebound as to shoot.”

Mechanicsburg fits into the mold of both the big rebounder and outside shooter. The Indians have 6-foot-5 forward Todd Marsh underneath scooping up 9.3 rebounds per game. Outside, Tim Patten has been lights-out all season, making 45.8 percent (27 of 59) of his 3-pointers.

Marsh has taken one 3-point shot in three years on the varsity squad, and that’s the way Long has built his team. Marsh averages 11.2 points per game as the Indians’ top inside scoring threat.

“(Marsh) knows what he’s gotta do to be a basketball player and be successful,” Long said.

While trey’s light up a scoreboard, rebounds light up a coach’s heart. Playing defense, scrambling after loose balls and pulling down missed shots is often the safest way to stay on the floor.

Southeastern coach Aaron Perry said the Trojans were having difficulty rebounding earlier in the year. Poole, easily the tallest player on the team at 6-5, has averaged a steady 8.8 rebounds per game, but it hasn’t been until recently the rest of the squad has picked up its rebounding output.

“I think when you’ve got one really good big man, I think naturally other kids stand back and let him do his thing, because they’re used to Matt getting them all,” Perry said. “Sometimes when you’ve got one great rebounder, it actually causes your overall team rebounding to go down a little bit.”

Perry said an increased focus on grabbing boards has helped the team in the second half of the season.

“As a coach, it’s my job to make them do it. In the second half we’ve really improved our rebounding stats, and that’s from restructuring it, and putting an emphasis on it,” Perry said.

One team that’s rarely worried about a lack of rebounds is South. The Wildcats lead the Greater Western Ohio Conference with 34 total rebounds a game, followed closely by Troy (33) and North (32).

“We just tell our kids, basically, you’ve gotta board,” South coach Larry Ham said.

As simple as it sounds, it works. On defense, all five Wildcats on the court go after the rebound. On offense, one player is left to guard the outlet, but everyone else heads after the ball.

It helps that Miller, 6-3 and blessed with a tremendous gift of anticipation, seems to be always around the ball. The rest of the team reinforces Miller.

“We talk a lot about leaning on people, how to pin guys,” Ham said. “We’re not the biggest guys, so we can’t always box somebody else out.”

Ham also limits the players who can shoot 3-pointers. James Cooper and Jabril Thomas generally have the green light, but he wants the other players to shoot closer to the basket.

If it was up to Perry, he wouldn’t allow any players younger than middle-school age to shoot 3-pointers. At the middle school level, he said only a select few should be allowed to put up the longer shot.

“I don’t even agree with the 3-point shot in the junior high,” Perry said. “I think they shoot too many of them. They stopping shooting the ball and they become heaves or throws.”

Which leads to longer rebounds at an early age, and players don’t learn proper rebounding techniques. Once they do learn correct techniques, playing time becomes more plentiful.

“If you’ve got a kid who can play defense and can rebound, he’s going to make a coach very happy,” Long said.

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Coach, hypnotize me?!

Coaches will do anything to win a basketball game.

It seems a team in St. John, Kansas, two years removed from a state title, was hypnotizing players to elevate their athletic performance. But the school board decided they’re no longer allowed to use hypnosis.

The night after the board ordered the hypnosis to stop, St. John beat Western Plains 53-43 in Ransom. Before the game, Western Plains assistant coach Jerod Horchem said he wasn’t concerned that his team’s opponents had used hypnotism. He noted that it doesn’t matter what motivational method is used if it brings a team together. “If we did something like that we’d probably hypnotize our guys, they’d fall asleep and never wake up,” Horchem said. “But if that would make them shoot better and I could do that in the next 10 minutes, then get me a watch on a string.”

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Video of Florence’s heave against Mechanicsburg

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A few weeks ago, Southeastern’s Reed Florence nailed an 80-foot heave off a missed free throw with 1.1 second remaining before halftime in the Trojans win over Mechanicsburg.

At the time, it was a big play in the game that changed the momentum before the half. We’ve finally got some video.

Here’s a link to the game story.

Here’s the complete video:

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On this date in area sports history…

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On this date seven years ago, Feb. 5, 2002, the Southeastern boys basketball, ranked No. 1 in Division IV, escaped Cedarville with a 36-33 victory to win the first Ohio Heritage Conference boys basketball title.

Published in the Feb. 6, 2002 edition of the News-Sun:

STILL PERFECT, BARELY

TROJANS ESCAPE WITH OHC TITLE, WIN MARK

By KEVIN VAN BRIMMER, News-Sun Sports Writer

CEDARVILLE — Cedarville HAD Southeastern.

The Indians had the No. 1 team in the state, its perfect season, its school record for wins and its hopes for sole possession of the conference title in their hands and the fist was slowly closing.

Then Cedarville lost its grip as the basketball bounced across the floor with one minute to play. Mark Waddle got a diving grip on the ball, and the game, and led the Trojans to gutsy 36-33 comeback victory.

“Mark Waddle played as well (tonight) as he’s played all season,” said Trojans forward Brian Cooper. “He stepped up. He made a lot of clutch free throws. I’m real proud of Mark.”

Waddle, a senior, loaded the faltering Trojans (18-0, 12-0 OHC) on his back, both offensively and defensively, in the final five minutes and scored nine of Southeastern’s 13 fourth-quarter points.

Waddle’s pure hustle effort in the closing minutes included being a front man in the Trojans’ devastating 1-3-1 trapping press, where he came up with the game’s biggest steal. And he drained 7 of 7 free throws in the fourth quarter. It was just the boost Southeastern needed.

“It comes down to senior leadership,” said Trojans coach Aaron Perry. “He had faith in himself and in his teammates. That’s what seniors do: They will their teams to victory. That’s what he did in the fourth quarter for us.”

With the win, Southeastern staked claim to the outright Ohio Heritage Conference championship and won its 18th straight game, a new school record.

But the Trojans nearly were forced to settle for a 17-game winning streak. It was evident from the opening minute of the game that Cedarville (12-6, 8-4) was not prepared to go away quietly this time. The Indians had suffered a 22-point loss in the teams’ first matchup.

The Indians fed off the electricity flowing from the crowd that packed the gym to the rafters. The south wall still bears the words “KTC Champions,” above dozens of years in nearly a dozen sports. Cedarville, which entered the game still in the hunt for the first OHC title, wasn’t going to allow Southeastern a waltz to the banner.

The Indians played tenacious defense, hounding the Trojans’ guards. They also fronted and double-, some times triple-teamed Cooper in the paint. They forced Southeastern to take bad shot after bad shot while methodically and patiently working the ball toward the hoop on the offensive end.

“I think … we were very patient offensively and we made them work on defense,” said Cedarville coach P.J. Bertemes. “I think that wears you down. All of a sudden, your transition’s not as fast and your offense isn’t fluid because you’re a lot more tired.”

The result was Southeastern (which had averaged 67 points a game coming in) posting just 15 first-half points, a mere five in the second quarter, and going into the locker room trailing by four.

The third quarter was more of the same with errant Southeastern shots clanging off the rim, bounding off the backboard or missing entirely from the sides. By the time the fourth quarter began, the Indians lead had grown to seven at 30-23.

Content to slow the game even more, Cedarville went almost immediately into a stall offense, looking to take only sure shots from inside eight feet and keep the ball out of the Trojans’ hands.

But only three points in the final eight minutes spelled doom.

“For three and a half quarters, they physically and mentally beat us,” Perry said.

Then Waddle stepped up after a timeout in which Perry expressed the need for his team to trap, scrap and get the ball.

“We had to make them make decisions and make them make plays because they were starting to slow it down and wanted to keep the game in the 20s,” Perry said. “We had to get more action defensively to throw us into offensive situations and score some points.”

A minute later, Waddle grabbed a rebound off a Micah Harding miss and got the foul, sending him to the line for a 1-and-1. He hit both.

Southeastern followed the make with the 1-3-1 trap and forced a turnover. Cooper, who had 10 points, 10 rebounds and six steals, converted on a hotly-contested 18-foot jumper to cut the lead to 30-27.

Harding stretched lead back to four with a free throw, one of his game-high 15 points.

Waddle answered that with two foul shots then responded to a Ricky Willis bucket with a three-point play, closing the gap to one at 33-32 with 2:19 to go.

One minute later, Waddle was on the floor snatching the biggest steal of the night and getting the foul. He calmly hit both free throws, his sixth and seventh of the quarter, to give the Trojans the lead.

“l played hard and it happened to be my luck to get the ball and I stepped up to the line and hit them just like practice,” Waddle said.

One minute later, Cooper came up with a steal of his own, from Willis on the baseline, and sealed the win, the title and the school record with two free throws.

“We put ourselves in position to beat the No. 1 team in the state and we just didn’t make plays,” Bertemes said. “They picked up the pressure, and that’s when the game is on the line. Southeastern just made some plays down the stretch.”

Said Perry, “I’m proud of the boys. When they had to, they went out and made plays. Really good teams and championship teams do that, and they find ways to win close games.”

SOUTHEASTERN (36) — Rice 1 0-0 2, Clark 3 0-6 6, Waddle 3 8-9 14, Cooper 3 4-4 10, Poole 1 0-0 2, Kitchen 0 0-0 0, Workman 0 0-0 0, Graves 1 0-0 2, Bruns 1 0-0 2. Totals 12 12-19 36.

CEDARVILLE (33) — Kragel 0 0-0 0, Yoakum 1 0-0 3, Rost 0 0-0 0, Harding 6 3-4 15, Schlappi 4 3-3 11, Willis 1 0-1 2, Martindale 0 2-2 2. Totals 12 8-10 33.

Southeastern 10 15 23 36 Cedarville 11 19 30 33

Three-point goals: Southeastern none; Cedarville 1 (Yoakum). Records: Southeastern 18-0, 12-0 OHC; Cedarville 12-6, 8-4. Reserves: Southeastern 51 (Cheadeayne 13), Cedarville 35 (Reimer 13).

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Spanning the Miami Valley…

Here’s a couple links to stories on area basketball games played around the area on Tuesday.

Greeneview couldn’t overcome Oakwood in boys basketball action on Tuesday, Feb. 3.

West Liberty-Salem led the entire game, but let Riverside come back for an overtime win.

Fairbanks hang tough, but couldn’t keep pace with the state-ranked Southeastern boys team.

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On this date in area sports history…

On this date, Feb. 4, 2003, the New-Sun published a story on West Liberty-Salem freshman guards Tyler Ledford and Brad Coder.

Ledford is currently playing basketball at Wilmington College, where he averages 10.4 points and 4.1 assists per game.

Published in the Feb. 4, 2003 edition of the Springfield News-Sun:

THEY’RE NO LONGER TIGER CUBS; FRESHMAN GUARDS ARE GROWING UP FAST AT WLS

By BRIAN PLASTERS, News-Sun Sports Writer

WEST LIBERTY — Aaron Hollar no longer considers his two young guards — Tyler Ledford and Brad Coder — freshmen.

“I think it’s a little bit overrated that they’re freshmen, because they’ve played so much basketball with us and with AAU. They’ve played as much basketball as some juniors and seniors,” explained Hollar, the West Liberty-Salem coach.

After the way this season has gone, it only seems that the two are older than the WLS roster indicates. Ledford has started every game in his young varsity career while Coder eased into a starting role after the first week of the season.

Ledford, a 5-foot-9 point guard, leads the team with 4.2 assists per game and adds 10.1 points.

Coder, a 6-foot wing, averages 13.2 points and grabs 7.4 rebounds per contest. He has also connected on a team-best 24 of 57 3-pointers (42.1 percent). Coder grabbed 18 rebounds in one game this season.

Ledford is a vocal leader on the floor, says Hollar, unafraid to speak his mind or suggest a play.

“Brad’s one of those kids that’s got a nose for the ball. He just anticipates very well. He jumps very well,” Hollar said. “(Tyler’s) had a couple games where’s he’s turned the ball over too much, but he’s still got a lot more assists than turnovers.”

Ledford and Coder’s arrival onto the varsity scene has been anticipated ever since their middle school teams lost just one game over the last two years.

Hollar said he saw the potential in his young duo, but he didn’t expect things to pick up so quickly when the season started.

“I thought after watching this summer that they would contribute significantly, but I don’t think I could have predicted them both in double figures and starting every game,” Hollar said. “We were awfully excited about them. We just weren’t sure what we were going to have until we saw them playing with the other guys.”

But they fit in immediately, Hollar said, and the older players helped ease the transition.

“There hasn’t been any animosity at all (from the older players),” Hollar said. “The upperclassman have been very good teammates.”

The freshmen have been able to flourish because the Tigers (10-7, 6-5 Ohio Heritage Conference) had a good support system already in place when they arrived.

Tim Steiner, a 6-foot junior guard, leads the Tigers with 17.9 points per game. Meanwhile, 6-10 senior Trey Richardson averages 9.5 boards per contest.

Steiner draws opponents’ best defender while Richardson ties up the other team’s big man. Ledford and Coder usually get the leftovers.

The Tigers are currently tied for fourth in the OHC with Mechanicsburg, trailing the first-place trio of Greeneview, Cedarville and Southeastern by two games.

Although the Tigers beat both Greeneview and Southeastern, Cedarville swept the season series.

“Every game we’ve played in the league has been a close game. Unfortunately we haven’t finished off a few of those. That would help us,” Hollar said.

Even though he’d like to have a few more wins, Hollar said he’s happy with the play of his team and his freshmen.

“It’s unbelievable how relaxing some parts of the game can be. They do everything we ask them to do. It’s fun being around them,” he said. “It’s an exciting brand of basketball that we play.”

And the future looks bright in West Liberty as Steiner, Ledford and Coder are all underclassmen. The Tigers will lose just three seniors to graduation.

“We’ve got a nice core of players that will be back next year,” Hollar said.

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Cougars No. 10; Tigers No. 8 in girls poll

Kenton Ridge is No. 10 in Division II in latest girls basketball poll, while West Liberty-Salem is No. 8 in D-III. Click the jump for the complete poll.

The latest Associated Press girls basketball poll, with won-lost record and total points (first-place votes in parentheses):

DIVISION I

1, Cin. Mt. Notre Dame (18), 14-1, 226

2, Dublin Coffman (6), 17-0, 221

3, Cin. Winton Woods, 14-0, 150

4, W. Chester Lakota W., 13-2, 147

5, Dresden Tri-Valley, 18-0, 136

6, Xenia (1), 15-0, 127

7, Delaware Hayes, 16-0, 110

8, Perrysburg, 14-0, 77

9, Twinsburg, 12-3, 44

10, Warren Howland, 15-0, 29

Others receiving 12 or more points: 11, Kettering Fairmont 24. 12, Tol. Start 20. 13 (tie), Beavercreek, Can. McKinley (1) 18. 15 (tie), Pickerington Cent., Dublin Scioto 14.

DIVISION II

1, Lima Bath (14), 15-0, 240

2, Kettering Alter (7), 15-1, 206

3, Tipp City Tippecanoe (1), 16-0, 197

4, Tiffin Columbian, 15-0, 152

5, Chillicothe Unioto (1), 15-0, 134

6, Geneva (1), 15-0, 96

7, Warsaw River View, 13-2, 94

8, Akr. Hoban (1), 12-2, 76

9, Shaker Hts. Hathaway Brown, 10-4, 39

10, KENTON RIDGE, 13-2, 38

Others receiving 12 or more points: 11, Canton South (1) 30. 12, Salem 19. 13, Wapakoneta 18. 14, Mentor Lake Cath. 17. 15, Cambridge 13. 16 (tie), Cin. Indian Hill, Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit 12.

DIVISION III

1, Marion Pleasant (14), 16-0, 243

2, S. Euclid Regina (11), 14-0, 239

3, Smithville, 16-0, 183

4, Oak Hill, 13-1, 137

5, Genoa Area, 14-0, 136

6, Findlay Liberty-Benton, 13-1, 120

7, Millbury Lake, 14-0, 110

8, WEST LIBERTY-SALEM, 14-1, 75

9, Mt. Blanchard Riverdale, 13-1, 60

10, Andover Pymatuning Valley (1), 15-0, 18

Others receiving 12 or more points: 11, Amanda-Clearcreek 12.

DIVISION IV

1, Convoy Crestview (16), 14-0, 243

2, Berlin Hiland (10), 12-1, 231

3, New Bremen, 15-1, 175

4, Delphos St. John’s, 12-2, 140

5, Pettisville, 13-2, 118

6, Cols. Africentric, 12-4, 103

7, Canal Winchester Harvest Prep, 14-2, 74

8, Shadyside, 14-2, 61

9, Troy Christian, 14-2, 49

9, New Riegel, 13-2, 49

Others receiving 12 or more points: 11, Waterford 34. 12, Leipsic 26. 13 (tie), Carey, Cle. Hts. Lutheran E. 23. 15 (tie), Ft. Recovery, Ottoville 13.

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The definition of toughness in basketball

Here’s a link to an interesting story Jay Bilas wrote on ESPN.com about what defines toughness in college basketball.

I found out pretty quickly that I wasn’t, but I toughened up over time, and I got a pretty good understanding of toughness through playing in the ACC, for USA Basketball, in NBA training camps, and as a professional basketball player in Europe. I left my playing career a heck of a lot tougher than I started it, and my only regret is that I didn’t truly “get it” much earlier in my playing career. When I faced a tough opponent, I wasn’t worried that I would get hit — I was concerned that I would get sealed on ball reversal by a tough post man, or that I would get boxed out on every play, or that my assignment would sprint the floor on every possession and get something easy on me. The toughest guys I had to guard were the ones who made it tough on me. Toughness has nothing to do with size, physical strength or athleticism. Some players may be born tough, but I believe that toughness is a skill, and it is a skill that can be developed and improved. Michigan State coach Tom Izzo always says, “Players play, but tough players win.” He is right.

The story applies well to all levels of basketball competition. If you want to be tough, follow these guidelines. The best teams you’ll watch will have all these traits and then some.

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Brakeman Report taps Graham again in 2009

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The 2009 Brakeman Report was released Jan. 28 — and it’s no secret who the wrestling guru is choosing to win the D-II team title.

But how many state champs is he predicting the Falcons might have? And how might other teams in the area fare?

Here’s the complete report:

2009BrakemanReport.pdf

In case you missed it, watch this video of three-time state champ David Taylor against three-time state champ Collin Palmer of Lakewood St. Edward:

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For your viewing pleasure…

The sickest buzzer beater of 2009? I don’t know about that, mostly because we’ve still got 11 long months to go, but this is still a sweet shot.

Watch as Guthrie, Oklahoma’s Donte Foster ‘sets’ a shot into the basket during their game against Midwest City earlier this month.

He made all the volleyball coaches in Oklahoma very proud.

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On this date in area sports history…

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On this date in area history, Feb. 3, the News-Sun published a story on the Graham boys basketball team, who had gone 26-1 on the home court over three seasons.

The team included current Graham boys basketball coach Brook Cupps and Northwestern baseball coach Brent Parke.

Published in the Feb. 3, 1995 edition of the News-Sun:

FALCONS ARE BEST IN THEIR NEST; HOMECOURT EDGE BOOSTS GRAHAM

By Cindy Horner, Sports Writer

With its parquet floor and its Boston Garden mystique, Graham’s home court has become a haven for the Falcons.

The floor has become known as “Graham Gardens” mainly because the Falcons have made it hard for opponents to play there. The seniors are 26-1 over the past three years with three home dates remaining, including tonight’s game with Versailles.

“It’s a credit to the kids who have played in the program over the years,” said Coach Dave Zeller, whose team checks in at 12-2 and 3-0 in the Southwestern Rivers Conference.

“But I must say that this is the hardest working group from top to bottom. Most kids are sick of basketball practice at this point in the season. But, after our two-hour practice, kids are still shooting around. We have to run at least 10 of them off the floor. We basically have to demand that they leave. A lot of kids come out early in the morning and work out as well. I know that (starters) Brook Cupps and Keith Cunningham have been doing it religiously.”

The hard work has paid off and the Falcons are hoping that it continues to with four SRC contests remaining.

“We’re hoping to keep the intensity up and maybe a title will come to us,” senior Brent Parke said. “We’d really like to keep the winning going as well. The seniors on our team have been winning since junior high. We’ve gone something like 94-10 since junior high, and we take a little pride in it. We want to keep playing.”

Graham pulled off a big overtime win against Catholic Central last week at home. Central dealt the Falcons their last home loss two years ago.

“This league is so tough from top to bottom,” Zeller said. “We’re going to have to turn around and play another good game against Versailles after playing Central tough. Versailles is 11-3. We lost to them there in overtime last year. I felt like it was a game we gave away. We certainly haven’t forgotten about it. But Versailles is always tough to play, no matter what.”

Graham, which finished 19-4 last year, is doing things differently this season. With the graduation of 6-foot-8 center Steve Setty, now at Wittenberg, and Kevin Fritts, the Falcons have gone to a more uptempo game.

“We’ve changed our style from the half-court offense we used to run,” said point guard Cupps, who gets to school around 6:30 a.m. to do the Steve Alford workout every morning. Cupps took the workout, which takes about 45 minutes, from the former Indiana guard’s videotape.

“The big guys we have on the team can shoot the three as well as the smaller guys,” Cupps added. “We’re a quicker team and play mostly man-to-man using the whole court, and we’re doing a lot of traps. We’ve all been working hard on it.”

Zeller said that the offense had become too patterned.

“We wanted to run the ball up the court a little more,” he said. “But sometimes when teams do that, the intensity drops off. I told the kids that we’d go with the quicker paced offense during the preseason and if the intensity dropped off, then we would go back to the old offense. But it didn’t drop off, so we stuck with it.

“They like the uptempo game,” he added. “It’s more fun this way, and the kids have to be more aggressive, both offensively and defensively. They’re always attacking. We’re also shooting the three a lot more than in the past. We have two sophomores starting inside, and both are three-point shooters. We’ve just become more of a perimeter team.”

Four of Graham’s five starters are averaging double figures and most of the starters have a good shooting percentage. Sophomore Chris McGuire leads the team at 71 percent (55 of 78) from two-point range. Matt Middleton, one of six seniors, is shooting 67 percent from two-point range; Parke, the first player off the bench, is at 66 percent; sophomore Nick George is at 55 and Cupps at 49. McGuire also is at 43 percent from three-point land.

But don’t forget the bench. Zeller hasn’t.

“It’s like draw poker,” he said. “I have three seniors that come off the bench in Parke, Chad Wolfe and Kyle Wagner. One is a good three-point shooter, another is a good aggressive rebounder and the other is a defensive specialist. When the situation arises, I go to the deck and usually come up with what I’m looking for.

“Usually, seniors who do not start are a source of agitation and dissatisfaction,” Zeller added. “It’s not like that with these kids. These kids, with their attitude and senior leadership, they have been a big part of our success. They provide a great team atmosphere.”

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McIntosh on WLS’ girls hoop dynasty

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West Liberty-Salem coach Dennis McIntosh and his Tigers girls basketball squad never get tired of being on top of the OHC standings.

In eight years of the OHC, they’ve won six titles, including five in a row. On Monday, Feb. 2, they earned another title after a 51-45 defeat of rival Southeastern.

McIntosh said it’s not possible to win five straight league titles without great players and a tenured coaching staff.

“It says that you’ve had a lot of good kids come through here that’ve played hard,” McIntosh said. “We’ve had the same coaching staff and that says a lot. The kids know what to expect and that goes back to your middle school and fifth and sixth grade coaches as well. It goes in cycles and we’ve had our fair share at the moment. We’ll see how long it lasts.”

The Tigers led by as many as 17 in the second half, but Southeastern pulled to within four twice in the fourth quarter, but didn’t have enough energy to tie the game.

“I wasn’t real pleased with how we played in the second quarter,” said Southeastern coach Jim Lightle, “but in the latter half of the third and the fourth quarter I was proud of them. If we can keep playing like that, we’ll make a run in the tournament. You can’t make turnovers against a good team like that and have that kind of a drought and get that far behind and come out of it.”

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Live updates from WLS-SE girls hoops game

8:57: The Tigers win 51-45. The Trojans pulled to within four points twice in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t get any closer.

8:51: After two free throws by Hickenbottom, Erwin scored on a dribble drive to make it 48-43. Southeastern is going to press hard.

8:49: It’s still 46-41 with 1:28 to go. SE is pressuring all over the floor to grab a chance to put more points on the board. The Tigers have called two timeouts to deal with the pressure. Both teams have also missed big free throws, including two by Hickenbottom.

8:43: The tide has quickly turned in this game. The Trojans have pulled to within five points at 46-41.

8:33: Southeastern is starting to make it a game. The Trojans have outscored WLS 5-2 to start the quarter and have pulled to within nine at 40-31 with 6:48 to play.

8:27: After three quarters, West Liberty-Salem leads 38-26. Amber Hayslip’s putback at the buzzer brought the Trojans to within 12.

8:21: Jenna Erwin nailed a 3-pointer for the Trojans’ first basket of the quarter. WLS leads 33-20 with 3:26 to go in the quarter.

8:18: Quick halftime. Becka Peterson has nailed 3-of-4 free throws to extend the lead to 31-17 with 5:07 to go in the third quarter.

8:01: At the half, West Liberty-Salem leads 28-17. The Tigers outscored SE 19-4 in the quarter.

7:58: Harvey dotted the i with a jumper for Southeastern’s first bucket of the quarter with 2:36 to go. Peterson and Hickenbottom followed with layups to extend the lead to 24-15 with 1:28 to play.

7:54: WLS is in the midst of a 11-0 run. SE hasn’t scored this quarter and trail 20-13. Becka Peterson has scored back-to-back layups for the Tigers.

7:51: Five straight points by Park puts WLS back up 14-13 with 5:42 remaining.

7:47: A putback by Jasmynn Snyder and a 3-pointer by Jenna Erwin gives SE a 13-9 lead after the first quarter.

7:43: Amber Rice just nailed a 3-pointer to bring SE to within one at 9-8. Tigers have had turnovers on the last three possessions.

7:40: Amber Hayslip just came up with a big blocked shot for SE. Tigers lead 7-3 with 4:04 to go in the first quarter.

7:36: The Tigers lead 5-2 with 6 minutes remaining. The press is making the Trojans play fast, and its cause several turnovers.

7:34: Peterson for 2 off the opening tipoff. Tigers showing a 2-2-1 zone.

7:32: Haleigh Hickenbottom, Danielle King, Brooke Mayse, Christine Park and Becka Peterson for the Tigers.

For Southeastern, its Amber Hayslip, Hannah Bowman, Katie Banion, Jenna Erwin and Amanda Harvey.

7:27: The Southeastern band just finished play ‘The Final Countdown’. We’re just a few minutes away from tipoff here at Southeastern High School for this OHC clash.

The Tigers are 14-1 and 11-0 in the OHC. A victory gives the Tigers at least a share of their fifth straight OHC title.

The Trojans are 13-3 and 9-2 in the OHC.

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Graham unanimous No. 1 in D-II, SE No. 4 in D-IV

Graham is still the unanimous No. 1 in D-II, receiving all 31 first-place votes.

In D-IV, Southeastern is ranked No. 4. Click the jump for the complete poll.

How a state panel of sports writers and broadcasters rates Ohio high school boys basketball teams in the fourth of seven weekly Associated Press polls of 2009, by OHSAA divisions, with won-lost record and total points (first-place votes in parentheses):

DIVISION I

1, Warren Harding (16) 11-0 274

2, Cols. Northland (6) 13-1 224

3, Cin. Princeton (3) 13-1 218

4, Cle. Glenville (2) 11-0 195

5, Cin. Moeller 13-2 146

6, Middletown (1) 12-1 124

7, Lima Sr. 12-1 83

8, Can. Timken (1) 12-1 73

9, Barberton 12-1 67

10, Trotwood-Madison 12-2 54

Others receiving 12 or more points: 11, Can. GlenOak 41. 12, Cin. La Salle 38. 13, Dublin Scioto 30. 14, Lorain Admiral King (1) 24. 15, Centerville (1) 19. 16, Upper Arlington 17. 17, Sylvania Southview 16.

DIVISION II

1, GRAHAM (31) 14-0 310

2, Circleville Logan Elm 12-1 241

3, Wilmington 13-1 204

4, Cin. Indian Hill 11-1 172

4, Cols. DeSales 12-2 172

6, Cle. Benedictine 11-4 110

7, Day. Dunbar 9-4 103

8, Akr. SVSM 11-3 94

9, Dover 10-2 59

10, Day. Thurgood Marshall 12-4 45

Others receiving 12 or more points: 11, St. Bernard Roger Bacon 36. 12, Chillicothe 34. 13, Poland Seminary 26. 14, Minerva 19. 15, Kettering Alter 17. 16, Canal Winchester 13. 16, Napoleon 13.

DIVISION III

1, Smithville (23) 14-0 296

2, Casstown Miami E. (1) 12-0 254

3, Kirtland (3) 12-0 222

4, Findlay Liberty-Benton (2) 11-1 187

5, Anna 13-2 144

6, Ottawa-Glandorf (1) 11-2 138

7, St. Henry (1) 12-1 125

8, Cle. Cent. Cath. 11-2 79

9, W. Salem NW 12-2 36

10, Piketon 12-2 35

Others receiving 12 or more points: 11, Cuyahoga Falls CVCA 31. 12, Middletown Madison 22. 13, Beverly Ft. Frye 19. 14 (tie), London Madison Plains, Ironton 15. 16, Milan Edison 12.

DIVISION IV

1, New Knoxville (20) 14-0 294

2, Berlin Hiland (11) 14-0 284

3, Newark Cath. 12-1 207

4, SOUTHEASTERN 12-1 172

5, Bedford Chanel 9-2 141

6, Oak Hill 13-2 114

7, Cle. Hts. Lutheran E. 12-2 106

8, Delphos St. John’s 9-3 100

9, Day. Jefferson 9-3 53

10, Cin. Seven Hills 11-3 44

Others receiving 12 or more points: 11, Plymouth 34. 12, Worthington Christian 32. 13 (tie), Pandora-Gilboa, Malvern 25. 15, Ottoville 22. 16, Pettisville 16.

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Where are they now: Dave Burba

Kenton Ridge High School graduate Dave Burba is a former MLB pitcher who played for both the Reds and Indians organizations among others.

He’s currently coaching his son Dylan’s Little League and says he still hopes to play again someday, according to this story on Indians.com.

He has also served as an instructor on the tv show, Baseball Player University. He also has a sports blog named in his honor.

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On this date in area sports history…

On this date eight years ago, Feb. 2, 2001, Catholic Central’s Bruno Lucke, a foreign exchange student from Brazil, scored 18 points in a 79-49 victory over Tippecanoe.

Published in the Feb. 3, 2001 edition of the News-Sun:

LUCKE OF THE IRISH SPURS CATHOLIC CENTRAL

By HOWIE MAGNER, News-Sun Sports Writer

They do things a little differently on Brazilian basketball courts.

For one thing, the lane is the wrong shape, wider at its base than the traditional American one. The result of the trapezoid is more emphasis on perimeter play and a less physical game inside.

But you couldn’t tell by watching Bruno Lucke.

The Catholic Central senior, an exchange student from Campinas, Brazil, scored a career-high 18 points in leading the Irish to a 79-49 win over Tipp City Friday night.

Most of Lucke’s baskets on his 9 of 10 shooting night came inside that narrower lane, the one the local players are fond of, the one that requires more banging around.

Looks like Lucke’s adjustment to this foreign court is going just fine.

“Yeah, it was a good game. Everybody helped inside,” Lucke said in somewhat accented English. “It’s a different game. Defense-wise it’s harder. Pretty much everybody goes to the board hard and here, we have some big boys we have to keep an eye out for.”

Friday night, he was one of them. Lucke teamed with perimeter sharpshooter Matt McCurdy, who also had 18 points, to give the Irish an unstoppable combination.

“Yeah, Bruno can play. We talked about getting the ball inside to him and the kids did a nice job tonight,” Central Coach Richard Quisenberry said. “Matt’s a nice shooter and we’ve got some kids that can stroke it from the outside, but we have to be able to go inside-out. It makes us much more effective.”

Central, which improved to 12-4 overall and 3-1 in Southwestern Rivers Conference play, also got 15 points from freshman Isaiah Carson to go with nine points and seven rebounds from Ricky LeLewis. Tipp City fell to 6-9 and 1-4.

Tipp only trailed 36-30 at halftime because of David Banas’ outside shot, one which produced a trio of three-pointers. But when the Irish clamped down on Banas after the break, the game became a rout.

Central switched to a 3-2 zone defense in the third quarter, denying Banas the room needed for his arching shot. He had just three of his team-high 16 points after halftime, and those came at the free-throw line.

“It was a good move on their part. We didn’t free him up as much as we needed to,” Tipp City Coach Matt Pond said. “But you’re gonna have to have more than one kid step up against them. Our other shooters didn’t get the shots we needed to make.”

The Red Devils were a collective 5 of 22 after halftime. Andy Heinl had was the only starter to score in double figures with 12 points as Banas, still recovering from an early-season ankle injury, came off the bench. No other Tipp City player had more than five points.

Tipp also juggled the ball too much. The Red Devils finished with 21 turnovers, a problem that reached epidemic proportions in the third period.

Neither team got a shot off on the quarter’s first six possessions, each turning it over three times. Central finally found the handle, while Tipp turned it over six more times in the period, and the Irish went into the final stanza with a 54-38 lead.

“We took turns turning the ball over early in the third quarter and finally somebody decided to capitalize on it,” Pond said. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t us.”

Central got the lead up to 30 points with authority, as McCurdy found LeLewis for an alley-oop dunk that made it a 73-43 game with 2:47 left to play. Quisenberry then called off the dogs, subbing for all five regulars.

The Central coach could’ve gone to his bench much earlier, but he left them in for a reason. The Irish have made a habit of blowing big leads in the fourth quarter this season, a habit Quisenberry is trying to break with the tournament on the horizon.

“I think we have to go with the mindset that if we don’t finish what we started, we could be in trouble and it’s over for us,” Quisenberry said. “We just talked about playing each game like it’s your last game and giving 110 percent.”

Central got points from 11 different players, and four Irish players had at least five rebounds. Overall, Central held a 33-22 edge on the boards.

The Irish are back in action at 1:45 p.m. today, when they play Lehman at University of Dayton Arena.

TIPP CITY (49) _ Banas 5 3-5 16, Heinl 4 4-6 12, Sweet 2 0-0 5, Crawford 0 4-7 4, Dix 1 0-0 2, Fouts 1 0-0 2, Meyers 0 2-2 2, Howard 1 0-0 2, Potts 0 2-2 2, Green 1 0-0 2. Totals: 15 15-22 49.

CATHOLIC CENTRAL (79) _ Lucke 9 0-0 18, M. McCurdy 7 2-3 18, Carson 5 4-4 15, LeLewis 3 3-4 9, Petty 2 1-2 5, Maloney 2 0-0 4, Evilsizor 1 0-0 2, Wal 1 0-1 2, G. Kimball 1 0-1 2, T. Kimball 1 0-0 2, S. McCurdy 1 0-0 2. Totals: 33 10-15 79.

Three-point goals: Tipp City 4 (Banas 3, Sweet), Catholic Central 3 (M. McCurdy 2, Carson)

Records: Tipp City 6-9, 1-4 SRC; Catholic Central 12-4, 3-1 SRC

Reserves: Catholic Central 52 (Saunders 12, Baker 12), Tipp City 42

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Where are they now: Troy Perkins

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Former Springfield native Troy Perkins was a professional soccer player for D.C. United until 2007.

He won the 2006 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award.

He currently plays for the Norwegian Club VĂ¥lerenga I.F. of the Tippeligaen.

He started his first game for the U.S. Men’s National Team in a 3-2 win over Sweden on Jan. 24.

Here’s a story on Perkins by the New York Times soccer blog.

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On this date in area sports history …

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Six years ago on this date, Feb. 1, 2003, Shawnee pitcher Richie Fralick, who went on to pitch at Ball State (above) was named a preseason All-American. Complete story on the jump.

Published Feb. 1, 2003

SHAWNEE’S FRALICK NAMED ALL-AMERICAN

By DAVID JABLONSKI, News-Sun Sports Writer

Richie Fralick has yet to pitch an inning in his senior season at Shawnee. At this time, most of his energy centers on playing basketball for the Braves.

But Fralick, who signed in November to play baseball at Ball State University, was named this week to the TPX Louisville Slugger All-America Team. He was one of 20 pitchers honored.

Shawnee coach Craig Isaac, who nominated Fralick for the award, said Fralick was shocked to hear that he had been selected.

“The look on his face was, `Wow,’ ” Isaac said. “I think he was speechless.”

In three seasons as a starter, Fralick has a career record of 12-5. He had a 1.21 ERA in 75 innings as a junior and led the area with 112 strikeouts. He was the News-Sun’s Clark County Player of the Year.

In 2002, he struck out 22 batters in a nine-inning game against Triad.

“I just think with all the honors, I know Richie is going to want to perform to that level,” Isaac said. “I think he’s ready for that challenge.”

Isaac isn’t worried about the award going to Fralick’s head. That has never been a problem for the junior right-hander who is also a member of the National Honor Society. Fralick deserves every honor he gets, Isaac said, a sentiment shared by his future baseball coach.

“Richie is very deserving of the honor,” said Ball State baseball coach and Kenton Ridge graduate Greg Beals in a statement on Ball State’s web site. “He is a great competitor, throws a lot of strikes and can get people out. His coach at Shawnee High School, Craig Isaac, gives him all the tough starts, and Richie usually comes out on top.

“Richie has the complete package. He is an outstanding pitcher, an excellent student, and we are really excited about him coming to Ball State next year. We cannot wait to get him into a Cardinals’ uniform.”

Fralick was unavailable for comment because he was playing a game with the varsity basketball team in Bellefontaine.

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