Tournament basketball tips off this week, but all eyes will be on Sidney Tuesday night…we will break down the showdown between the Yellow Jackets and the Butler Aviators…Anna and Twin Valley South can clinch conference titles this week… the MAC boys race goes down to the wire.
Welcome to This Week in Basketball, Volume Eleven. Our effort today, as has been the case all season, is sponsored by Buschur Home Improvement, of Dayton.
The girls tournament tips off this week…and we will get to that a bit later. There is still a week remaining in the boys regular season, and for some a bit more depending on make-ups. The game of the week…the one that has just about everyone’s attention, will be played Tuesday night in Sidney.
The Yellow Jackets are 16-3, while the Butler Aviators are 18-2. Both teams are 11-2 in the GWOC North. What makes this rivalry, and this game more intriguing, is that the visiting team has won the last FIVE games!
The trend started two years ago, when the Jackets won 43-42 at Butler and the Aviators returned the favor at Sidney, pulling a 53-47 upset. Last year, the Aviators got leg up with a 59-51 win in December, but Sidney pulled even with a 36-34 win on a layup by Ratez Roberts with 2.5 seconds to play.
Butler had control of the first meeting this season, leading by 11 with three minutes to play. The Yellow Jackets scored just 6 points in the first 13 minutes of the second half, then exploded for 27 points in the final three minutes of regulation and overtime. Final: 51-46 Yellow Jackets!
How close are these two teams? Sidney is third and Butler 5th in the conference in scoring…separated by one point a game. The Jackets are fourth and the Aviators is fifth in field goal percentage…while Butler is 10th and Sidney 16th in 3 point percentage. Butler, however, has made just three more three pointers than the Jackets.
Neither team is great at the free throw line…Butler 13th at 61%..Sidney 15th at 60%. The Jackets are fifth in rebounding while Butler is tenth, and Sidney is the best shot-blocking team in the league, with 70 more blocks than the Aviators on the season.
The winner will clinch a share of the division title, and if you don’t already have a ticket, well, good luck. The Sidney gym figures to be bulging at the seams on Tuesday night.
The Anna Rockets clinched a share of the Shelby County League title Friday with their win at Fort Loramie…Nate Barhorst’s club hosts Miami East Monday night in a makeup game, then travels to Minster Saturday. Anna will clinch the outright title with a Jackson Center loss to Fairlawn Friday, or by beating Russia February 19th.
St Henry and Marion Local remain deadlocked atop the MAC, and both teams are playing great basketball. The defending champion Flyers have won 8 straight heading to Jackson Center Monday night, and have a tough road assignment at Coldwater Friday. Eric Rosenbeck’s St Henry club is 16-3, and has also won 8 straight. The Redskins entertain a good Minster team Friday.
The teams have split a pair of games this season…St Henry winning a holiday tournament game in December and Marion returning the favor 48-43 on the first Friday in January.
Meanwhile, the Cross County Conference title is Twin Valley South’s to win. The Panthers ran their winning streak to 11 with a pair of conference wins, and can clinch the title outright Friday at Arcanum. National Trail has won 12 straight and will play at Franklin Monroe Friday night.
Both teams are 17-2, and both teams play state-ranked Brookville this week. TVS hosts the Blue Devils Monday night, while Trail meets the Devils on the road Saturday.
On the girls side–tournament time is here with action tipping off at four venues Wednesday night. Oddly, three of the top four teams in Division Four are NOT in postseason action this week.
#1 Fort Loramie, champions of the Shelby County League, will wrap up the regular season Tuesday night at Marion Local. Minster, 20-1 on the season, can win their third MAC title in four years Thursday night when the Wildcats travel to St Henry. Minster’s only loss of the season, you will remember, was in double overtime at Fort Loramie.
Minster grabbed a major win Saturday with a 50-35 win at Carroll. The Patriots entered that game as the #1 team in the state in D-II with their only previous loss to Division One Beavercreek. The game was re-scheduled after weather postponed it at Flyin’ to the Hoop. A major statement made by the Wildcats.
Tri-Village, which completed an unbeaten run through the Cross County Conference last week, will wrap up it’s regular season Thursday at home against Russia. The Patriots blew a 15 point halftime lead and lost to Versailles in the second game of the season, and have not lost since…19 straight wins.
Piqua travels to Bethel to wrap up the season Monday night. The Indians open tournament action against Springfield Saturday, and will be looking to snap an 18 game post-season losing streak. The Indians last tournament win was over West Carrollton at Hobart Arena in February of 2001.
Versailles, which can still claim a share of the MAC title should St Henry upset Minster this week, opens division three tournament play against Urbana Thursday night. The Tigers are 17-5 with those losses (Fort Loramie, Anna,Tippecanoe, West Liberty-Salem, Minster) coming against teams with a combined record of 92-14.
Finally…six teams in the Cross County Conference won at least 14 games this season. 14-8 Arcanum plays Greeneview in tournament action Wednesday, 15-6 Bradford meets Yellow Springs Wednesday, Covington (17-3) wraps up the regular season at home against Troy on Monday, then meets Tri-County North in their tournament opener Saturday, 15-7 Miami East meets Carlisle Saturday, and 16-6 Franklin Monroe takes on Dayton Christian Saturday.
Finally, every tournament game, boys and girls, from the Southwest and Northwest Districts, will be available on the Moeller Brew Barn scoreboard. We will start posting as soon as scores become available, and update for the final time around midnight. We will do our best to get every score that matters to you, so check it out on a nightly basis.
Whew! That’s a lot of stuff. It’s a great time of year. Thanks for reading and we will see you at the gym!