Seems like everyone has their own holiday tournament this week…several area teams have survived the first month of the season undefeated…and two state champions in football try to ramp up quickly on the hardwood.

Last week we had snow and sub-freezing temperatures.  This week, Christmas week, we’ll have temperatures in the 50s. Ah, Ohio…where else would you rather be?

Before we get started with the hoop news, my belated congratulations to the Marion Local Flyers and Anna Rockets on their state football titles earlier this month. What Marion has accomplished over the last two decades is simply phenomenal, while the Rockets had one of the most dominant seasons in recent memory, scoring 40-plus points 13 times in 15 games. Needless to say, the legend of the MAC just keeps growing.

Both the Rockets and Flyers opened their football delayed seasons this past weekend, and, predictably, both struggled. It didn’t help Marion that both of their opponents, Versailles and Lima Shawnee, are unbeaten, while the Rockets could not overcome their own mistakes in a 3-point loss to New Bremen.

With the attention on Loramie and Tri-Village, Marion Local is off to a quiet 8-0 start in girls basketball.

The Rockets blasted New Knoxville on Monday and travel to Fort Loramie Friday, while the Flyers look for their first win Monday at Botkins, then play in a holiday tournament at Celina over the weekend.

The Sidney Yellowjackets and the Troy Trojans have had successful starts to the Miami Valley League season. Many thought the Jackets would take a step or two back without Andre Gordon and Ratez Roberts, but so far that group has been…well, wrong. Behind a combined 28 points a game from Darren and Devin Taborn, the Jackets are 6-0 heading into a double weekend at home to Bellefontaine Friday and at Tecumseh on Saturday.

Troy has suffered through 7 straight losing seasons but sit at 5-2 under new head coach Mark Hess after losing a 73-68 overtime thriller in Sidney Friday. The Trojans, who play defense like someone is trying to steal their dinner, bounced back with win over Middletown on Monday and host Springfield Shawnee on Friday.

Versailles and Delphos St John’s are undefeated atop the MAC heading into the holiday week. The 6-0 Blue Jays are allowing just 41 points a game and handed 6-1 Minster it’s only loss on December 13. The Blue Jays only assignment this week is a Friday encounter at Crestview.

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Versailles is already 2-0 in MAC play and 7-0 overall after close wins over Marion Local and Russia last week. The Tigers are home to Miami East Friday Night.

Jackson Center is the lone unbeaten in the Shelby County League and host Botkins on Friday.

Jackson Center is the lone unbeaten in the Shelby County League at 5-0. The Tigers are winning with defense (WHAT!), allowing just 33 points a game. Botkins has the next best record in the SCL at 4-2, and the Trojans travel to Jackson Friday night.

National Trail is the clear class so far in the Cross County Conference. Like Jackson Center, you simply can’t score against the Blazers, (37PPG), and much of the rest of the conference has had a terrible first month. How bad, you ask? Bradford, Franklin Monroe, Newton, Tri-Village and Twin Valley South are a combined…wait for it…3 and 27!!! Trail’s only game this week is at home Saturday against Dixie, who the Blazers beat by 24 in the season opener.

On the girls side…much of the talk has focused on the Tri-Village and Fort Loramie powerhouses, but there is another unbeaten bunch in Maria Stein that has been, for the most part, under the radar. The Marion Local Flyers are 8-0 following a 45-44 squeaker over Russia Monday night.

“I would say the key to our fast start has been great team defense and rebounding on both ends of the floor,” fifth year head coach Beth Streib wrote in an email last week. “Those have been a big emphasis for us.”

The Flyers allow just 37 points a game and have been getting key contributions from a lot of players. “Alana Pohlman, Heidi Rethman and Sammy Hoelscher have been key offensively in many ways,” continued the coach. “Brooke Homan has been great on the defensive end and rebounding for us. Everyone has contributed. They work hard and play well together.”

Marion is 2-0 in the MAC and will play in a holiday tournament in Celina Saturday and Monday.

Sonny Fulks asked the question in a column last week-who can derail the Tri-Village or Fort Loramie powerhouses? St Henry almost gave us an answer Saturday, taking the Patriots down to the wire before falling at home 52-46. The 6-2 Redskins get their shot at Fort Loramie on January 27 and could see Marion at that tournament this weekend before playing the Flyers in a MAC game the day after New Years.

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For those of you who like comeback stories—there is none better than the Sidney Lady Yellowjackets. The Jackets did not win a game last season (0-23!) and lost their tournament game to Centerville 78-8. This year, 7-2 with losses to Russia by 4 in double overtime, and by 2 to Vandalia Butler. The Jackets are in the Valley division of the MVL…the other four schools in that division are a combined 4-27. Sidney is off until next Monday.

Meanwhile, 9-0 Fort Loramie, with its closest decision a 28-point win over Minster, is off until January 4th, while 9-0 Tri-Village plays Bellevue in the Christmas Classic Sunday at Canton GlenOak.

Speaking of Minster, the two-time defending state champs are definitely re-building, right? Since losing to Loramie, the Wildcats have won 6 in a row and defeated 8-2 Springfield Catholic Monday night.

Finally this week, a word about the Moeller Brew Barn Basketball Scoreboard. We cover nine conferences and several other teams from around the area, both boys and girls. Schedules for the entire week are posted on Tuesday, and scores remain posted throughout the week. Our first post is usually around 9:30 during the week, and our first post of girls scores on Saturday is around 4:30. It’s the only place you need for area high school basketball scores.

Be sure to check us out every Monday for your weekly guide to high school basketball…and Merry Christmas!

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