By Wade Linville –
Varsity boys basketball teams of the Southern Buckeye Athletic/Academic Conference ventured to Blanchester High School on Saturday, Feb. 18 to battle it out in the conference’s annual end-of-the-season tournament.
First place teams of the SBAAC American Division and National Division faced off against each other, as did the second place teams of each division, and so forth.
The Western Brown Broncos finished fourth in the SBAAC American Division, and in this year’s conference tourney they would take the court at Blanchester to face the Georgetown G-Men who finished fourth in the SBAAC National Division.
In what was an exciting battle between the two teams of Brown County, it was the Western Brown Broncos pulling ahead in the fourth quarter to capture a 72-65 victory over the G-Men.
The G-Men started the game off by going on a 13-2 run. It was an assist by Georgetown sophomore Noah Pack that led to a bucket by junior Jonathan Strickland that gave the G-Men a 2-0 lead.
Then it was Pack coming through with a score in the paint to put the G-Men up by four.
The G-Men rose to a 6-0 lead as sophomore Cameron Brookbank dished an assist to Pack for a score from close range.
Western Brown’s junior guard Clayton Wolfe buried a floater in the paint to cut the Georgetown lead to 6-2 in the first period of play, but a three-pointer by Georgetown’s senior guard Christian Linville expanded the Georgetown lead to seven.
Georgetown junior Logan Doss got in on the scoring action, draining a shot on a baseline drive to lift the G-Men to a 11-2 advantage.
Before the first quarter reached an end, the Broncos went on a 14-0 run to take a 16-13 lead with buckets coming from Wolfe, junior Wyatt Fischer, junior Elijah Smith, and senior Logan Nickell.
With one quarter in the books, it was the Broncos leading 16-14.
The Broncos rose to a 36-28 lead in the second period after a three-pointer by Wolfe, but the G-Men battled back to regain the lead before halftime break.
A three-pointer by Strickland cut the Broncos’ lead to 36-31.
Wolfe buried one-of-two attempts from the charity stripe while shooting in the bonus to expand the Broncos’ lead to six, but what followed was a pair of hit free throws by Brookbank to narrow the margin to four points.
Georgetown’s senior forward Chris Dietrick rebounded his own miss and buried the put-back to leave the G-Men trailing by just two, 37-35.
An old fashioned three-point play by Doss put the G-Men on top 38-37 with 11 seconds remaining in the second period.
Before halftime break, it was Linville grabbing a steal and getting fouled on a shot, venturing to the charity stripe to sink one-of-two attempts with one second left on the clock, putting the G-Men up 39-37.
A three-pointer by Georgetown senior Levi Burns started off second half action, lifting the G-Men to a 42-37 lead.
After being fouled on a shot, it was Brookbank sinking a pair of free throws to expand the Georgetown lead to 44-37.
With 6’6” Pack on the bench in foul trouble, the Broncos utilized their size advantage.
Western Brown’s senior postman Hunter O’Hara drove to the hoop for a score to cut the Georgetown lead to 44-39, then it was Wolfe scoring on a drive to narrow the margin to just three points in the third quarter.
Following a Doss field goal on transition, it was Western Brown junior Carson Eyre sinking two-of-three attempts from the foul line after being fouled on a three-point attempt, slicing the Georgetown lea to 46-43.
Pack re-entered the game just past the midway point in the third quarter.
Following a bucket by O’Hara, it was Pack scoring down low to give the G-Men a 50-45 advantage.
Buckets by Fischer and O’Hara came late in the third quarter, and going into the fourth quarter it was the G-Men leading 55-53.
Fischer tied the game at 55 apiece by sinking a pair of free throws after being fouled on a shot early in the fourth period.
A three-pointer by Brookbank put the G-Men back on top 58-55.
O’Hara rose for a score in the paint to cut the Georgetown lead to one, and then it was Western Brown junior Jack Finn coming through with an old fashioned three-point play to put the Broncos on top 60-58.
Doss pulled down a rebound and buried the put-back to tie the game at 60 apiece, but a three-pointer by Wolfe left the G-Men trailing 63-60.
A steal by Georgetown senior Solomon Underwood led to a bucket by Pack, who was fouled on the made shot. Pack converted the “and one” to tie the game at 63.
A score in the paint by Finn put the Broncos on top 65-63, and after holding the G-Men scoreless in the next trip down the court it was Wolfe draining a three-pointer to expand the Broncos’ lead to 68-63.
The Broncos sealed the win from the charity stripe with Nickell, Finn, and Wolfe sinking free throws in the final minute.
Leading all scorers in the contest was Wolfe with 25 points, sinking nine-of-13 attempts from the field, including three three-pointers, and connecting on four-of-eight attempts from the foul line.
O’Hara also reached double figures in scoring with 12 points, while Fischer contributed with 10 points.
Doss led the G-Men in scoring with 19 points, sinking eight-of-12 shots from the field, including one three-pointer, and draining two-of-five attempts from the foul line to go along with seven rebounds.
Burns also reached double figures in scoring with 14 points, connecting from long distance three times.
Seeing limited playing time due to foul trouble, Pack still was able to record a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
The Broncos rose to a 7-15 record with Saturday’s SBAAC Tourney win, while the G-Men dropped to 5-17.
The G-Men suffered a narrow 56-51 loss to Blanchester on their home court Feb. 17 in their final home game of the season.
The G-Men were scheduled to compete in the Southwest District Division IV Sectional Tournament at Taylor High School on Saturday, Feb. 25. As the No. 8 seed, the G-Men will take on the No. 9 seed Felicity-Franklin Cardinals in round one of the sectional tourney.
The Broncos enter Southwest District Division II Sectional Tourney play as the No. 14 seed, taking on No. 2 seed Hughes in round one of the sectional at Mason Arena on Friday, Feb. 24.
In other SBAAC Tournament action from Saturday at Blanchester, it was Goshen defeating Bethel-Tate 66-52 in the battle between the first place teams of the American and National divisions.
Amelia defeated Williamsburg 53-37 in the second place contest.
Batavia defeated Blanchester 66-58 in the match between the third place teams.
Clermont Northeastern defeated New Richmond 59-54 in the contest between the fifth place teams, and Felicity-Franklin defeated Norwood 46-44 in the battle between the conference’s sixth place teams.