Miami Valley League teams in tournament action

Piqua Indians fall in tournament play. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

Three Miami Valley League teams started down the tournament trail in Ohio High School Athletic Association boys D-I play last night at the Student Activity Center in Vandalia but only one will get to continue the journey to the next round of competition.

Piqua’s Indians, seeded 19th, ran into the number one-seed Elks of Centerville and fell by a 59-16 count. The Tribe played well in the first quarter trailing by six points only to see a last second three-pointer strip the nets giving the Elks a 13-4 advantage at the break. That was the beginning of a 23-7 run by Centerville that led to a 33-11 score at halftime.

The Indians had trouble handling the defensive pressure applied by the Greater Western Ohio Conference power as what few open looks they had at the basket were rushed and turnovers plentiful. Jonathan Powell led the Elks (14-8) attack with 15 points as a running clock was in play through most of the second half.

Centerville, regular season GWOC champions and Final Four participants the past three years including a 2021 state title, advances to face the Xenia Buccaneers, a 20-seed, next Thursday the 29th at the SAC in a 6:00 contest.

Piqua finishes the season with a 5-18 record and graduates four seniors, including three starters.

In the evening’s second game the seven-seeded Sidney Yellow Jackets squared off with the eight-seed Stebbins Indians. Sidney had defeated the Indians twice in the regular season in winning the Valley division of the MVL but it proved hard to beat Stebbins a third time as the crew from Riverside ousted the Jackets by a 58-50 score.

Both teams started tourney play slowly with the Indians holding a 11-4 advantage at the end of the first quarter. The Jackets turned up the defensive pressure in the second quarter while junior Julius Spradling heated up, leading to a 25-25 tie at intermission.

Sidney opened up a 38-30 lead as junior Jayce Daniel hit back-to-back threes and widened the advantage to 41-30 late in the third quarter. The Indians started to click behind the efforts of 6’5” senior Bryson Bishop, who was hampered by foul trouble in the first half. Stebbins tied the game at 48-all before Sidney countered to take a 50-48 lead with 3:01 remaining in regulation time. A thunderous dunk by Bishop evened things at 50-all and a clutch three- pointer by sophomore Adrien Carter at the 1:15 mark gave the Indians a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

In improving to 15-8 Stebbins was paced by Bishop’s 21 points while Spradling had 17 and A’zon Steele contributed 15 for the Yellow Jackets as they finish the year at 15-8.

Stebbins next plays the Firebirds of Fairmont, winners of the evening’s final game by a 61-53 score over the Monroe Hornets. The 6-seed Firebirds had to overcome a 10-point
halftime disadvantage to move on to next Thursday’s 7:30 clash at the SAC with the Indians.