Shot in the Darke


Two weeks after the OHSAA boys tournament started, and three weeks after girls play began, there are now only three Darke County squads left standing, the Tri-Village boys and girls and the Versailles Lady Tigers. All other county teams fell short in their bids to continue down the tournament trail and at least reach the district round, most being eliminated in the first round with the exception of the above as well as one-game victors the Mississinawa Valley girls, the Ansonia boys, and the Versailles boys.

I finally had the opportunity to see some of the county squads in action with the end of Greenville’s boys and girls regular season schedules and, as always, I was impressed by the support of the county schools’ fans and the competitive attitudes of the teams. Basketball is truly a unifying factor in the communities around the area!!

Wednesday evening sees the Versailles Lady Tigers, in D-III regional semi-final action, taking on East Clinton at 8:00 in Springfield. Versailles, winners of four straight tourney games, will take a 16-10 record into the Sweet Sixteen matchup.

Thursday night will see a power-packed D-IV regional get underway in Vandalia as state number one ranked Tri-Village faces the Lady Flyers of Marion Local at 6:00 while Russia and Fort Loramie meet for the third time this season in the other semi at 8:00, the teams having split the regular season encounters.

Also Thursday will see boys D-III District Finals featuring WOAC regular season champion Preble Shawnee and Cincinnati Seven Hills squaring off at 5:30 at UD Arena to be followed by Miami East and Mariemont. If you haven’t seen Shawnee junior Mason Shrout in person you need to as he is one of the best players in Southwest Ohio!

Finally Friday night sees the Patriots of Tri-Village battle the Greeneview Rams at 7:30 in UD Arena for the right to advance to D-III regional play. Josh Sagester’s group defeated Dixie 53-49 Saturday in an all-WOAC contest to continue the journey in hopes of repeating last year’s trip to the state finals.

The Miami Valley League of which Greenville is a member faced some tough going in tournament play with both the boys and girls teams winning a total of five games each. Tipp City’s girls won three before being eliminated by Cincinnati Purcell Marian in D-II while Tipp’s boys won two in D-II before losing to Dunbar and Sidney’s boys won two D-I contests before falling to state power Centerville.

In attending some of the county schools’ games I was asked by numerous people what was going on with Greenville’s boys basketball program. The Wave are in a six-year slump, compiling an overall 14-123 record including 10-62 in MVL play since the league formed four years ago. There are many reasons for the slide from the ‘14-‘17 seasons of quality basketball which will be discussed in a future column; needless to say first year Head Coach Matt Hamilton and his staff are working diligently to get things turned around!

Congrats to the Versailles boys and girls bowling teams on advancing to the state D-II finals in Columbus this coming weekend! The girls won the District title with Payton Groff placing second with a 590 series, Emma Billenstein fourth with a 557, and Danielle Francis ninth at 524. The boys were third being led by Colten Groff’s first place finish with a fine 698 including a 288 game. He was backed by Noah Covault’s 602 and Sam Albers 582 lines. Good luck to both squads at Wayne Webb’s Columbus Bowl!

Versailles is on quite a roll, evidenced by the success of their swimmers at this past weekend’s state D-II meet in Canton. Making the state finals were Zach Ahrens in the 200 IM; Ava Shardo in the girls 100 Fly; Tiana Mescher with a fourth place medal in the 50 Free and a fifth in the 100; and the team of Shardo, Mescher, Lydia Hecht, and Alayna Rindler taking a sixth in the 200 Medley Relay and an eighth in the 200 Freestyle Relay. Lots of laps and hours in the pool contributed to their success!

Finally, what do you make of number-two ranked Alabama’s basketball (yes, basketball not football) team and the incident that resulted in the shooting death of a young lady and the arrest of two players while a third, All-American candidate Brandon Miller, allegedly supplied the murder weapon. Coach Nate Oats made the unfortunate statement that Miller “was in the wrong spot at the wrong time” and Miller has been allowed to continue to play scoring 41 and 24 points in ‘Bama wins. Something smells a little rotten in the decisions being made in Tuscaloosa!

Enjoy the spring-like weather; baseball is getting started, The Masters golf tournament isn’t far off, high school wrestling enters tournament action, and there are some really great basketball games at the district and regional levels this week!! And another “Round Table Insights” discussion panel is coming to next week!