Boys basketball: Trotwood-Madison falls in district final for first time in five years

Trotwood-Madison senior Anthony McComb shoots over Cincinnati McNicholas' Clay Badylak during the first half of Saturday's Division II district final at Princeton High School. Jeff Gilbert/CONTRIBUTED
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Trotwood-Madison senior Anthony McComb shoots over Cincinnati McNicholas' Clay Badylak during the first half of Saturday's Division II district final at Princeton High School. Jeff Gilbert/CONTRIBUTED

CINCINNATI – This season and this ending is not what the Trotwood-Madison boys basketball program is used to.

The Rams lost six games, which seems like even more because they only played 14. They lost important backcourt players for various reasons. They lost in the Division II district final for the first time in five years.

The most telling number is 41. The Rams lost to Cincinnati McNicholas 64-41 on Saturday at Princeton High School. Head coach Rocky Rockhold is almost certain that is the fewest points the Rams have scored in his 10 years as head coach and in his 13 years in the program.

“We couldn’t score,” he said. “We had some good opportunities, and daggonit we couldn’t score. And when we’d get stops, we wouldn’t get the rebound and they’d score.”

The Rams (8-6) shot 34.8 % from the field, 20 % from 3-point range and 46.7 % from the free-throw line. Leading scorer Anthony McComb scored 13 points on 6 of 17 shooting. Tymier Blanton added 12 points.

“We took good shots,” Rockhold said. “I can think of two shots that weren’t the ones we want. It just wasn’t our day. We had point-blank layups, we had straight-line drives that we missed. We had a wide-open layup that we missed in the second half where we could’ve cut it to eight.”

For all their shooting woes, McComb started the second half with a basket to cut the deficit to 36-26, but McNicholas didn’t slow down and led 50-30 heading to the fourth quarter.

The Rams create a lot of offense with their full-court pressure, but not scoring kept them from setting it up and ever having a chance to go on a run.

“We can’t set up pressure all the time off of a miss,” Rockhold said. “You’re always in scramble mode. We had possessions where we did a really good job of speeding them up and turn them over, but we couldn’t convert so we couldn’t get back in that same pressure.”

McNicholas (20-4) will play in a regional semifinal Thursday. The Rockets had their second highest scoring game of the season, shot 55.3 % and made 20 of 25 free throws. Carson Seeman led four players in double figures with 15 points.

“They’re a nice team, they really are,” Rockhold said. “They’re a one seed for a reason, and they’re going to be a tough out. This just falls in line with the kind of season it is. You just fight so many battles, and we just got beat today.”

Personnel changes also meant that the Rams gave some young talent a chance to mature. Freshmen Tim Carpenter, Will Yates and Mike Smith combined for a total of about 30 minutes and were on the floor with seniors McComb and Blanton when they had their final chance at a run early in the fourth quarter.

“I’m not even sure we didn’t overachieve a little bit just by being here,” Rockhold said. “So we’ll take it.”

Tipp, CJ advance: Tippecanoe and Chaminade Julienne both advanced to the regional semifinals with district championships Saturday and face each other next.

Tipp defeated Cincinnati Indian Hill 50-47, and CJ defeated Cincinnati Wyoming 56-51. The two teams meet at 8 p.m. Thursday at Butler High School.