Clinton-Massie posed a postseason puzzler to Thurgood Marshall boys basketball coach Shawn McCullough.
The high school football power anchored in Clinton County just seven miles outside of Wilmington has an emerging basketball program, too. Led by former Waynesville High School boys coach Todd Cook, the Falcons won 18 games as members of the ultra-rural Southern Buckeye Athletic/Academic Conference.
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Out of Thurgood’s comfort zone doesn’t quite capture its challenge. “You talk about contrast in styles,” McCullough said. “It was one end of the rainbow to the other side.”
Thurgood limited Massie to four fourth-quarter points and had a 16-0 advantage in converted free throws that mostly accounted for a 68-51 Division II sectional semifinal win at Fairmont’s Trent Arena on Tuesday night. That earned Thurgood (15-8) a sectional final date with Badin (17-6) to decide a sectional championship at Middletown at 6 p.m. Saturday.
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Badin advanced by blitzing Oakwood in the final quarter of a 65-55 doubleheader opener.
The demise of perennial Dayton City League power Dunbar – the Wolverines also are ineligible to participate in the playoffs this season – has coincided with the rise of Thurgood and Stivers, at least this season. It was fitting the Cougars and Tigers tied for a City League boys title. Stivers hadn’t done that since the early 1950s.
Now, both programs are carrying the up-tempo City League torch, Thurgood in D-II and Stivers in D-III. That’s how Thurgood finally solved Massie.
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“We’re small and we don’t rebound as well as I’d like,” said McCullough, “but in transition we can push the ball really fast. We’re faster than every team that we play and we use that to our advantage.”
Thurgood led by double digits early, trailed briefly in the third quarter and pulled away in fourth. Senior Byron Lanier led Thurgood’s balanced offense with 13 points. Travis Person, Eric Middlebrook and Anthony McComb added 10 points apiece.
Senior Travis Myers led Massie (18-5) with 21 points and Zack Chowning added 19.
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Massie led Stivers entering the fourth quarter of their Game 3 and lost and was beaten at Purcell Marian. Cook sought high-end games such as those, knowing that’s what awaited Massie in the tourney. It was Massie’s third straight season of winning a tourney opener at Trent.
“They’re a No. 2 seed for a reason,” Cook said of Thurgood. “We handled the pressure for most cases. I told our kids not too many people are giving you a chance, but I believe in you. The kids work hard and people love to see that. It’s interesting to watch these guys play.”
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Badin 65, Oakwood 55: Justin Papas scored 22 points and the Rams' 12-point fourth-quarter advantage was the difference in the opener. It was Badin's sixth straight win. Oakwood junior Darren Rubin scored 23 points and set an all-time, single-season scoring record for the Lumberjacks. His 512 points surpassed the previous record of 498 set by Leo Flotron in the 1978-79 season.
Xenia 76, Miamisburg 74 OT: Samari Curtis had 48 points, but it was Dylan Hoosier who hit the game-winning basket with eight seconds left in overtime for Xenia in a D-I sectional semi at Trotwood. It was the ninth time Curtis tallied 40 or more points. Corey Hartman had 20 points and Brett Hensley 18 for Miamisburg (17-7).
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Xenia (13-10) will play top-seeded Centerville (18-5) in a D-I sectional final on Saturday at a location that hasn’t been announced. Matt Pearce had 14 points as Centerville advanced by defeating Northmont 79-45 in the opener at Trotwood.
Northridge 54, Kenton Ridge 46: Senior Twon Hines scored 21 of his game-high 28 points in a D-II sectional semi at Springfield. Northridge (16-7) will play Ben Logan (13-10) in a sectional final at Springfield at 7 p.m. Friday. Ben Logan, coming off its first Central Buckeye Conference title since 1985, advanced with a 69-54 defeat of Urbana in the second game of the doubleheader.
Versailles 53, Twin Valley South 45: Evan Hiestand scored 20 points in leading the Tigers to a mild upset in a D-III sectional semi at Northmont. Versailles (13-10) will play Brookville (21-3) in a D-III sectional final at 2 p.m. Saturday at Northmont. Jake Gudorf set a Brookville record for assists in a season in Brookville's 52-30 defeat of Indian Lake. He passed the previous record of 178 set by Kyle Haney in 1985.
TV South ended its season 20-4.
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Newton 49, Legacy Christian 46: Charlie Walker hit the go-ahead free throws with 37 seconds left as the Indians claimed the first upset of a No. 1 seed in a D-IV sectional semi at Troy. Newton (9-15) will play Franklin Monroe (15-9) in a sectional final at Troy at 7 p.m. Friday. FM advanced with a 54-38 defeat of Cedarville.
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