Fairmont, Centerville in girls regional semifinals

As soon as Centerville earned a split with conference rival and defending state champion Fairmont, attention turned to a postseason rematch.

All the Elks and Firebirds have to do is win their girls high school basketball Division I regional semifinal games today at Wright State University’s Nutter Center for that to happen. It won’t be easy.

Fairmont (23-2) is up first, playing Cincinnati Princeton (24-2) at 6:15 p.m. Centerville (23-3) gets surging Lakota East (21-5) at 8 p.m.

The winners will return to WSU at 7:30 p.m. Saturday to decide the regional championship. That winner advances to the state final four at Columbus next week.

Fairmont overcame a 12-point halftime deficit and rallied to stun visiting Centerville 42-41 in their first game in late December. Host Centerville returned the favor, 60-55, in late January.

There is history between the four Southwest D-I powers:

  • Fairmont defeated Princeton, 63-54.
  • Princeton defeated Centerville, 77-70.
  • Princeton defeated Greater Miami Conference rival West twice.

Princeton and West own 12-game win streaks. Princeton was the state poll champ and has one of the nation’s top players in high-scoring 5-foot-8 senior Kelsey Mitchell (24.9 points). She’ll join Fairmont’s Makayla Waterman at Ohio State this fall.

West bounced Mason (22-2) in a sectional final and blew out Springboro 54-34 in last weekend’s district final. It’ll be the first time West and Centerville will have played in Centerville coach Adam Priefer’s 12 seasons with the Elks.

Kathryn Westbeld (Notre Dame) and Waterman, both 6-1, again will be key for Fairmont. Centerville has a dominating inside presence in 6-5 junior Shannon Coffee.

“It could be a track meet,” Priefer said.

  • In the D-III girls regional semifinals at Springfield High School it’s Greeneview (23-3) vs. Columbus Ready (17-6) at 6:15 p.m. followed by Versailles (23-3) vs. Miami East (24-1) at 8.

Those winners will return for Saturday’s 1:30 p.m. regional final.

Senior Ashton Lovely is Greeneview’s first 2,000-point scorer. She will be playing at Cincinnati next season. The Rams won their first district title since 1981.

“This senior class has not wanted to go home and that’s filtered down to the younger players,” Greeneview coach Gregg Haines said. “They have tournament experience and they know what the expectations are now.”

Other seniors besides Lovely are Natasha Siebenaler and Alex Rice.

Miami East, led by senior twins Trina and Ashley Current, dodged visiting Versailles 49-47 in overtime on Feb. 1.

  • In a single D-IV girls regional semifinal at Tippecanoe High School it’s Felicity-Franklin (18-5) vs. Fayetteville-Perry (25-0) at 7 p.m.
  • Chaminade Julienne boys coach Joe Staley has maintained all season that the Eagles play the toughest D-III schedule in the Southwest District. As proof, CJ joins Miami East for D-III boys district finals at UD Arena today.

Miami East (15-10) is up first, playing Roger Bacon (19-4) at 5:30 p.m. CJ (14-9) gets Shroder (13-8) at 8. CJ is led by Myo Baxter-Bell, a 6-5 junior who averages 13.2 points.

Those winners advance to next week’s boys D-III regional at Kettering Trent Arena.

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